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Up for Debate Team Qatar cover image

Up for Debate Team Qatar 2010


Distributed by Landmark Media Inc., 3450 Slade Run Dr., Falls Church, VA 22042; 800-342-4336
Produced by Liz Mermin
Director n/a
DVD , color, 60 min.

Sr. High - Adult
Public Speaking, Social Sciences, Political Science, Current Affairs, Debate

Date Entered: 12/02/2010

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

Public debate is a formal style of debate. Two or more teams compete through six rounds of argument, giving persuasive speeches on a particular topic or topics. Up for Debate Team Qatar introduces the viewer to Tina, Ayesha, Talal, Vartan, and Fatima. Only 20 per cent of Qatar's residents are Qatari, and the team reflects this—Tina is Iranian, Vartan is Syrian-Armenian, Fatima is Iraqi, Ayesha is from Pakistan and Talal is half Lebanese, half Qatari. This documentary follows the journey of these five ambitious teenagers as they are initiated into the cut-throat subculture of competitive high school debate. Training in London, Doha and New York, they learn more about the world as they hone their debating skills. They are charismatic and cultured, with strong views and immense curiosity. Alex Just, their coach, was president of the Oxford Union and is resolute to prepare them for victory, despite the fact that they have only been debating for six months.

Will the team overcome their inexperience and hold their own against the sarcastic English, meticulous Singaporeans and ferocious Australians, all with years of practice at reducing lesser teams to tears? How will they deal with America, what will they make of Team Israel, and are they worldly enough to triumph?

At stake is the chance to demonstrate to the rest of the world their skills as modern, free-thinking Middle-Easterners. Original, engaging and informative, the film offers an entertaining glimpse into the rapidly growing global culture of the Arab world and its relation with the west. This film makes an excellent introduction to those students whose fear of public speaking is evident or wants to take a closer look at the intricacies of public debates.