Today, having a high CGPA after four years of under-graduation is no longer enough to guarantee success. Each university graduate is expected to be an excellent presenter, a good programmer, even better video editor and the list goes on. British Council sponsored report on graduate unemployment prepared by the Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that 47 per cent of university graduates remain unemployed every year. Now, that figure does not take into account the startups started by most of these students, but the fact that remains is that getting a job after graduation is almost as challenging as raising your CGPA after it has dipped below 3.0.
In such a context, the educational institutes have urged its associated clubs to work for developing specific skills among its students that would help them in their future. Independent University, Bangladesh has been no different and has always supported its clubs thrive. One of the leading clubs of the university and renowned among the debate circuit of Bangladesh is the Independent University, Bangladesh Debating Club (IUBDC).
Achievements as a debating club
On the debating front, IUBDC has won national championships at various prestigious and competitive tournaments held by the debating circuit of the nation. They have won the championship at IUT Professionals, a competition held at the Islamic University of Technology once every two years to retain the exclusive quality that it promises to its debaters. IUBDC has won in BRAC Inter-Varsity National Tournament, BRAC Genders and in BRAC Masters, the last of which is a competition between absolute masters of debate in the country. One of the former club presidents has won a tournament at Derozio Memorial University in India. In every tournament they have at least one team that reaches the finals; however, their crowning glory came this year when IUBDC won the United Asian Debating Championship held in Bandung, Indonesia. So as far as debating is concerned, they are well off and are already making a mark in the international arena.
Inception of IUBDC
IUBDC like most student debating clubs started with no clubrooms. It was created in 2003 and faced its share of challenges for surviving. It got its first clubroom, which is classroom 7015, in 2013. Now in 2018, IUBDC members have a second clubroom behind the auditorium of IUB, and access to all university resources and facilities during the special events they organise.
Former club president Sajid Safwan had this to say about the community, "IUBDC is a platform for IUB students to nurture their inner potential and to be the next generation leaders, changemakers, and thought provokers. Even if it is a club which is meant to be about speaking skills, learning argumentation and presenting your ideas in articulated ways, the core definition is to challenge every narrative there is, and not settling for any trivial stereotypes/values just because it has been there so far." The whole idea is to be curious about learning more and keep on challenging your boundaries, to become more and more tolerant of the entire world around you.
Recent and upcoming projects
What extra quality does the club have to endow upon its members besides the art of rhetoric? Well, the answer is "Ascension." It is the flagship debating event of IUBDC, coveted by all the debaters of the nation. A quick search on the event page of Ascension 2016 will show how well received it was on its debut year as a premiere debating competition. For the feedback on Ascension 2017 merely ask any of the participants, and they will voluntarily show the photos they took of the decorations. What Ascension gives to its participants is not just a debating experience, something they avail weekend after weekend. Ascension aims to provide an experience of a lifetime, and over the last two years, they have delivered on their promise, as far as the participants are concerned. Aside from Ascension, IUBDC also organises open debating tournaments such as IUB Wordplay. Aside from debating events, IUBDC regularly creates networking opportunities for IUB students and corporate executives through various workshops, conferences and seminars. Ascension is once again coming back next week. It is expected to be a big debating battle, as there will be debaters from foreign countries as well.
One might probably wonder how organising a grand event helps one get jobs after graduation. Well, firstly IUBDC alumni have already attained posts at places like Grameenphone, Unilever, British American Tobacco, and even Google. Almost all of them credit their time at the club for their current success. Moreover, these same alumni ensure that they are regularly present in club activities and provide advice and mentoring to the members regarding the corporate sector. To set themselves apart as a club that enriches their members, Ascension 2018 promised internships at the topmost corporations present in the country to the best organisers of the event this year.
In the words of one of the co-conveners of Ascension 2018 Mushfiquz Zaman, "Ascension is a dream come true for the Bangladesh Debating circuit. A pioneer of bringing the world-class debate into the land of martyrs! I am glad that I am part of this tremendous project."
Ascension 2018 will feature a chief adjudication core consisting of members who are considered to be debating legends in the greater international debating fraternity. Last year Ascension hosted debaters from Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Malaysia. This year they are planning to host more countries.
IUBDC is doing what matters most to ensure success for its members. They are organising events with networking opportunities and are winning accolades for debating on foreign grounds. They are making the sport of debating as lucrative as any international athletic events. All of it started in clubroom 7015, and this room is truly introducing Bangladesh in other countries as a force in the field of debating. In the words of current club president Zubair Ridoan, "An unending desire to do the best we can to uphold the spirit of speech and self-development, and to share with everyone the warmth of the flame that is IUBDC."
The writer is a student of Independent University, Bangladesh. He can be reached at email@example.com
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