When I came to Japan in spring 2022 as a research student at Tokyo Tech, I was wondering about the order of extracurricular activities and additional academic programs I could participate in when becoming a regular student. Many of you may have similar questions! Don’t worry, in this blog, I will tell you about a debate session in the ToTAL (Tokyo Tech Academy for Leadership) program where you can fully engage in dynamic discussions, meet new students, and expand your academic network!

In fall 2022, I began my master’s degree in GEDES (Global Engineering for Development Environment and Society). Later, I joined the ToTAL program to enhance my communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills, as well as to expand my network.
My primary goal was to participate in workshops that would enhance my leadership abilities. However, in spring 2023, I took the opportunity to join the debate session in the ToTAL program, with the aim of improving my communication skills and building connections with fellow students.

At first glance, debating may appear to be a formidable challenge, given its requirement for advanced communication and analytical skills. However, what I soon uncovered was the concealed value inherent in this pursuit. This class is led by Marcello Gecchele, a ToTAL and PhD student in the School of Computing, who introduced the concept after recognizing the lack of spaces for discussing social issues and improving communication skills.

Throughout these debate sessions, I acquired not only an understanding of the structure of debates but also invaluable skills in articulating my thoughts with clarity and coherence. Joining the debate session was motivated not solely by the desire to participate in discussions or arguments but also by the recognition that it serves as a gateway to nurturing self-confidence — a fundamental attribute needed for future leaders and professionals.

Photo 1: Me, participating as debater in the Opposition team in spring 2023

My enriching experiences as a debater inspired me to make a more significant contribution to the debate session and ensure its flourishing at Tokyo Tech. With this purpose in mind, I made the decision to join the debate team in the fall of 2023. As the semester commenced, filled with the usual enthusiasm and delight, the debate team, including myself, embarked on an exciting journey. We inaugurated the season with a special event: inviting Tokyo Tech alumni to engage in a debate at Mishima Hall on October 7, from 14:00 to 16:00, at Ookayama Campus.

The objective of this session was to offer new students an in-depth understanding of debate structures and an opportunity to connect with Tokyo Tech alumni. The topic of the debate centered around the question, “Should AI Replace Human Decision-Making in Law and International Politics?” Four debaters participated in the session, dividing into two teams: the Proposition team, which presented compelling facts in favor of AI’s role in decision-making, and the Opposition team, which provided relevant facts opposing the idea. The room was charged with intensity as a diverse array of ideas collided and disagreements surfaced, all while maintaining a spirit of mutual respect.

Photo 2: Tokyo Tech and ToTAL alumni debaters

Participating as a debater or assistant in these sessions constitutes a powerful means of bolstering self-confidence, an essential quality for both researchers and professionals. As we look ahead, more sessions are on the horizon, and we wholeheartedly encourage all students to attend. The debate topics are chosen by students who are eager to engage in meaningful discussions with their peers. It’s not just about gaining knowledge from one another; it’s also a way to embark on a journey of self-discovery while enjoying the process and honing your communication skills.

The ToTAL Debate Session has transformed into a platform where ideas are exchanged, challenged, and celebrated. It serves as an opportunity for students to expand not only in their academic and professional lives but also as individuals. As a member of the organizing team, I eagerly anticipate your participation in our forthcoming sessions. I am excited to witness the dynamic discussions and personal growth they will undoubtedly foster.

For further information see the hyperlink or click on the image below to learn more about the Debate Club and its upcoming activities.