AIT’s international graduate students won top honors on 20 March 2014 against the team from Kasetsart University by debating as the negative team on the proposition: “That climate change means we should spend more money on protecting forests.”

The competition was organized by FAO at its headquarters to mark the International Day of Forests.

Team AIT included Master’s students Ms. Katika Punbuatoom from Thailand, and Ms. Sumitra KC and Pradeep Baral from Nepal. All three are students in the Natural Resources Management (NRM) field of study at the AIT School of Environment, Resources and Development. Ms. Sumitra KC was also awarded “Best Speaker” at the debate.

Judges for the competition were Mr. Hiroyuki Konuma, Assistant Director-General, Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, FAO, Ms. Caroline Liou, Communication Manager, RECOFTC, Ms Keiko Nomura, UN-REDD Programme Officer, UNEP, and Mr. Patrick Durst, Senior Forestry Officer, FAO.

The AIT team was mentored by Mr. Sam Chanty and Mr. Rehan Ul Haq. Both are NRM doctoral students and were members of last year’s championship team.

NRM faculty members Dr. Rajendra P. Shrestha and Dr. Damien Jourdain also assisted the team’s preparation sessions. Team members cited the pair’s case study examples and technical guidance, as a key to their success.

Team AIT also won first place at the inaugural forestry debate in 2014 organized by FAO.