Debate Unravels Hidden Potentials-CDA Executive Director
The Executive Director of the Cameroon Debate Association (CDA), Marius Binyou-Bi-Homb has described the art of debating as an instrument through which Cameroonian youths could realize their hidden potentials. He nonetheless expressed regret that although debating is one of the most appropriate mechanisms for youths to make their voice heard, this exercised has been undermined in Cameroon.
He remarked recently during the opening ceremony of a week-long workshop on Debating and Public speaking which took place in the Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC) in Bamenda from July 21 to 27 .During this workshop which culminated into a national championship, trainers from the USA, Canada, Cameroon and about 150 students from Universities in the country had converged to share and learn best practices on Public expression.
Binyou Bi-Homb called on youths to debate more often as it is key to curbing violence. It is in this light, he said that the CDA has undertaken the challenge to promote debate in Cameroon since 2009.
Equally in attendance, the Vice Chancellor of the Catholic University of Cameroon (CATUC) in Bamenda, Michael Suh Niba further noted that no genuine debate can be said to exist without the truth in society.
Noting that debate is essential in all democratic countries, he stated: “It is an activity which cuts across intellectual life and engulfs civil life.”He called on the students present to seize this opportunity to improve on their skills and make themselves better persons in society.
During the closing ceremony, the President of the CACTUC, Goerge Muluh expressed hope that the knowledge received would go a long way to broaden the students minds on communication, make them more tolerant and structure the way they answer questions in class.
Leading the delegation of trainers from USA and Canada, Professor Alfred Charles Snider remarked that “there is a rising voice coming up in Africa. It is one of reason but also one of love.”He then told the students that they now have the serious obligation to speak up for solutions to problems and not for revenge.
Mariel Golden, a trainer from USA told the CDA she had experienced a cultural shock during the week. She said:“Cameroonians have very strong views against Homosexuality. For me it was hard to deal with that”
For Patricia Johnson Carson, a trainer and female rights activist from Canada, she was most struck by how colonial feelings are still entrenched in the minds of the Cameroonian youth. She noted that during debate exercises, most Cameroonians expressed the need to go abroad on grounds that they are less civilized than other countries. This is wrong, she said for “being African is being beautiful and any African is just as worthy as someone born in North America”
Professor Newby, an African American trainer from the USA said he came to realized that despite our many differences, we got a lot in common. He then said: “We should not be divided by nation, by culture or by religion because I believe that we are stronger together.”
The six-day workshop, characterized by theoretical and practical lessons on debate based on the internationally accredited British Parliamentary format was climaxed by the award of attestations and prizes to meritorious students.
By Franca Sulem Yong