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Round-up: Young Arab Voices National Debates Championships 2017

Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine

The YAV National Debate Championships 2017 (Boxing Days) started in February 2017 in 7 Arab countries. The Boxing Days represent one of the main pillars and activities of the Young Arab Voices programme.

To be honest, being selected to go to the National Debate Championship scared me! The fact that my father passed away on the 22nd of last month, I wasn’t in a condition to do anything. His death shattered me into pieces I just can’t believe he is gone. Still I wanted it to do it for my father’s soul. It was difficult and the most challenging thing I have ever done. My team “Sawty” was qualified to the quarter then the semi and very close to the final. We were ranked fifth, nationally. I had the opportunity to meet young debaters from across Tunisia and now, the bond we have is beyond this world. I couldn’t believe the feedback I received individually or for the whole team. It made my day and uplifted my spirit. Dad, I hope you are proud, I believe you are. Rest in Peace. This is by far, the best experience ever, it rooted the love of debating in me. Debate is changing my life.”

Soumaya Bouchaoua,

Young debater - Tunisian Boxing Days 2017


Morocco’s National Debate Championship took place in Rabat on 10 – 11 March 2017. 88 Moroccan debaters participated in 20 debates discussing several topics such as: migration and unemployment, radicalization and terrorism, local governance and international economy and education sector. 200 people attended the final debate.
Zineb Beharbit, participant, said: "It's not easy to choose one way of debate that has impacted me. But the one thing that always stands out, is that debating makes you realize how easy it is to pretend to listen to someone for the sole purpose of answering them, instead of actually listening to what they have to say. To the people who don't know debate so well, it might seem like it divides people, but because of what I said earlier, it is the total contrary."
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96 young debaters gathered in Cairo  on 22-26 March 2017 to compete in 43 debates in front of an audience of more than 100 people. The debates topics’ varied from Islamophobia, environment and sustainable development to the economic crisis and political participation in Egypt.
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On 23-26 March 2017, in Tunis, 80 young debaters competed in 82 debates discussing various topics such as public banks and private sectors, the right of asylum seekers and economic and political life in Tunisia.

Maram, Tunisian debater, said “This was, by far, one of the best experiences I have ever had! And as they say ‘ Experience is the best teacher’. In the past couple of days and by getting into a series of intensive debating sessions, we learned new things; how to work in a team, how to use reasoning and evidence to structure and orgnise our thoughts, and most importantly how confidence, poise, self-esteem and dedication are all what you need In order to make a miracle happen. We went to have fun and suddenly, things got serious! We made it through the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals and then to the finals. We, the Tunis Business School, ranked 4th in the National Debate Championship. I have never been more proud!
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62 debates were organized in Tipaza on 28-31 March 2017 in the framework of the Algerian National Debates Championship. 100 young leaders debated topics related to the effectiveness of civil society in Algeria, education, social media, interreligious dialogue and international relations.


The final debate took place on the 29th of April in Amman. The Boxing days started on the 4th of February where 128 debaters competed to win in front of 900 people. Several topics were discussed and debated such as: Public health, women and decision making, corruption and culture of tolerance.


The Lebanese Boxing Days took place on 29-30 April 2017 in Beirut, where 57 young leaders participated. The young debaters competed against each other discussed the topics of media and politics in Lebanon, taxes and the banking system, education, and sustainable development and the environment.
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The ‘Young Arab Voices’ regional project is jointly managed by the British Council and the Anna Lindh Foundation and co-financed by both the European Union and the UK government’s Arab Partnership Initiative.

At the Anna Lindh MED FORUM 2016, EU’s HR/VP Federica Mogherini announced the expansion of the Young Arab Voices programme to include countries from the north of the Mediterranean, launching the Young Mediterranean Voices programme. This programme, which is in line with the new ALF strategy “Invest in a Generation”, is a major milestone that builds an unequivocal consensus that Youth should be given prominence in the policy making of the countries of the Euro-Med region."
Message of HRVP Mogherini

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