UAE students to compete in World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships

Members of the team from the UAE competing at the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships in Canberra, Australia, from April 14 to 20, 2024.

Dubai: A team of students in the UAE are heading to Canberra, Australia for the World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships (WIDPSC) from April 14 to 20.

Ved Kedia of Jumeirah College, who is shortlisted to represent the UAE, is excited to hit the global limelight.

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“The competition allows me to present my debate and public speaking skills as part of Team UAE on the global stage. It feels surreal as I am getting on global stage for the first time. The goal is to return to the UAE with valuable connections within the public speaking community, a cross-cultural understanding of unique styles and approaches to rhetoric, and hopefully a trophy,” Ved said.

For WIDPSC, participants have to prepare for four categories – Persuasive Speaking, Interpretive Reading, Debate and Impromptu Speaking.

“All the participating members have been meeting regularly for several weeks to bounce ideas off each other, discuss strategy and practice the required skills under the guidance of our coach, Sumana Chatterjee… [who has] also organised sessions with previous participants and winners, which were very insightful.”

Ready for the global stage (from left): Vanya Kaul – Jumeirah College, Aryaa Gupta – Hartland International School, Aryan Kundra – Coach from GEMS Modern Academy, Sumana Chatterjee – Coach and Mentor of the national team, Nikhil Gopakumar – GEMS Modern Academy, Aadesh Yadgouda – GEMS Modern Academy, and Ved Kedia – Jumeirah College.

The art of persuasion

Nikhil Gopakumar of GEMS Modern Academy said he has worked on the art of persuasion.

“It’s all about ethos and pathos. These are key to persuading anybody, be it a judge in a competition or your friend when deciding what pizza to order. I focus on appealing to emotions and add in statistics and logical arguments in my efforts to appeal and persuade. Persuasion is essential in today’s competitive world, because at any given moment, you never know who you might need on your side.”

Aarya Gupta of Hartland International School said: ”My coaches are training me according to all the necessary requirements for WIDPSC and are helping me to achieve many of the highest points in my journey.”



Vanya Kaul of Jumeirah College said all participants have been prepped by their coach and mentor Sumana Chatterjee. “We are being guided by our coaches who have been sharing ideas and strategies which have been incredibly valuable. I have also been reading texts and listening to previous speakers. This has taught me that there is no substitute for practice,” Vanya added.

Aadesh Yadgouda of GEMS Modern Academy said: “I see the global championship as a great learning curve for me. Beside, the friendship and camaraderie we have experienced is commendable and I sincerely hope that we will learn to move out of our comfort zones and make meaningful relationships during the championship too.”


Chatterjee, an international award-winning public speaking coach, who is also the Director of Communications in GEMS Modern Academy, has trained the students for their big day. Together with her student Aryan Kundra, who is the captain of the debating team, the two envisioned UAE’s participation in the world championship.

“It’s a highly sought after international tournament as it provides great exposure to public speakers and debaters. We have been trying to get in for the last couple of years and we are thrilled it happened this year,” said Chatterjee.


“UAE is a hub of talent and participating in this competition will help students to transcend boundaries, challenge norms and make their voice heard in a global community. It will also foster cultural understanding and shape students to lead a more progressive and inclusive world in the future.”

Aryan said: “Personally, I have gained immense value from coaching. While preparing for training, I found myself delving into concepts I previously assumed I knew well. I have identified gaps that I would not have otherwise noticed. There is a wealth of knowledge to be gained from everyone in this setup.”