Histories and Achievements

Histories and Achievements

IIUM focuses on producing balanced graduates and comprehensive excellence for students, and excellence in students’ co-curricular is integral to this vision. IWON has been entrusted to promote debating, public speaking, critical thinking, language and communication skills among IIUM students. These skills are an integral part of the Malaysian Higher Education Blueprint (MEB) 2015-2025 as MEB identifies leadership skills, language proficiency, thinking skill and knowledge among the six required attributes of students in higher education under Shift #1 ‘Holistic, Entrepreneurial & Balanced Students’, while critical thinking is one of the criteria of Graduate Employability (GE). The Centre is also entrusted with greater scope of work to improve the position of IIUM as a debate powerhouse both at national and international level, as debate has been widely recognized as a niche for IIUM. Over the years, by excelling in these areas locally and internationally, IIUM has created a brand name for itself in debate and public speaking with IIUM World Debate and Oratory Centre (IWON) championing the cause of students’ development in these areas.



  • 1985: IIUM students took up debating as a co-curricular activity
  • 1991: IIUM formally established English and Malay Debating Clubs
  • 1996: IIUM established Speech and Interpersonal Communication Enhancement (SPICE), a unit under the purview of Student Affairs and Development Division (STADD)
  • 2000: SPICE received the status of a department
  • 2003: SPICE Unit was established at IIUM Centre for Foundation Studies
  • 2004: Arabic debate and oratory was introduced to IIUM
  • 2013: SPICE was upgraded into a Centre and renamed as IIUM World Debate and Oratory Centre (IWON), under the direct purview of the Deputy Rector (Student Affairs)
  • 2014: IIUM Toastmasters Club and IIUM Model United Nations  were established under IWON



IWON aims to be an International Center of Excellence in debate and public speaking committed to upholding the tradition and culture of life-long reading, knowledge seeking and intellectual discourse.



To become a centre of oratory. Aims at being the leading center of oratory excellence offering consultancy in the following areas of specialization :-

1) Talent development

2) Training Programs

3) Debate and public speaking management.

4) Speech construction and speech delivery

To advocate open debate and critical discourse

Aims to promote the culture of healthy disagreement , freedom of expression and exchange of idea through abut not limited to public debates, oratory competitions and intellectual discourse.


IIUM World Debate and Oratory Centre (IWON) provides variety of services offered to students, stakeholders, and external individuals/agencies/institutions. IWON ensures that IIUM students participate in competitive events in debate, public speaking, Model UN and toastmaster and perform up to international standards. To achieve this, IWON conducts weekly and intensive training for those who enter competitive events as well as organises internal competitions among IIUM students. IWON also conducts training that is open to general IIUM student masses to improve their communication skills

IWON is equally involved in improving the standard of debates in Malaysia. Towards this aim, IWON organises training for school, colleges and universities and debate tournaments that are open to all level. IWON also organises public debate on policies involving policy makers, NGOs, academics and youths which is inspired by Oxford Union but with IIUM’s own unique brand as an Islamic university, thus making IIUM the first public university in Malaysia to have such program. IIUM has also been instrumental in the establishment of Majlis Debat Universiti Universiti Malaysia (MADUM) and has been its longest-serving Secretariat. IWON shares its expertise in all this area with a view to improve the debating standard in Malaysia and the region. Any undergraduate or postgraduate student in IIUM can greatly benefit from the presence of a very vibrant and ambitious oratory community in IIUM that IWON has helped spearheaded


Major Achievements of IIUM Students in Debate and Public Speaking

  • Champion, World Public Speaking Championship 2004
  • Champion (ESL Category), World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2007
  • World Top Ten Team at WUDC 2015
  • Asian BP Champion 2016, 2018
  • Australasian Champion 2016
  • Cambridge IV Champion 2016
  • International University Arabic Debate (Qatar), Runner-up 2017 Malaysian Champion (Malay, English and Arabic categories) at Royal Intervarsity Debating Championships (Pertandingan Debat Diraja)

