Monday, November 3, 2008

Doha Debates Videos

Part of the Qatar Foundation's vast network of organizations includes one called 'The Doha Debates'. Modeled after the Oxford debate system and chaired by former BBC interviewer Tim Sebastian, the Doha Debates are meant to spark public dialogue and inquiry into controversial topics. Calling someone out or challenging a stated position is not a cultural norm here. Newspapers fail to cite facts and announcements are accepted at face value. In class, I find that some of my students lack the critical reasoning skills to pick apart an argument or to analyze the supporting evidence. 'But I did exactly what the class told me to do!' Yes, but did you evaluate those statements and consider the source?

It's become extremely difficult to get a ticket to these debates and my goal is to attend one before I leave Doha. However, for all those unlucky to get tickets or living far-away, we can watch the debates at the new Doha Debates website. Enjoy.