‘War of Words’, Sai University’s very first international interschool debate competition, was recently held online under the aegis of esteemed panels adjudging students from schools across India and the UAE. The theme of the debate competition was ‘Environment’.

The event kicked off on April 5, 2021, with a preliminary round for students of classes 11 and 12 from schools across India and UAE. The preliminary round of the event saw robust participation of 38 students from 13 schools in India and 3 schools in UAE. Students debated it out on all aspects of the theme and covered a variety of topics like climate change, public water utilities, indiscriminate tourism among others.

The judges of the preliminary round were eminent professors of SaiU from diverse backgrounds and interests – Abhishek Chakravarty, assistant professor of Law at SaiU and faculty at Daksha Fellowship; Chitra Narayan, professor of practice at SaiU and Daksha Fellowship; Mahesh Menon, assistant professor of Law at Daksha Fellowship and SaiU and Shiju M. V., professor of law at SaiU.

Ten students chosen as finalists from the preliminary round went on to debate on interlinking of rivers in India, at the grand finale held on April 10, 2021. For the final round, the judges were Dr. Dawn Dekle, fourth president of the American University of Nigeria and a part of SaiU’s International Advisory Board; Dr. Shailender Swaminathan, Dean, Division of Social Sciences at SaiU; and Nalin Bakhle, Director, department of International Affairs, SaiU.

Commenting on how debates are a great tool in an interdisciplinary model of education, Dr. Dekle said, “Debates help students to learn to do research, to manage and package information and to persuade people with that information.”

While Aadvik Unni from Gems New Millennium School, Dubai, won the first prize in the competition, Shudiksha Basu from Shri Shikshavatan School, Kolkata, was also credited with a top prize by the judges.

The rest of the participants were given certificates of appreciation for their participation. Students were judged on the basis of expression, articulation, delivery, diction and style, argument and ability to represent points of view.

At the grand finale, K. V. Ramani, founder and chancellor of SaiU, congratulated the students for their enthusiastic participation. “This debate is a testament to the fact that youngsters of today are well endowed and well read about key subject matters. It is a delight to see youth so passionate about important issues,” he said.

Dr. Jamshed Bharucha, founding vice chancellor of SaiU, extolled the students for their capabilities and interests in debating. “It is inspiring to see high school students debating about important and relevant topics of our time,” said Dr. Bharucha.

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