The Olympiad by women and for women

Sadia Rowshan Sweta | Published: March 14, 2019 00:51:23 | Updated: March 19, 2019 14:48:03


The female debaters of the Olympiad held at IUB pose for a photo

'BDC Shevolution 2019 - Hear Her Roar' -- an Olympiad for communication skill of women was held at Independent University Bangladesh (IUB) on March 08 and 09. The event was arranged by an all-women organising committee.

Bangladesh Debating Council (BDC) organised this  first edition of an International Inter-school Women's Olympiad making debate its centrepiece. The aim was to initiate a space where the communication skills of women are brought to the forefront, and so all participants were women. The event consisted of a wall magazine competition, an art competition, a poetry recitation competition, and primarily a debating tournament with an Open Category and a Novice Category among 38 teams from schools/colleges all over Bangladesh.

From carrying many heavy things around until late at night to dance rehearsals on the stage, from decorating each floor with different women-oriented themes to hospitality for the international adjudicators --- everything to the last detail was coordinated by women. Yes, males did step in to show their love and support, but the ratio of male to female was reversed compared to debate tournaments held in Bangladesh.

On March 08, the event started at 9.30 am with its trailer and speeches of two international adjudicators -- Deepan Kumar from Taylor's University and Banun Sabri from International Islamic University Malaysia. The  other adjudicator core members were Wasifa Noshin, Mastura Tasnim and Noshin Saiyara.  After four preliminary rounds, the day ended with a social segment when debaters had to sing under a spotlight in the IUB auditorium.

 The fifth preliminary round was conducted on March 09, and everyone was waiting for the result in the break-day segment. Moreover, there were poetry recitals and dance performances at the break-day with the breaking debate teams getting to smash cages with dolls of girls inside them which represented patriarchy caging them up and they got to literally "smash the patriarchy" to save those girls.

The champions of the wall magazine competition were Tahiya Karim, Sanjana Fawziyah, Sumaita Zayan, Zaima Nuha Rahman Chowdhury, and Syka Subha from Shaheed Anwar Girls' School and College. First runners-up were Afra Haque Lazna, Morium Choudhury, Aspiya Hoque, Madri Paromi Chakma, and Shah Nister Jahan from Feni Girls' Cadet College. Rehnuma Kabir, Afreen Ehsan, and Sadia Ibnat Zahin from Shaheed Anwar Girls' School and College became second runners-up.

Faiza Fairooz from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College became champion of the art competition. First runner-up was Alfee Rubayat from St Francis Xavier's Green Herald International School and second runner-up Mahira Rashid, an O-level candidate.

The champion of the poetry competition was Mir Reenaz Nawar from the Aga Khan School, Dhaka. Tazrian Rahman from South Breeze School and Farina Afrin Malik from Independent University, Bangladesh became first and second runner-up respectively.

After the results of the literary segments were announced, it was observed that 12 teams broke in the debate tournament, eight in the Open Category and four in the Novice Category, and the tournament continued. Then there joined special guests in the closing ceremony at night. Two of them who caught everyone's eyes were Major General Susane Giti who is the head of Pathology Department of Armed Forces Medical College, and Shaheen Afroze, research director of Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies. Moreover, the list of visiting guests included Major General Abdur Rahman, director general at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, and Hafizur Rahman Khan, chairman of Runner Group.

In the Open Category, Academia 1 consisting of Nawal Naz Tareque, Manal Khan, and Antara Farnaz was the champion, and the runner-up was Viqarunnisa 1, consisting of Adhara Ayndrila, Maisha Tasneem and Tajreen Tabassum Nushba. The best speaker in the Open Category was Adhara Ayndrila from Viqarunnisa Noon School and College. In addition, in the Novice Category, Scholastica 1 was the champion, consisting of Sarah Tasneem, Zahra Anwar, and Sanila Moeen, and the runner-up was Manarat 2, consisting of Sarah Binte Hossen, Nujhat Mihika, and Tashfiah Hasan. The best speaker in the Novice Category was Smiti Modhurima from the Aga Khan School.

BDC Shevolution 2019 was not just a debate tournament; it was a beacon of hope for many girls. It was to encourage the girls that they can do whatever they want and be whoever they want to be, be it  well-known debaters, poets or artists. This event has given girls the opportunity to use their potential. Shevolution provides a platform to all the girls in the world to flaunt their talent and celebrate their womanhood.

 

The writer is currently studying at School of Life Sciences, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB). She can be reached at sadia.sweta@gmail.com

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