Youssef Kaabi, an international student at Black Hills State University from Tunisia, placed in the national debate tournament in Shreveport, La., this spring, continuing a five-year streak of BHSU national debate success.
Kaabi says it took only seconds for the team captain to convince him to join the Debate Club at BHSU during the campus Organization Fair last fall.
“The Debate program at BHSU is amazing and our coach Dr. Ryan Clark is a mentor,” said Kaabi.
Kaabi had participated in debate events back home in Tunisia. But he says it was not as organized as college debate in the U.S. It took Kaabi some time to get accustomed to the debate style in America, but once he did, he found great success in competition.
“Mr. Kaabi was a valuable addition to the BHSU squad in the 2018-19 season,” said Dr. Ryan Clark, associate professor of communication studies. “By breaking to final rounds at the 2019 IPDA
National Tournament in Shreveport, La., he kept alive a five-year streak of BHSU being represented in final elimination rounds at national forensics tournaments.”
Clark said BHSU Speech & Debate was elevated internationally this year by traveling to the United Kingdom for two tournaments and by the inclusion of Kaabi as an international student on the squad.
Topics of this season’s debate competitions varied from philosophical to abstract to political.
The BHSU Debate had another successful season and the addition of Kaabi to the team brought additional wins. Along with Kaabi’s success at nationals, team captain Megan Wattenhofer of Rapid City placed along with Kaabi as a team in the quarterfinal round of the state debate tournament.
“It was my pleasure to represent BHSU in state and national competition,” said Kaabi. “I am extremely happy I did well in this year’s season and I hope the team continues to bring back trophies in the years to come.”
Kaabi was enrolled at BHSU for one academic year through a Department of State Partnership with the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX). The program promotes a better understanding of the U.S. abroad, particularly among future world leaders, by facilitating study at a U.S. college or university for talented, highly motivated undergraduate students.