Dareen Alhajaref ‘19 hosted a debate and mental health workshop for West Bank YES alumni at the Amideast office in Ramallah on May 19. Dareen is the coach of the Al-Quds Bard University Debate Union. The participants learned what debate is, both theoretically and practically, discussed strategies for preventing and coping with burnout, and emphasized the importance of mental health.
The workshop started with introductions and icebreakers, followed by a session on the theory of argumentation and debate. They learned about the art of argumentation, refutation skills, debate ethics, and public speaking strategies. Dareen focused on the concept of debate as a building block or tool for participants to express their opinions and discuss them with others in a productive and thoughtful manner. Then, the alumni exchanged personal stories and discussed methods for nurturing oneself in a session on avoiding burnout and practicing self-care. They shared times when they felt burnt out and coping mechanisms that had helped them.
Finally, the alumni participated in an interactive debate focused on the causes of mental illness for Palestinians. The participants had one hour to conduct research and prepare for the debate. They were divided into two teams, which each speaker allotted five minutes to deliver their arguments. Dareen moderated the debate and gave feedback to the participants. At the end of the debate, the participants voted for the winning team.
Dareen Alhajaref (YES 2018-2019, West Bank, placed by AFS-USA in Independence, MO)