#Doha2Edinburgh: A Week of Cultural Exchange, Learning and Globalization

Doha Debates
October 30, 2019

In July, Education City students visited Edinburgh, Scotland on a cultural exchange that put the Doha Debate philosophy into practice. #Doha2Edinburgh brought together students from Education City in Qatar with students from the University of Edinburgh for an educational program capped with the Globalization debate at the TED Global Summit. 

The exemplary Education City students who traveled to Edinburgh for the exchange and debate were Abdulla Al-Romaihi (Georgetown University in Qatar), Ali Al-Ansari (Texas A&M in Qatar), Zainab Al-Ansari (Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar), Hazar Al-Kilani (Northwestern University in Qatar) and Safah Khan (Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar). Each brought a unique perspective to the exchange and came away with insight about the philosophy of debate and consensus-building, as well as a practical look into what it takes to organize a Doha Debate. 

Appropriately for a debate on Globalization, students from the University of Edinburgh also participated, working with the Education City students to discuss, debate, and learn from each other. They dug into the topic of Globalization, exploring the benefits, dangers and impact of globalism on our world.

To develop their social media skills, the students discussed best social media practices to create an impact on audiences with Doha Debates’ social editor, Adrian Arizmendi. Doha Debates’ connector, Govinda Clayton, spoke on conflict-resolution and shared his take on the four steps of dialogue to have difficult conversations across differences. Doha Debates staff also worked with the students on critical competencies that align with their studies.

For journalism student Hazar Al-Kilani, the experience provided tools she’ll use to her future career. “I’ve been able to apply many of the communication skills we’ve learned during the trip in my field of study,” she said. 

Georgetown University in Qatar student Abdulla Al-Romaihi especially appreciated the cultural exchange aspect of the trip. “We got to learn from our Scottish counterparts and simultaneously teach them about a country and culture they were not previously exposed to,” he said. That sentiment was echoed by Zainab Al-Ansari, who connected with the Scottish students in meaningful ways: “In a short time span we made friendships that cross borders, and I truly appreciate the group of people I got to share this experience with.”

“In a short time span we made friendships that cross borders, and I truly appreciate the group of people I got to share this experience with.” -Zainab Al-Ansari

They worked on leadership dynamics and discussed methods of adapting to different work styles, as well as identifying their own styles of leadership. For student Ali Al-Ansari the focus on different styles of leaders was impactful. “I was able to gain knowledge pertaining to the multiple forms of leadership,” he said, “and more importantly, how to work with individuals who share different leadership styles.”

The students also got a glimpse into the robust work and organization it takes to put on live events like Doha Debates’. They saw the many parts that need to come together for a successful event, from logistics to rehearsal. Ali Al-Ansari said he was amazed at the behind-the-scenes action: “It takes a lot of manpower from multiple departments that need to cohesively work together in order to put on a remarkable show,” he said. 

The students came away from the experience having made global connections and with a renewed respect for the spirit of debate. Student Safah Khan’s time in Edinburgh encapsulates the mission of Doha Debates. “I learned there’s always room for discussion,” she said, “whether it’s through a large TED conference debate with world-renowned speakers or through talking to my peers in organized workshops or simply through taking the time to listen at dinner.”

Watch our live debate on globalization: