Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Pakistan: Feb/Mar ‘10

Student says IWPR Open Minds training contributed to his triumph in regional debating competition.
  • Sarwaruddin receiving first prize in the debating competition. (Photo: Chitral Times)
    Sarwaruddin receiving first prize in the debating competition. (Photo: Chitral Times)

A participant in IWPR’s school journalism project in Pakistan has been crowned the debating champion of North West Frontier Province, NWFP.

Sawruddin, 16, a student at the Reshun government high school in NWFP’s northern region of Chitral, won the title on January 9. The competition was held in Abbotabad, one of the province’s largest towns.

The topic of the debate held at Abbotabad was national solidarity and security. Sawruddin told IWPR that the skills he picked up in journalism and current affairs discussion training organised by the Institute’s Open Minds project helped him to win the prize.

“Our minds were really opened by the Open Minds Pakistan training programme,” he said. “I highly appreciate my media trainer Yousaf Shahzad and my teacher Ahman Wali Durani for their guidance. This training has exposed the hidden potentials of students.”

Durani said that the school staff had selected Sawruddin for the competition based on his performance in classes and in IWPR training sessions. Durani added that the school had expected him to win the competition.

Another student from the same class, Adbul Jalil, interviewed Sawruddin for IWPR about his experience, as part of the project’s media training.

Sawruddin told Abdul that he had won the competition through a lot of hard work. “A student who does not waste his time and respects his parents and teachers can do well for himself,” he said.

Residents of Reshun were delighted with his achievement, according to media trainer Yousaf Shazad. The event, he said, prompted locals  to encourage other students to take part in IWPR’s school discussion sessions and express their views in national forums.

The victory was reported in two local newspapers, the Chitral News and the Chitral Times.

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