Welcome to the Debate Mela!
Md. Nazim Uddin
Attention everyone!” shouted Ms. Tahsina Yasmin (Chief Coordinator, Stamford Debate Forum - SDF) with her sweet commanding voice inside the SDF club room. “Nazim is going to write the cover story for STAR CAMPUS on the 2nd Stamford National Debate Championship 2007, within 4 days.” Standing in front of everyone, I felt honoured. I felt honored obviously, as this is going to be my chance to show whether I can do something for SDF other than debating. I became terrified as I have never done anything like this before. However, where there is a will, there is a way, and I believe I have the will power to do this. What happens next, let's see.
As a debater myself, I have had the chance to join a number of championships organised by different institutions. Surely, I can say that no other institution has successfully organised both Bangla and English Debate Championships simultaneously before. Therefore, credit goes entirely to SDF not only for organising debates both in Bangla and in English but also for getting so many teams under one roof.
Talking about the participating teams, I must say that here again, SDF has left its mark as it has invited teams from Dhaka as well as from other institutions around the country. For the Bangla debate competition, teams were invited from: Eastern University, South-East University, Chittagong University, Jahangirnagar University, North South University, American International University Bangladesh, Ahsanullah University of Science & Technology, Jagannath University, Northern University Bangladesh, Khulna University, Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Asian University, United International University, Asia Pacific University, Holy Cross College, Viqarun Nisa Noon College, Notre Dame College and obviously, our very own Stamford University Bangladesh. Again, for the English Debate Competition, SDF invited teams from prominent universities as well as English Medium Schools like Mastermind, Scholastica, American International University Bangladesh, Institute of Business Administration(IBA), Rajuk Uttara Model College, Eastern University, Notre Dame College, South East University, Viqarun Nisa Noon College, Islamic University of Technology and Stamford University Bangladesh. SDF has also invited various independent debating clubs like Group of Debaters (G.O.D.), Bangla Voice, Oniruddhah, Faridpur Debating Club etc. The institutions' enthusiasm was so obvious when we found almost all of them sent more than one team to compete in this championship.
When thirty Bangla teams and twenty four English teams debate together in four venues simultaneously this picture raises an obvious question, 'who are the people behind organising such a huge Debate Mela? Well, two names need to be mentioned - our honorable Chief Coordinator Ms. Tahsina Yasmin (Asst. Professor, Dept of English) and coordinator Mr. Mahbubur Rahman (Lecturer, Dept of Civil Engineering). These two debate masterminds have guided over seventy five committed members of SDF, including its efficient President Abdullah Mohammad Shukrana; three Vice Presidents Mohammad Monir Hossain, Asif Hasan Malik and Umme Salma Sultana (Tajia); General Secretary Morshed Hassib Hasan; Asst. General Secretary Piplu Adhikary and few other committee members. These people have tried their level best to organize the 2nd Stamford National Debate Championship 2007 and have succeeded in doing so. I also want to remember those soldiers whose names have not been mentioned yet. Deep down inside my heart, I know that without their support it would not have been possible.
The debaters are the stars of a debate competition. Therefore, SDF endeavoured to gather the largest number of debaters for this competition. Ninety Bangla debaters and forty-eight English debaters you can already imagine how tough it can be! The credit goes to our worthy President Abdullah Mohammad Shukrana who, even before the beginning of the program, spent a lot of money just using his two cell phones to get confirmation from the teams. Shukrana knocked all recognized debate forums in Bangladesh personally and invited them to come and complete the registration. A Bangla team could register for TK. 500/= whereas the registration fee for an English team was TK. 600/=.
Now that the debaters' problem is solved, who will bring the judges? Our honorable coordinator Mahbub sir assigned Tajia, our worthy Vice president to contact them. Tajia gave up attending all her classes and kept busy calling up the honorable judges. This championship is honoured to have Dr. Abdun Noor Tushar as the Chief Adjudicator and Mr. Hasan Mahmud Babu and Mr. Tasin Uddin Ahmed as the Deputy Chief Adjudicators. Some prominent figures in the debate arena of Bangladesh like Syed Munir Khasru, Al-Mamun, Rafikullah Romel Sana, Tanvir Ashraf, Jahangir Md. Arif, Habibur Rahman Eco, Mir Ashikur Rahman, Rashedul Hasan Nayem, Adil Iftekhar, Meher Nigar June honored us by sacrificing their valuable time to evaluate the debates.
The first question that generally comes into one's mind while organising a programme is, 'who is going to be the sponsor?' Our Honourable President & Vice Chancellor, Prof. M.A Hannan Feroz came forward, as he has always done before. The university sponsored the huge event and we started working in full swing. When proposed, Channel i and Radio Today agreed to be our media partners and radio partner respectively.
Just before the programme's opening the members and volunteers of SDF were summoned up to change the ambience of the university campus. For two days, Shiddeswari Campus became the home of all students. They made banners, posters, festoons, logos and designed the pavements and campus ground. A huge pandal was set up in the basketball ground where the inauguration program was held. Finally, everything was done, we were all set to launch the 2nd Stamford National Debate Championship 2007.
