IBA Debate: Footsteps on Foreign Soil
Adel Mostaque Ahmed
One of my fellow debaters believes, “Winning is not everything, it is the only thing”. With the single target- to convince and conquer- we, the IBA marches into battles of wits, wisdom and logic called 'debate'. With constant presence in university level English debate tournaments in Bangladesh, the debaters of IBA always planned to make some impact on foreign soil to create a solid ground for Bangladeshi debaters.
It was a cold evening of November 12, 2011 when history was created inside the chamber of the Oxford Union, University of Oxford. From November 10-12, the Oxford Union of the University of Oxford hosted their flagship tournament, “Oxford Inter University 2011” or more commonly known as “Oxford IV 2011”. A total of 125 teams from all around Europe, America, Australia and Asia participated in the tournament.
Eight teams broke into the 'English as Second Language (ESL)' semi-finals, team IBA from Bangladesh being one of them. This is the first time Bangladesh entered the semi-finals of a European Debate Tournament. The team was represented by two students of IBA - Md Abir Hasan and Gaows Mohammad. Another member of the delegation was Khaled Mahmud, faculty member of IBA.
The team had company of teams like Leiden A, Ljubljana A, BBU A, Utrecht A, Hebrew B, Erasmus A, Open Comm A in the semi-finals. After five grueling rounds of preliminary debate, these teams were selected on the basis of team and speaker points.
According to the British Parliamentary format, four teams debated against each other simultaneously and the first position was awarded 3 points, second position earned 2 points, third position got 1 point, and the fourth position got a zero.
Team IBA received 7 points in the preliminary rounds and entered the semi-finals gaining the 8th position. The debate motions ranged from issues like school education reforms to religion, economic and art subsidies. The semi finals motion was about the LGBT movement and the finals motion was set on the selection decision of the top hierarchies of big corporations.
This glory is the result of an aggregated effort, and that is why Team IBA owes much of its victory to Professor G M Chowdhury, the director of IBA, Md Mohiuddin, Chairman, Faculty of BBA and all the other faculty members for their moral support. In addition, the team also thanks the official sponsor of the venture, Square Group, without whose support this entire feat would have been quite impossible. And as a sign of recognition, Maasranga Television aired the saga of Bangladesh at Oxford University on the evening of December 5.
So what are the achievers up to? Abir and Gaows teamed up to form IBA DU A in the recently finished Worlds University Debating Competition held in De La Salle University of Philippines and returned home as the joint leaders of the Bangladesh Contingent with 14 team points, tied with LCLS. The other two teams also fared well with IBA DU C ending up with 12 points and IBA DU B with 9 points.
These achievements can be seen as the icing on a beautiful cake baked by some endeavoring debaters of IBA. The wonderful story began to unfold in around 2006 with unknown names like Mohammad Arbaaz Nayeem, Md Golam Kibria, Ridwan Karim who ended up as very popular faces in Bangladeshi debating circuit. Taking the lead from where they have left it, debaters like Md. Abir Hasan, Ashfaqul Haq Chowdhury, Gaushey Shahiar continued to make their presence felt.
The ventures to some of the best universities of the world had a lot to offer to the students of IBA. The flag of red and green flew high proudly on the day as the first ever Bangladeshi team broke into the semi-finals of one of the hardest debate tournaments in the world and also when a Bangladeshi team holds the champion's trophy of an international tournament. We hope that we get more opprtunities which will present Bangladesh as a powerhouse- mighty and strong!
(The writer is a student and a debater of IBA)