As a child, I have always been very curious: a simple answer was never enough. I have been that type of kids that ask those weird questions all the time. But my father wasn’t giving us answers so easily, he always pushed us to think to find it ourselves. From an early age, he taught us how to discuss an idea, starting with simple topics during family dinners. This is how my story with debates started!
I got the chance to be part of a debate community the day I started my journey with “The Great Debaters Morocco” NGO in 2013. During all this period, I developed so many skills and grew myself. Being part of that NGO changed many aspects of my life: during this adventure, I became a social person, developed my critical thinking and my public speaking skills, made many valuable friendships, traveled to many cities and abroad, worked with very interesting youth, and got the chance to add a value wherever I go.
Today, I write this article as a tribute to “The Great Debaters Morocco” that changed my life, and to all college students that aren’t yet part of a debate community to give them reasons to do so.
The world of arguments and ideas
Becoming a debater taught me three main skills: how to build my ideas correctly and logically, how to defend them strongly and how to accept others’ perspectives.
Everyone obviously has his own point of view in some topics, but what varies is how these point of views are built: some people get them by being influenced, others believe on an idea just because the majority does. But the right way to establish your own idea is to convince yourself with it first: if you can’t, then you can’t believe on it!
Now that you got your own point of view, you should know how to defend it. For that, you need to build strong and logical arguments. They can vary depending on your audience or people you are debating with, on their background and culture: you will barely convince someone who doesn’t believe on science with a scientific fact!
To defend your point of view, you should understand well the topic and have arguments that may be suitable for many situations. Of course, along with that, there are stratagems to form your logical sequence of arguments and master the art of convincing people that you develop with debate’s trainings.
Finally, you should never be afraid of hearing others’ point of views. There is no shame to be convinced by someone if his arguments are logically built. Debate is not about being right, it’s about finding the truth whenever you can.
Socializing and Friendships
Four years ago, I started small in the debate community: I was a team member representing my school on a regional debate competition. I also knew no one besides my team. But during those four years and after many debates and conferences, I got the chance to meet a tremendous amount of people from all fields and backgrounds. People with whom you share the same love for debate. People with whom you become friend in just a day!
Yes, debates (and its related events) helps you to build a very powerful every day tool: socializing!
In debates’ events, you automatically talk to other participants (even if you don’t, they will) and at the end of the day, you get many new friends. Thanks to that, you learn how to talk to strangers and make friends so quickly!
Also, you learn how to introduce yourself and how to talk about your interests in life, since you do it on many occasions. Believe me, many people don’t know how to value themselves when in public or with strangers.
Curiosity about new subjects
For many times, I got the chance to participate on debate competitions (as a debater and a jury member) and other various conferences (about diplomacy, United Nations, climate…). Before any event, I had to prepare and do researches about the main subjects of the conferences, for my speeches and my positions. This enabled me to enlarge my knowledge. It also made me become a curious citizen about her community and world news, interested on various fields.
There is no peace without war, and there is no debate without opposition. In the art of debate, you must respect your opponent, even if you are against his sayings. And by being a debater, you build the ability of tolerance and accepting others.
You also develop the no judgment skill, since you understand that there is, not only one, but many truths: each person, depending on his past experiences and current life, sees the truth from a perspective, and perspectives are endless.
Being a student/intern and involved in an NGO at the same time made me develop my skill of multi-tasking: I may study or work, and also travel for conferences, attend the team board meetings, work along with the team on upcoming events,… and my grades or my productivity have been always satisfying!
Thanks to that pace I got from always doing two activities simultaneously, I learned how to manage my time efficiently, my sense of priority and even my energy.
It was at first very hard to keep up, but now, I am fully engaged on both my studies and other activities, have a social life, and even find time to work out.