Forever Under Construction

The Doha Debates

Posted in Iran, Middle East, News, Qatar by homeyra on May 13, 2007


Thanks to the Fanonite posting a recent debate, I came across this series of very interesting online discussions.

Hosted and funded by the Qatar Foundation, the Doha Debates deals with important issues of the Middle-East. Invited speakers are academics, politicians, government officials etc. The debates are hosted by Tim Sebastian and modeled on the Oxford Union debates.

A motion is presented to the audience, speakers argue on behalf and against the motion. Sebastian questions and challenge the speakers, then opens the debate to questions from the audience. Finally, the audience votes for or against the motion.

In addition the Doha Debate Specials gives students in Doha an opportunity to talk with some of the world’s most famous names about the major issues. Previous guests include Shimon Peres, Amre Moussa and president Bill Clinton.

Since October 13, 2004, five special events and twenty debates have been hosted. All the events, videos, transcripts and speakers biographies are available at the website.

To name a few among the available debates:


This house believes Iran poses the greatest threat to security in the regionmotion rejected-March 2006

Here are the broadband or the narrowband video, transcript and speaker biographies: Nazenin Ansari & Dr. Mustafa Alani for the motion, and Michael Axworthy & Sadegh Zibakalam against it.

“This house believes that oil has been more of a curse than a blessing for the Middle East”
motion passed – November 2005
Speakers, Video

“This house believes that Arab Governments are not interested in genuine reform”
motion passed – October 2004
Speakers, Transcript

Next debate: May 28, motion to be confirmed

PS: Michael Axworthy is the author of Sword of Persia


3 Responses

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  1. kikipotamus said, on May 13, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    Whoa, very cool! Everyone should be made aware of this venue. How wonderful that past debates are kept in the public archives for viewing.

  2. homeyra said, on May 14, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Hello kiki 🙂
    Indeed, I am quite impressed with this endeavor, as with the Al Jazeera founding.
    The quality of the speakers varies, still you have the benefit of hearing opposing sides.

  3. Debate « Forever Under Construction said, on November 11, 2007 at 10:41 am

    […] Relevant link: The Doha debates […]

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