The Once In A Lifetime Debate

By Chaitra Somasundar, Staff Writer

The “Once in a Lifetime Debate” took place for the second time on Thursday, April 21st at the Thunderbird Pub. T-Birds enthusiastically cheered on and engaged in this exciting and fun atmosphere as Faduma-Dhool Mohamed (MAGAM ’17, Kenya) and Yuya Ota (MBA ’16, Japan), dressed in their rich cultural attires, prepared to face-off on 21 different topics related to different countries. Each of these questions was asked by fellow T-Birds belonging to these diverse backgrounds.

Once in a Lifetime Debate Flyer
Once in a Lifetime Debate Flyer

“The idea is to gather at least two weeks prior to our last day as students” said Jorge Cespedes Flores (MBA Candidate ’16) who organized the event.  Yuya and Faduma were chosen for this event because Yuya being a part of the Class of 2016 and Faduma being a part of the Class of 2017 brought in more camaraderie between both of these classes. This kind of connection between classes is essential in maintaining the much reputed T-Bird network. In addition to deciding a venue, setting the rules of the debate and promoting the event, Jorge had to coordinate setting up a screen, a projector, and a video camera since this was the first time the event had a live stream link for T-Birds and alumni who were unable to attend. As Chandra Mouli Koduri (MBA ’16, India) said “this has paved a way to experience #tbirdlife from any part of the globe!”

When asked about his experience participating in the debate, Yuya said, “I really enjoyed the atmosphere, thanks to the audience and Jorge. I never expected to have that many people come for the event. I felt really supported. I’m also thankful to Faduma, who kindly listened to some can-be-offensive topics and was supportive and open-minded.“ He also exclaimed enthusiastically that Jorge uploaded flyers everywhere with Yuya’s picture on them, so even his dad who doesn’t know English knew something was to going happen on Thursday night!

T-Birda at the Pub for "Once in a Lifetime Debate" (photo courtesy of Yuya Ota)
T-Birds at the Pub for “Once in a Lifetime Debate” (photo courtesy of Yuya Ota)

“It was truly a once in a lifetime moment. I didn’t know what to expect from participating in the debate, but I enjoyed the uncertainty of it and it was fun having an opponent as eccentric and unpredictable as Yuya Ota. Jorge was truly an amazing host and I am glad he included me in this memorable event!” said Faduma about her experience.

Nash Wills (MAGAM ’17, US) and Lauren Herber (MAGAM ’17, US) have taken up the responsibility to organize this event for the next year. We look forward to having this rich multicultural experience in the future, and as Yuya rightly described, “It is wonderful how students here can accept and understand a variety of thoughts… In other words, I realized what having a global mindset means even during my last days of being at Thunderbird.”

For more details about this unique event check out Das Tor article about the Origin Story.