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Students debate the language of the future at UOWD competition

Sunday, 30 March, 2014

The University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) Amra Notun Bangladesh Expat Student Association (BESA) has held its third annual Student Convention, celebrating the 44th Independence Day of Bangladesh with a debating competition on the theme ‘Language of the Future’.

Twelve finalists from four universities presented their views in persuasive, informative and entertaining speeches in front of three judges: Mr Sandeep Adnani, Vice President-Education of the Toastmasters Club Dubai Chapter; Mr Arif Mirza, a motivational speaker  and co-founder/investor in various ventures and programs such as Directly.me; and Mrs Neena Nizar, a professor of English at Dubai Modern High School, special needs advocate, and founder/director of ‘ABILITY’ – a drama group showcasing the talents of young adults with special needs. 

The teams, representing BITS Pilani, Manipal University, Middlesex University and UOWD, each had presenters submit their speeches for an elimination round, from which the top 12 were chosen to compete at the finals held at UOWD’s JWL Auditorium in Dubai Knowledge Village.

“The competition was initiated three years ago to give students a platform to come together and put forward their opinions on topics of today,” says Ms Zeenath Reza Khan, founding chairperson of the club and a faculty member at UOWD. “It is an event by the students, for the students, and of the students, always with a topic involving students.”

The event began with the National Anthems of the UAE, Australia and Bangladesh. The Amra Notun members sang along to join in Bangladesh’s attempt to create a World Record of nearly 300,000 people singing the National Anthem at the same time  on Independence Day in Dhaka.

The President of the Amra Notun club, Ms Salma Rakhman gave the welcome address, while the President of the Student Representative Council, Ms Madhyama Naswa gave the keynote speech. The competition then began, with each finalist presenting their thoughts on ‘Language of the Future’ in five minutes or less.

With arguments both for and against English as the language of the business world, social media, and the Internet, the finalists presented some unique viewpoints, some highlighting the possibility of losing cultures and heritage if languages were lost, with others arguing the merits of losing such languages that may have little or no economic value.
 
The judges evaluated the participants on criteria including the impact of their speeches, uniqueness, eye-contact and other delivery techniques. The closing address was giving by Ms Namrata, President of the Speak Easy club at UOWD, and the whole event was hosted by Miss Nikita Khan, Vice-President of Amra Notun.

All the judges were highly impressed by the event and the quality of presentations. Mr Sandeep said, “That University students can organise such a professional event is quite commendable. This is the second year that I have been invited back to judge the competition and I see how fast the event, its size and prestige has grown. I congratulate Mrs Khan and the Amra Notun team on hosting a successful competition.”

Following the judge’s deliberation, the winners were announced, placing Ms Sara M from Middlesex in the third place, Mr Shaik Saif from BITS Pilani in the second place and Mr Druv Parekh from Manipal University claimed the first place.