Even before the beginning of the programme our coordinator Mahbub sir, who was not only a prominent debater but also the ex President of BUET debating club, prepared a topic bank where the topics for the debaters were selected. A huge range of topics including economics, world politics, philosophy, war and so on certifies the quality of the tournament. Debaters debated against each other on topics like: 'the end justifies the means', 'we should get married now', 'Bush is the chosen one', 'our future lies in our hand', 'at this moment we need one Mahathir' etc.
Among the thirty Bangla teams, fifteen teams qualified along with one best loser for the second round. At the end of the second round eight teams qualified for the quarterfinal. The four semi finalist teams were SDF-Agni, SDF-Duronto, G.O.D.-A and IBA. In the final, after seven days of fierce clash among thirty teams, G.O.D.-A became the Bangla debate champion defeating SDF-Agni. The English debate competition followed the Worlds format, where twenty-four teams took part in the first round. Each team debated four times in the first round, before we found our eight semi finalists. Then the final fight was among four teams: IBA-A, Mastermind-A, Scholastica A and IBA-B. Mastermind-A became the runner-up while IBA-A became the champion of the English debate competition. Our best wishes to the winners!!!
SDF also organised Public Speaking competition in both Bangla and English. All the debaters, who were adjudged the “best speakers” in different phases of the competition were selected to take part in this competition. Tanvir Hafiz, student of BBA programme, Stamford University and Abdullah Mohammad Shukrana , student of EEE programme, Stamford University won prizes for the best speakers in English and Bangla respectively. Best wishes to these two excellent speakers as well.
SDF published a gorgeous souvenir on this occasion; titled “Shattyagraha.” Our publication Secretary Tanvir Hafiz supervised the whole process while all the mem
bers helped him. I personally was up for a whole night. Best wishes for these devoted volunteers and members.
If I may ask a question, why do people compete? Obviously, for the prize. SDF rewarded all the participants with certificates, and crests to the finalists for their team performance as well as for individuals. Nazmus Sadaat from Mastermind-A and Tareq Hasan Shimul from G.O.D.-A won the best speaker's award in the English and Bangla final respectively. Besides, SDF also gave a special award, tiled “Debater of the Tournament”, which went to Nazmus Sadat and Tareq Hasan Shimul for English and Bangla respectively. Many individual awards were given to various competitors for their remarkable individual performances throughout the whole program.
The prize giving ceremony was the most gala event of the whole tournament. Mr. Mahfuz Anam the renowned editor of The Daily Star was invited as the Chief Guest at the ceremony. Dr. Abdun Noor Tushar, famous media personality, who was our Chief Adjudicator was also present to honor us. Our honorable Pro-Vice Chancellor, Prof. Dr. K. Maudood Elahi and honorable Registrar, Prof. Hasan Taufiq were also present as special guests to represent Stamford University. Some prizes that I already have mentioned along with other welcome gifts were given by them.
Well, to bring an end to this enthralling competition SDF arranged a dinner party after the prize giving ceremony. This delicious dinner was enjoyed by all our guests, debaters, organisers - the whole SDF family. Throughout the whole tournament, Morshed Hassib Hasan, GS, SDF, catered food and organised entertainment events for all who were related to this competition for the past one week. And he proved SDF knows that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!
Time to say goodbye readers. One last thing, if you ever come to Stamford, please visit SDF. Here is a forum which works like a family, loves to debate, and organizes debate.
(Student of Stamford Debate Forum)
IUB Media and Communication Department visits Channel 1
People of free world today demand right to know and access to information. The civilized world accepts it and has generally removed the barriers to public access to information of all sorts. In Bangladesh, we are in favour of free and unhindered flow of information be it in the state owned or private media, print or electronic. Only then can the mass media play its role of fourth state effectively.
Keeping this in mind the department of Media and Communication of Independent University, Bangladesh, organised a study tour at Channel 1, as a part of the course on electronic journalism. A team of 25 students, led by the course instructor Ms. Farhana Afroz, had the opportunity of hands-on learning.
The authorities of the TV station warmly welcomed the students. The students were introduced to various aspects of electronic journalism. The chief news editor Mr. Nazmul Ashraf explained the reality of how a newsroom of the electronic media operates. The television network has state-of-the-art equipment of electronic news gathering, a well-trained team of dedicated news persons in front of and behind the camera, who are constantly seeking perfection in news production, broadcasting and a rigid quality control so as not to lose its credibility.
Students of the Media and Communication Department had a firsthand experience of the process, steps and standard requirements of making a good news package. The art of the news production is always evolving as we see it in numerous channels at home and abroad. Collection of news items and airing it as fast as one does is one challenge all the channels are faced with. Packaging the information and presenting then to the viewers as the essence of a team leader of a TV channel that is proven a real nightmare for the novice, Mr. Ashraf explained. It can be compared with a debating competition, he said. To keep up the different stories, journalists are working round the clock and going to great lengths to bring the news to the audience.
The visiting students were introduced to various stages of news production. The international syndication for news gathering and the ever-increasing demand of credibility was explained during the tour. The students were much benefitted to see and explore the state-of-the art video editing facilities that the Channel possesses and the pre production phase of the actual news story as it was breaking while the team was in the news production unit.
The study tour gave a perfect opportunity to the students of our department to study the whole process and learn from the daily experiences of our friends and mentors who work in the department and bring to the drawing rooms of the million of viewers. The team left the Channel 1 office with thanks to the Channel authorities and felicitated our teachers and the department for organising this study tour.
(Student of Department of Media and Communication, IUB)