Sometimes words just seem to be a set of sounds one after another and yet convey meanings and are our way to get in touch with each other, to describe the world and to express what we believe in and that we carry in our hearts.
The gift of speech and the ability to express ourselves and to argue our thinking is at the heart of an initiative promoted by the Debate Club of the De la Salle Brothers College in Bethlehem. This school was founded by the brothers of the Order in 1893 and since then has pursued its mission of providing high quality and cutting edge education to local youths. To date about a thousand students are enrolled.
In December 2014, the school principal, George Naber, decided to introduce a program into the school that gives an opportunity for students to compete with their peers from around the world putting to the test their critical thinking and analytical skills, the knowledge of important facts about the world and society, their ability to argue logically and carefully and to wisely articulate a debate through the format proposed by the World School’s Debate.
Since then, thanks to the cooperation with international guests, like Professor Alfred Snider of the University of Vermont, a process that aims to create a healthy culture of debate in the Lasallian school and, hopefully, throughout Palestine has begun. Already in just two years dozens of academies have emerged and five other schools have participated. In 2015, the best students were selected to take part in the World School's Debate Championship in Singapore and the World School's Debate Academy Slovenia. In 2016 there was the first local championship in Palestine and two international events in Slovenia and Germany.
The USA Western Lieutenancy of the Order has willingly supported this project allowing the students selected to live these important experiences of discussion and formation abroad. In the letter of thanks received by the school, the headmaster George Naber and the coordinator of the Debate Club Muna Kattan, write: "While we brought forward the debates, while we were preparing, forming and coordinating, we always had in mind that we had to make you proud of the support that you have given us."
The Debate Club of the De la Salle brothers' school in Bethlehem has its own facebook page where you can keep in touch with the students and follow their updates:
(February 23, 2017)