In the news: 2010
What the media say about The Doha Debates...
As controversial and timely as the latest headlines, The Doha Debates have been making news themselves. Here are a few of the stories that have aired or been written about us:
The lively discussion program, which airs on the BBC and other channels worldwide, is yet another example of how Qatar is cultivating a reputation as an intellectual hub within the Persian Gulf.
It was a fascinating night, and showed exactly how civilised debate can elucidate arguments in a deeply contentious issue. Though we might not have had an impact on French policy, the debate demonstrated that people do not necessarily need to agree with each other in order to appreciate that there is another side to every argument.
You can't buy them off. That was the reigning sentiment at a recent round of the Doha Debates when audience members voted overwhelmingly in favor of democratic reform before economic liberalization.
Mr Myard made his outspoken comments to British journalists in Qatar, where he was defending his country's recent banning of the veil at the prestigious Qatar Foundation Doha Debates, which will be broadcast by the BBC this weekend. His comments will inflame tensions between London and Paris five years after the 7/7 London bombings, which the French have regularly blamed on lax policing.
Freedom of choice is a cornerstone of civilised democratic societies. But rights are not absolute, and consideration must be given to others within communities and society as a whole who may be affected by our choices.
The program is very important in developing youth and potential leaders in the region, said Dalia Dassa Kaye, a senior political scientist at the RAND Corp., where Sebastian spoke last week. While it will take a lot more to lead to dramatic change, "they are breaking taboos and opening issues that wouldn't otherwise be discussed," she said.
The Middle East remains a mystery to many in the Western World, and what's more, a heavily stereotyped and judged region due to the militaristic actions of a small minority and a general disconnect between two vastly different cultures. Some may think that there is no room for political discussion amongst the region's people. Chaired by BBC¹s Tim Sebastian, the Doha Debates are aimed at giving young Arabs the opportunity to share their views and concerns with one another and the world.
Many Qataris believe the country's current leadership has allowed for greater openness. They point to mixed-gender higher learning at Education City and thoughtful public discussion on the Doha Debates.
Harte holds a unique position at the centre of one of the world's most unlikely progressive media outlets. Despite both the self-censorship and regulated censorship of the Gulf region, she claims that the Debates have never been told to shy away from an issue.
A hilarious yet thought provoking session of the Doha Debates, held yesterday passed with a vast majority a motion that said that women are superior to men. The special debate featured four renowned comedians who waded into the age-old rivalries between the sexes.
The evening represented a departure from the usual debates, retaining the format of the programme. Four standup comedians made up the panel for the debate, offering a lighthearted insight into the question of gender superiority.
The debate was over the proposition, Obama is too weak to bring about Middle East peace, and I argued the affirmative along with a guy from American University of Beirut named Ahmed Moussali. He was unshaven and chain-smoked and kept the other side off balance in the green room by making fun of their clothing and telling scatological jokes.
The Doha Debates is a rare and unique forum in the heart of the Middle East that facilitates open and critical discussion of sensitive issues. Founded and presided over by former BBC presenter Tim Sebastian, its audience includes a diverse smattering of young Arabs -- as well as Westerners and others -- mostly students that provides a ready pulse on current trends.
The debate was an acrimonious event, marked by the audiences palpable disappointment with what they heard, and capped with an 89 percent vote of no confidence in the Palestinian leadership. But if any of the panelists were dismayed, they showed no sign of it at dinner. None of them seemed inclined to accept the audiences blunt invitation to step down.
The audience...asked the leaders either to step down and bring a new generation to lead or to really work on trusting each other, in order to help themselves work on liberating their country.
The Doha Debates' India motion, Whether Muslims are getting a fair deal in India, hits the hammer straight on the nail's head. No other issue in India is touchier, has deeper consequences and so integral to India's unity. Is the majority community indeed unfair to Muslims? If so, how far are Indian Muslims responsible for it?
QATAR, the capital of Doha, has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to develop its education programmes, strengthen its research engagements and facilitate community programmes. In keeping with the spirit, 10 students from universities and schools in Doha were at St Stephens College in Delhi recently. As part of the visit, the students participated in a forum called Doha Debates.
IT had all the makings of a communally surcharged evening. But a combination of tight security and the free spirit of debate at St Stephen's College ensured that a mini- riot did not erupt on the campus on Monday during The Doha Debate on ‘ Muslims are not getting a fair deal in India'. (page 17)
Pilot added: Look around us. No other country with 130 million Muslims is a democracy. Here everyone has equal rights, right to vote and equal opportunity for earning a livelihood. Therefore, it would be unfair to make such a comment.
The Doha Debates on BBC World News television has somehow managed to quietly establish itself as an island of free speech within a sea of censorship. This, I would argue, is as groundbreaking as any other obvious sign of societal progress in the Gulf region today.
But this week the organisers betrayed their own high standards by holding their debate on the motion "This House believes Dubai is a bad idea". They chose not to debate Dubai's record, or its achievements, or even its aspirations. They decided to debate Dubai as an entity: should the emirate of Dubai as a whole be considered good or bad.
One man they could all do with watching in action is Tim Sebastian, the award-winning BBC journalist whose relentless interrogations of the powers that be made Hardtalk compelling, if occasionally deeply uncomfortable, viewing. He now chairs The Doha Debates, a political round-table show that offers Arabs in a live studio audience a similar opportunity.