What is The Munathara Initiative?

Munathara is an Arabic language debate initiative combining online video debates and live panel events. For more information, please see our “About” section.

What is Munathara’s political position?

Munathara has no political position. We are a non-partisan, independent initiative committed only to fostering peaceful debates driven by Arab youth.

Who finances The Munathara Initiative?

Munathara accepts donations from individuals, organizations or businesses that are committed to supporting the emerging free, uncensored public discourse in the Arab region. Further, all donors must agree to our “Donor Rules”.

When was The Munathara Initiative founded?

The Munathara Initiative was founded in May 2012 in Tunis.

What is the connection between Munathara and Dubai Debates?

Dubai Debates is Munathara’s predecessor organization. It was founded in January 2011 as the first independent public debating forum of the Arab world. It was suspended in the spring of 2012 as part of the UAE’s crackdown on NGOs. Munathara was then founded in Tunis to replace Dubai Debates.

What is an “opinion leader”?

Opinion leaders are active contributors to public discourse whose opinions are viewed in high regard and shared by a significant number people. Opinion leaders are generally chosen by the mass media for us. On the Munathara platform, however, opinion leaders are established based on your vote: anyone can become an opinion leader.

Why 99 seconds?

In order to make contributions comparable, and to keep them focused, it is important to set a maximum limit to the length of user videos. 99 seconds, i.e. one minute and 39 seconds, has proven to be a reasonable time limit for debaters to make a strong argument.

Can I submit my video in a language other than Arabic?

At this stage, we only accept submissions in Arabic language.

Who can submit videos?

Anyone can submit a video to Munathara, as long as contributions are in Arabic and respect our rules for video submissions.

I am not Arab. Can I take part in Munathara?

Yes, as long as your contribution is in Arabic.

What are some quick DOs and DONTs

DOs:

  • Be open and honest – the best opinions come from what you truly believe.
  • Have daring, new, and innovative ideas to inspire others.
  • Be energetic and connect with your audience: the people watching your video.
  • Present your ideas clearly and in your dialect while trying to avoid English or French vocabulary.

DONTs:

  • Read from a piece of paper. You want to connect with your audience, so make eye contact.
  • Censor yourself – your opinions matter.
  • Be hateful towards others. This is a free and open forum, where everyone can express her or his opinions.
  • Incite violence of any kind. Munathara will remove videos that call others to take any sort of violent action.

What are the Rules for Donors

When it comes to supporting The Munathara Initiative financially, we have a golden rule: that donors not interfere with the opinions and content posted on this site, nor with the topics and motions for our offline debates. It is critical that Munathara remain a free, fair, and open site where all participants can express their opinions in a respectful way. In order to support that environment, Munathara will never limit the free speech of its participants at the request of a donor, participant, government or other official. Any donor, investor, or partner who will agree to not interfere with the integrity of the free and open sphere on Munathara.com is welcome to fund the initiative. We do not discriminate based on country of origin, government type, race, ethnicity, gender, religion or any other basis. We only ask that everyone subscribe to our vision of an independent, free space for debate.

What are some Tips for creating my Videos?

THE 99-SECOND LIMIT - Some of you may ask: Is 99 seconds enough? Yes! 1 minute and 39 seconds is more than enough to make a great argument and lay out some of your own ideas. Experience shows that on average, a debater will say about 200-250 words during this period of time, depending on your style and speed. By limiting the length, we make the challenge the same for all participants and consumption of your videos easier for more people. It’s important for videos to be comparable because we will be choosing winners during the voting period based on these parameters.

LANGUAGE - If possible, please try to speak in your own Arabic dialect. Remember this is not a language competition or some academic forum; it’s a debate contest discussing things of concern to all Arabs. We will accept contributions in Standard Arabic but we encourage you to speak in your dialect, regardless which Arab country you are from. In debates geared towards all Arab countries, we ask that you avoid using French or English vocabulary where possible.

FILMING - As long as you can be seen and your voice clearly heard, the quality of the video doesn’t matter. This isn’t about who has the fanciest camera; it’s about the best arguments. So, don’t worry about lighting, make-up or anything of the sort; focus on what you’re going to say. To improve sound quality, however, we strongly recommend that you use a headset/microphone. We also recommend using a white wall as a background.

STARTING YOUR VIDEO - At the beginning of your contribution, you don’t need to state your name as this will all be done through inlays after editing at a later stage. Also, there’s no need to thank anyone for your chance to be part of this – just go straight to the argument. Start by summarizing the main argument of your contribution. Be creative, there are many ways you could do it.

YOUR ARGUMENT - Then, in the rest of your debate contribution, try to corroborate what you said at the beginning. Try to be argumentative – you know what the sticking points are. Try to focus on a limited number of arguments. Give examples. Most importantly: Be bold in declaring your own vision.

CONCLUSION - To conclude your argument, use the last few seconds of your video to come back to the main point you are making. Reiterate, in a sentence or two, what your contribution was really about, maybe using different words than you did in the beginning. This is important because those watching your video will remember the final words. Don’t worry if the first time is not perfect, you can always retry!