The debates are financed by the Qatar Foundation and are chaired by the award-winning BBC correspondent and interviewer Tim Sebastian.
The debate topic focused on censorship and its effect on art in this part of the world. The students observed with great interest the opposing sides argue the topic, and at the end made up their own minds, and took part in the voting process. Furthermore, the students were invited to attend the rehearsal sessions which took place before the actual debate and they had the pleasure of meeting the BBC crew, including Tim Sebastian, and they even helped in the rehearsals by acting as the “guest speakers”.
Aysha Naser was most impressed by the whole event. “The BBC Doha Debate was a great experience, it was engaging and I learned so many things about the topic. During the rehearsal, I was able to see how a TV show gets conducted from start to finish and it made me think about studying media in the future,” Aysha said.
The students also visited Aspire Academy, the world’s largest sports centre and they were taken on a guided tour throughout the facilities.
One of the highlights of the trip was the visit to Qatar University where the students were welcomed by Qatari students and their supervisors. The students were also taken on a guided tour throughout the university and were invited to have lunch with the Qatari students where they had the chance to share ideas and experiences.
The students also visited Al Shaqab Centre for breeding Arabian horses, as well as Katara, a cultural educational village, and finally Souq Waqif, a 100-year-old market renovated recently and selling various traditional items.
In addition, they gained useful experience by both attending the debate and taking part for the first time in a brave and open discussion about an important current issue affecting the Arab world.
Last but certainly not least, the students made new friends and enjoyed every aspect of this academic travel opportunity. Mouza Al Jaberi, one of the students who went on the trip said: “I enjoyed this trip because I visited many cultural and educational establishments and made Qatari friends during our visit to Qatar University”.