Sunday, 6 May 2007

The Doha debates

The Doha Debates broadcast on BBC World are a forum for public debate in Qatar and organised similarly to the traditional “Oxford Union” debate. They focus on issues related to the Arab and Islamic worlds and the format allows for open debate: two teams of invited speakers (speakers have various backgrounds and hold diverse views) debate a topic which is usually controversial and the audience participates by asking questions. The debate is chaired by Tim Sebastian who formerly presented the BBC programme “Hardtalk” and at the end the audience takes a vote in favour or against the motion.

I watched one of them earlier today entitled “This House believes the pro-Israeli lobby has successfully stifled Western debate about Israel's actions.” It took place at Oxford University, the first time one of the Doha Debates has been held outside Qatar. A very interesting discussion and appropriately, the House decided in favour of the motion.

If you want more information or want to watch past programmes, check out the website.

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