Haris Ali Virk

The Great Debate was a thoroughly wonderful experience for me. It provided me with an opportunity to test my argumentative skills in a very competitive environment. The journey from the regional to the national round was extremely memorable in terms of getting to engage with new ideas and meeting participants from all across the country. The management team of the British High Commission was extremely kind and hospitable. And I am so grateful to them for taking keen interest in this activity which offers so much. In a world where spaces for free expression of ideas are increasingly reducing particularly on campuses, this debate provides an ideal platform for students from various backgrounds to come and exchange their views on contemporary socio-political issues.

The format is very interesting, and tests your nerves and mental presence. You only get to have five to ten minutes to prepare your arguments as they assign the sides and speaking order just minutes before the speeches. Needless to mention, the whole exercise stretched my modest talent to its optimal. The Great Debate is perhaps the most significant victory of my debating career because not only did I win the competition but I left the rostrum completely satisfied. And this, in my opinion, is the most beautiful feeling any debater could ever experience.

I am also grateful to my alma mater, Government College University Lahore, for all the good things that it has brought into my life, and for turning me into the person I am today. The greatest of the lessons I have learnt from this entire experience is to try and replicate the words we speak on the debate floor in our real lives in order to bring meaningful positive change. Lastly, I wish good luck to all the debaters who are competing this year. My only advice to you is that try and become good listeners. This is something which is very critical to being a good debater yet we often miss out on it. If you don't listen attentively to the other side, you can't effectively understand and rebut their case. Good luck, and happy debating!