Palestine Debate Academy


The program in Palestine is advancing and improving.

Update: We await news about a new grant from the USA Consulate in Jerusalem as well as progress on an independent fundraising campaign targeting Palestinians living abroad who want to support real change through debate training. Our goals will be to expand debating to other schools, hold trainings in those schools, train teachers at those schools, and set the stage for tournaments in the Spring; also Palestinian debaters will attend international tournaments as well as have good will trips to further raise visibility and support for the program. Stay tuned for news!

Update: Palestine attended the WSDC in Singapore and represented with distinction against 52 other countries. They return with victories over Spain and Germany, and many, many very close debates. Congratulations to the students George Nicola Khalilieh, Nora Bisher Marzouqa, Vanessa Abukova, Dana Ewaiwi, Mulham Najajreh as well as their coaches Daisy Giacaman & Sharmila Parmanand.

Update: During the week of 23-28 February there was intensive debate instruction for 24 students who had been chosen to be considered for the team to represent Palestine at the 2015 World Schools Debating Championship in Singapore. The team will be generously sponsored by Harveen Narulla, a member of the 1995 Singapore World Schools team who is keen to give back to the activity that did so much for him. From the 24 students 5 plus 1 alternate will be chosen to represent Palestine. The other students will form a vanguard to spread debating among the other students at their school, participate in upcoming workshops and competitions, as well as reach out to other schools in Palestine to develop a vigorous debating community for as many Palestinian youth as possible. It is wonderful that a program originally sponsored by the USA Consulate in Jerusalem is now sponsored by Mr. Narulla, and other groups and individuals are now coming on board to join in the project.

February 2015 Training

New plans involve an April training week to continue the skill develop of the Palestine WSDC team as well as those in the vanguard. A June workshop will be held to expand debating and further the skills of the Palestine team as well as the vanguard. Because the June workshop will take place while school is not in session the hours will be longer and the work more intense. Other plans involve fundraising, and includes sending students and teachers to the World Schools Debate Academy in late June and early July in Slovenia. Other international ventures are being planned, along with adding new schools and holding tournaments in Palestine. Stay tuned to see how YOU can be a part of this effort.


During the Fall of 2014 the World Debate Institute began planning debate training in Palestine in cooperation with the De La Salle School of Bethlehem, which was supported by a grant from the USA Consulate Palestine. The event was planned from the Bethlehem side by George Naber and Safa Awwad Abu Aita of De La Salle School Bethlehem and from the WDI side by Bojana Skrt of ZIP Slovenia and Alfred Snider of the University of Vermont.

Between 2-7 December 2014 Skrt and Snider paid the first visit to Bethlehem and staged three days of student training (lectures, exercises, practice debates) culminating in a day of public debates on the motion, “European Union countries should legally adopt Orphans from Gaza.” See the video at . This was followed up by two days of teacher training, as debating in Palestine must be led by Palestinians. Meetings were held to plan for the future. All agreed that this had been a very good start.

De La Salle School of Bethlehem has an ambitious plan to promote debating. At the urging of all sponsors the following two events will be held.

    Training for Students & Teachers - 23-28 February 2015 - with original group of students, trainers and teachers, more advanced training, in-school tournament.

    Palestine Debate Academy - 6-12 June 2015 - additional trainers, new students and teachers, intensive workshop and tournament. Multiple tracks of instruction.

In 2015-16 other plans include:

    Training sessions for other schools.

    Inter school tournaments.

    Attending international tournaments.

The groups plan to apply to funders for expansion after June 2015.


George Naber, De La Salle School

Alfred Snider, University of Vermont

Bojana Skrt, ZIP Slovenia


West Bank, Palestine