The Doha Debates Come to DC
During the spring semester, the Doha Debates, a free-speech forum based in Qatar and televised on the BBC World News, made its U.S. debut in Gaston Hall. Usually filmed at Doha’s Education City, the debates allow students to hear leading experts discuss internationally-relevant current events and to engage with the participants during a question and answer session.
The Doha Debates are structured around the centuries-old rules used by the Oxford Union. Each debate focuses on a single controversial motion with two speakers arguing for and two against. After the arguments are presented, the moderator and then the audience are permitted comments and questions before the final electronic vote is taken.
During the debate in Gaston Hall, the motion argued was “It is time for the United States to get tough on Israel.” After many heated exchanges among panelists and the students in the capacity crowd, the motion passed with 63% of the vote. Participants at this debate included former CIA officer and intelligence expert Michael Scheuer, former speaker of the Israeli Knesset Avraham Burg, former advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister Dore Gold, and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz.
The Doha Debates are sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. For more information on the series and upcoming events, visit www.thedohadebates.com.