********************************************** Kuwait Debate League 2002 Season **********************************************
The Kuwait Debate League (KDL) started two years ago in order to try to promote high quality debate. It welcomes any English language/bilingual curriculum school that wishes to participate. While the KDL concentrates on American style debate, League school regular compete in other styles of debate outside the League season. The KDL season begins Feb 07 with a sample debate and judging clinin, and Al-Bayan Bilingual School (BBS) serves as host school.
2002 looks like a particularly exciting and challenging season. Returning schools include: BBS, defending League Champions; Gulf English School, last seasons' co-runners-up; Universal American School, last season's co-runners-up; and New English School. New league entrants include the British School in Kuwait, KSDC champions; Kuwait English School, KSDC runners-up; Fahaheel Al-Watanieh Indian Private School , 1999-2000 Intra School (Indian Style) Debate Champions; the English School for Girls, the English Academy Jabriya, and The English School-Fahaheel.
This season will boast an expanded committment to junior varsity. Schools with American-level 8th graders, ages 13-16 can participate in JV, and any school new to the League has the option of debating JV for the first season.
The varsity season ends, on stage, at BBS on April 17th when the schools with the best preliminary round results send their top squad to compete for the school championship, and one squad will win. Will your school be there? Will they be on stage?
Any school wisihing to participate in the League should contact League Coordinator Daniel R. Fruit at BBS.
Quick. What is the most challenging athletic activity at your school? Some would immediately mention football, others basketball, and others American football, which coach Vince Lombardi used used to describe as "a body collision sport."
Imagine if the question were a bit different: What is the most challenging academic activity offered at your school? Many would mention debate. If the tops sports challenge your conditioning and strength, debate challenges your mental strength and education. Like all of the sports above, debate has winners and losers. The "collision" in debate, though, is mental.
Debate and American Style Debate
All styles of debate involve three different things: research, speaking, and answering opponents. National styles, however, differ as to the way in which these things happen, and the way in which the judges score them. The world debate style, used in the Kuwait School Debate Championship (KSDC), derives from that of the United Kingdom and Australia.
The Kuwait Debate League (KDL) uses American style debate, also known as "policy debating," presents its own particular challenges. An American style debater may speak as much as 15 minutes in total. American debate requires that affirmative (for) side debaters not only prove their point, but present a concrete plan of action. Finally American style gives each debater a full three minutes to question, "cross examine," an opponent. A good "cross-X" may resemble an intense scene from your favorite courtroom drama, like LA Law, or Perry Mason, only with a Perry Mason on each side. With victory on the line, top debaters take no prisoners during cross X.
The Kuwait Debate League season formally opened with a sample debate at Al-Bayan Bilingual School. On April 18th, the season will end-with only school as national champions.
The session began with a speech by Al-Bayan Bilingual School's principal Mr. Jihad Saddedin. Mr. Jihad told the participants how much he applauded them for their efforts and the importance he personally and the school community placed on debate. He welcomed all participants to BBS and wished them the best of luck during the season.
After this, League Coordinator, Daniel R. Fruit, introduced Sarah Al Dukair and Bader Al Tukhaim, the League Student Coordinator and Assistant. Fruit explained that these students would be handling more of the day to day operations of the League which greatly expanded in recent years. Both students debated junior varsity the previous season as well as participating at American School in Kuwait's (ASK's) tournament in November.
Mr. Fruit then went on to give a speech of his own. He compared the coming American-style debate season to a Marathon, the most grueling of all athletic events. "Most people wouldn't even start a Marathon," Fruit said, "fewer still will finish it. Only one comes across the finish line first...In the end, the Marathon is about heart." Fruit went on to explain how any debater is, in his opinion, a winner just for "going the distance."
The sample debate showcased BBS's junior (15-17 year-old) class which debated both sides. The affirmative side consisted of second speaker Ghazi al Sharhan, entering his third season as a varsity debater, and Yousef Dashti, starting his first varsity season and fresh off a winning record at ASK. The affirmative presented a plan about labelling genetically modified foods. They attacked not only current "dangerous" practices, but the US Food and Drug Adminstration which, they claimed, violated its own regulations with insufficient testing.
The negative consisted of Talal Al Rashoud, who won promotion to varsity at the end of last season, and Latifa Ben Essa, last year's junior varsity debate acheivement winner whose squad compiled an undefeated record at ASK's debate event. The negative found some important weaknesses in the affirmative's plan. They also produced a lot of counter-evidence.
Gulf English School, The English School-Fahaheel, and the BBS Junior Varsity, among others, came to watch this first match. GES's veteran coach Diana Seavill, whose GES team came in a close second the last two years, along with Mr. Fruit, judged the match. Many future League judges came to the match to observe.
At the end of the match, the two squads shook hands. The judges then explained why the negative won this very first match. Ben Essa and Al Rashoud took a couple of steps forward to receive their congratulations. However, for all schools, the finish lines lies twenty miles, and as many as fifteen matches, further down the road.
Germ-Line Gene Therapy, Stem Research, Cloning, Patent Law
To most of us, the concepts presented above might seem arcane, unusual, scientific. To the students in the Kuwait Debate League, these are merely the subject of a typical night's debating. A side might debate a plan discussing government policy any of these or, with no advance warning, find itself the US government's position on the above. This comes from choosing to debate on this League's chosen topic:
"Resolved: that the United States Government should substantially change its policy towards genetic research and development."
On Wednesday night, the Kuwait Debate League reached the halfway point of its challenging season. The two schools with the best records, Gulf English School and Al-Bayan Bilingual School, met in head-to-head action. In two of the three varsity matches only a single point divided the two schools. For GES and BBS, this night marked the completion of over a dozen matches. In some show of the evenness of the competition, only one squad out of eighteen has lost no matches, and that squad started a week late.
March 20th will mark the League debute of two new schools and the return of a third after a half year's absence. The Fahaheel Wataniyeh Indian Private School (FAIPS) and the Indian Community School (ICS-K) will both complete their first league debate this week. Meanwhile, the New English School will return after an absence of almost a year.
Commented League Coordinator, Daniel R. Fruit,
"The addition of new schools continues to make the League stronger and stronger. Meanwhile, the level of competition, even on this very difficult topic, continues to rise. We're building towards an exciting tournament in April."
Any Kuwait school still wishing to participate in or observe the tournament should write to Daniel R. Fruit <firstname.lastname@example.org>