IIUM World Debate and Oratory Centre (IWON) ensures that IIUM is the leading debate powerhouse in the region. IIUM debate teams have been outstanding in English, Malay and Arabic language debate competitions.  IIUM English debating team has received many international accolades in the recent years. IIUM is currently ranked 12th in the World Debate Cumulative Ranking Table as of 2014, which ranks world varsity debate teams’ cumulative achievements for the preceding 5 years. IIUM debate team was the first Asian team to become the Overall Champion of the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championship in 2016 in the 43 years history of the competition. They have also topped Asian circuit by becoming the winner of the United Asian Debating Championship in 2016 and wining the Asian British Parliamentary (ABP) Debating Championship twice - the Jakarta ABP in 2016 and the Hanoi ABP in 2018, with IIUM debaters winning the award of the Best Speaker of Asia several times, including in 2018. IIUM have also won the prestigious Cambridge Intervarsity Debating Competition in 2016, defeeating the best teams of the World and an IIUM debater was awarded the Overall Best Speaker for Cambridge IV. In the past, IIUM has been World Champion of Public Speaking and World Champion of Debate (ESL Category) at the World Universities Debating Championship. Locally, IIUM has also won the Malaysia Debate Open for two years in a row (2016-2017), besides continuing the legacy of winning the prestigious Royal Intervarsity Debating Championship by becoming the Grand Finalist in 2017 and the Champion of the 2018’s edition. They have also won the Malaysian National Public Speaking Competition (MNPSC) 2018 and the English Category of Pertandingan Pidato ASEAN 2018

The IIUM Malay language debating and public speaking team has also done extremely well in the Malay debating scene. It won the Environmental Debate Competition (Debat Alam Sekitar) three years in a row and emerged as the Champion of the Pertandingan Debat Terbuka Ilmu Khas (DeTIK) in 2017 and 2018. In the 5 years since DeTik has been introduced, IIUM has won 4 out of the 5 championships. In 2018, the IIUM Malay debate teams dominated the Pertandingan Debat Terbuka Astar when the two teams sent became the Champion of the junior and the senior categories. IIUM have also won the MCMC Debating Championship in 2018. IIUM Malay debaters were also selected to represent Malaysia in the Pertandingan Debat Siswa 2016 and 2018 which was organized by Radio Televisyen Malaysia and Radio Televisyen Brunei. IIUM Malay debaters have also become champion of the prestigious Pidato Antarabangsa Bahasa Melayu (PABM) several times, including in 2018. They have become the Champions of several other public speaking competitions such as Pertandingan Pidato Kewangan (2017), Pertandingan Pidato 1 Malaysia Peringkat Negeri Selangor (2017), Pidato Legasi Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (2017), Pertandingan Pidato ASEAN (2018) and Pidato Piala Menteri Pendidikan (2018).

The IIUM Arabic debating team achieved an amazing feat in 2017 when they reached the Grand Final of the Open Category at the International Universities Arabic Debating Championship at Doha, Qatar making them the first non-native speakers’ team to ever do so. They also became the Champion of the IIUM International Arabic Debate Open in 2017 and the Grand Finalist of the 2018’s edition. They have also received many other recognition in debate, public speaking, Qur’anic memorization, recitation and tajwid at local and international competitions. IIUM has also received numerous awards in local and international Model United Nations (MUN) Conferences. The IIUM MUN members were awarded the Best Delegation at the Champions Cup, Nottingham MUN Conference 2017 and BAC MUN Conference 2018. They also participated in International MUN Conference such as the Singapore MUN 2018 where an IIUM MUN member received the Honorable Mention Award. IIUM Hult Prize Team also achieved an amazing feat in the prestigious Hult Prize Competition in 2018. After being regional champion and competing against 42 teams in the UK, IIUM team was shortlisted as the Top 6 in the world and competed in the Grand Final in United Nation’s Headquarter in New York, together with University of Oxford and University College London (UCL), among others. IIUM also made history in 2018 by being the first university in Malaysia to launch the IIUM Public Debate Series, where members of the public are invited into the campus to witness debates between public figures on important national issues and policies. The inaugural debate in September 2018 saw the participation of the Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Syed Saddiq who is an IIUM debate alumnus, debating on the issue of the Anti Fake News Act. The debate was attended by 3000 people and was LIVE televised on Astro Awani with 215,000 live-viewers reported. The Series continues in 2019 in collaboration with KBS and Astro Awani and has hosted debates on wide-ranging areas, from banning child marriages to the role of GLCs as drivers of Malaysia’s economic growth, and will ensure that IIUM spearheads the vision of the Minister of Education, YB Dr Maszlee Malik, in making public universities an open space for free intellectual discourses to take place.


IWON’s resources include a passionate and efficient management and administration team, dedicated support group and a credible team of trainers for debate and oratory in all languages, as well as organising capabilities which include the members of the students’ clubs under IWON.