Arabic Debate and the ASEAN Way

(commemorating ASEAN Arabic Debate Championship 2015)

I start by extending my heartiest congratulations to my friends from UIAM “A” for being the champion of ASEAN Arabic Debate Championship 2015 organised by the Islamic Science University of Malaysia (USIM). I am also extending the same to my friends from UIAM “B” for emerging fourth in the Championship.

As a part of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), I am so proud of both great achievements. As their Team Manager, it's my pleasure to serve them at the best of my ability, despite of serving for two upcoming Arabic debating tournaments involving our middle school juniors as well as for Mahallah as-Siddiq development. As the same, I learned from their spirit, determination, effort, cooperation and understanding in making their dream a true.

The Champion received a cash prize of RM 4,000, a challenge trophy, individual trophies and certificates of participation; while the Third Runner-up (the team emerging fourth) received a cash prize of RM 700, individual trophies and certificates of participation.

Being a crucial segment of Ihtifal IPT ASEAN 2015, held successfully from 20 to 24 August 2015 at USIM, Nilai, Negeri Sembilan, ASEAN Arabic Debate Championship attracted participation of 16 teams from higher learning institutions in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. Instead of the Championship, Ihtifal IPT ASEAN 2015 comprised of ASEAN Youth Daie Convention, al-Quran Recitation Competition and Nasyid Competition.

Thank Allah; I had an opportunity to come to USIM for witnessing the Final Round of the Championship, where UIAM “A” won against UM “A” in a very tough debate on “Cooperation between ASEAN Countries is Crucial in Fighting Against Terrorism”. It was on 24 August, where I got the same opportunity to meet my fellow debaters from other universities.

ASEAN Arabic Debate Championship 2015 is more than an Arabic debate tournament. It is a platform for ASEAN peoples to share their ideas, experiences and determination in making ASEAN a better place for everyone. It is also an avenue for ASEAN peoples to promote the use of Arabic language, one of six international languages recognised by the United Nations (UN).

Although IIUM won the Championship, for me, this Championship is not about being a champion because only one team will be the Champion. It's all about how we use this forum to show our love to ASEAN; and how we can plan for a better ASEAN Community in the future, where we can share one heart and one soul as one ASEAN Community by any possible mean despite of existing differences.

It's true that debate is all about different stances and opinions. However, for me, through a good practice of understanding, followed by a high spirit of friendship and brotherhood, debate can be an arena of unity and integration; and that's the ASEAN Way; where "unity in diversity" become its foundation in realising the establishment of the ASEAN Community.