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University students debate universal healthcare at the United Nations Day Student Debate Tournament

Universal healthcare, youth health habits, model state health policy and healthcare taxation were all topics debated by students from six university at the United Nations Day Student Debate Tournament hosted at the International University for Humanities and Development. The Tournament was organized by UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund jointly with all United Nations agencies on the occasion of the upcoming United Nations Day.


It has become a tradition to organize the Student Debates within the UN Day celebration activities.  This year, for the first time, the students got familiar with the academic debates, with focus on Parliamentary debate.  Twenty-four students and their teachers received an intensive debates training before the actual Tournament conducted by UNFPA international consultants Ms. Shirin Abidova and Ms. Aziza Umarova. 


“Academic debates helps to develop essential critical thinking skills and enables a constructive discussion of important issues, whether scientific, historical, religious or political,” said Ms. Elena Panova, United Nations Resident Coordinator at her opening statement.  “Today’s generation of young people is absolutely massive: 1.8 billion young people.  All of you, young people, will largely drive and live with the outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The topic of the Student Debate Tournament Finals is free healthcare for all, and it is devoted to the main principle of the Global Goals – no one should be left behind.”

The Tournament commenced in the morning with twelve teams composed of two students competing for the winning place.  The students masterfully presented thought-provoking and compelling arguments for both sides of the same issue, demonstrating analytical and persuasion skills. 


Two teams from the International University for Humanities and Development and Institute of International Relations of the MFA of Turkmenistan have reached the Finals with the adjudicating team consisting of the United Nations Resident Coordinator, as well as heads of deputy heads of the United Nations agencies. 

The team of the International University won the revolving Student Debate Cup. 


Despite the intense battle for the winning place between the student teams, the Student Debate Tournament left the participants with the collegial feeling.  The debates training and the Tournament sparked an interest in students and teachers of the universities in opening academic debates clubs at their schools. 


For additional information, please contact

Bayramgul Garabayeva, UNFPA Assistant Representative


Ene Tuyliyeva, Advocacy Communication Associate


Tel: 488325