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UBC Reports | Vol. 51 | No. 2 | Feb. 3, 2005

Law Student King of Public Speaking

By Brian Lin

He’s young, Muslim, and has no problem talking about it in front of 1,000 people.

That’s probably why Rahim Moloo won the 2005 World Public Speaking Championship, which took place over the Christmas holidays in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

A veteran of public speaking and debate competitions, Moloo, a third-year UBC law student, wowed an international crowd of 1,000 attendees -- and the judges -- with humour and wit during the final round of the tournament, as he poked fun at stereotypes and prejudices faced by Muslims in North America.

“I told them that since 9/11, my dream of becoming a pilot has been crushed -- along with those of becoming an air hostess,” joked Moloo, who also has two national debating championship wins under his belt.

Moloo began defying the keener stereotype in ninth grade, when he found the excitement building up to tournaments intoxicating. “It’s ironic that both the positive and negative stereotypes of debaters and public speakers are literally the same thing: smart and keen,” says Moloo.

“There is great diversity in the field. Last year’s top oralist in the debating competition was a medical student, and the World Public Speaking Champion two years ago was a computer science student.”

So how does one come up with the courage and poise to inform, enlighten and entertain in front of a group of strangers? Moloo says practice builds confidence, but believing in what you’re talking about makes a world of difference.

“When you know your topic and feel passionate about it, it comes through very evidently in your speech,” says Moloo. “That’s what moves people.”

Another triumph was UBC’s successful bid to host the World Debating Championships in 2007, beating out the University of London and the University of Sydney.

The competition is expected to bring more than 1,000 students from around the world in 10 days of intense intellectual deliberation. This will be the first time the championship comes to western North America.

For more information on the UBC Debating Society, visit www.ubcdebate.com.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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