No Debate About It: Recent Graduate Impresses the World

Brooklyn, N.Y.—Recent graduate Yusuf Anwar ’12 has won fourth place and $1,500 in an international debate competition. The Global Debate & Public Policy Challenge was held earlier this summer in Budapest. Anwar received an all-expense-paid trip to the Hungarian capital, where he stayed for 10 days.

“It’s a really beautiful city,” says Anwar, who majored in economics and was a member of the Coordinated B.A.-M.D. Program and Macaulay Honors College.

As a member of the B.A.-M.D. Program, Anwar had a guaranteed spot awaiting him in medical school — a benefit of the program that he says freed him up to try things he probably would not have otherwise, such as the college’s student-run debate team.

“I’m really glad I participated on the team,” he says. “The skills I gained give me a lot more confidence. If I ever have to present at a conference, I know I can do it. It helps even in my everyday interactions with people.”

Anwar found out about the Budapest competition, which was sponsored by the International Debate Education Association, from connections made when he was on the college’s debate team. He participated in several rounds of competition where he submitted essays online before he won a chance to fly to Budapest and compete against students from around the world. Anwar was among 23 finalists from 11 countries. The topic he debated was liberty versus security, and he argued that society should lean in the direction of protecting basic liberties.

He will use his $1,500 winnings to help defray the costs of medical school. Anwar starts at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center in the fall.