The Big Debate
By Mr Boney
On Thursday 20th April I had the honour of accompanying ten of KAA’s debating team to Comic Relief’s The Big Debate hosted by Debate Mate, an educational charity that teaches debating in inner-city schools across the UK.
The debate was held at the Royal Institution and chaired by the BBC’s Ore Oduba. Robert Clark School from London argued for the proposition “This house believes that, for people in developing countries, the world is getting better,” while Mount St. Mary’s Catholic from Leeds argued in opposition. The debate was judged by a panel including actress Emma Thompson and news presenter Jon Snow.
George the Poet started things off with an exclusive and thought-provoking spoken word on the value of the quest for knowledge. After both sides had made their summary statements and while the judges deliberated, Bill Gates challenged the minds in attendance (young and old) that even though we’ve made progress in reducing infant mortality and poverty around the world, there is still much to be done in many parts of Africa and Asia. It was a truly wonderful opportunity for our KAA students to witness quality debating from two strong teams and to be inspired by fantastic public speakers.
I couldn’t be prouder to be a member of the KAA community than I was at this event. During the debate when questions were being taken from the audience, Firdaws (7 Radcliffe) confidently challenged the proposition’s argument that we need to be optimistic about the progress we’ve made as a society towards eradicating poverty with this nugget: “Isn’t it wiser to be realistic [about the lives of people in LEDCs] rather than to be blindly optimistic?” You could hear the support echo from around the amphitheatre of 250+ students. The gantlet had been thrown down and with it KAA had made a statement! Firdaws’ point caught the judges’ attention. Jon Snow requested that Firdaws be given the Nando’s Cheeky Chicken voucher that was coveted by all in attendance. So impressive was the chord struck by Firdaws, she was interviewed at the end of the debate by the local media about her experience at the competition. She even made the highlight reel on Comic Relief’s twitter page.
And if one wasn’t enough, KAA had another star burst onto the scene. After Bill Gates delivered his presentation, the floor was opened for questions. Many eager hands went up. And with not one, but two hands enthusiastically waving, and with a foot threatening to leave the floor in a similar fashion, Ahmed (9 Berners-Lee) was selected to ask Mr Gates a question. Rising before a hush-befallen crowd, he asked:
“Do you think it would ever be possible to completely eradicate poverty within this generation’s life time?” He was praised by both Gates and Oduba for the apt query. You can see the exchange for yourselves by checking out the video below. All in all our debating team made us all very proud.