Panthers of ISKL #135: Farah Nadhirah Chairil Anwar (‘15)

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POISKL 2022-2023 - Farah Anwar

– The SEA Forensics Tournament Director

“From my perspective as a Tournament Director, in its essence, SEA Forensics and Debate is a competition, and yet there is so much more to its spirit than just competitiveness – it celebrates camaraderie, community, and skills.”

Alumni student Farah Nadhirah Chairil Anwar (’15) was the Tournament Director for the 43rd South East Asia (SEA) Forensics & Debate at ISKL from 9 – 11 February. She is pursuing her Masters in Teaching and Learning while freelancing as an editor of poetry collections and novels.

Here is Nadhirah’s story:


Farah during the SEA ForensicsDo tell us more about yourself.

I’m Malaysian, and like many ISKL alumni and students, I grew up moving around. In addition to Malaysia, I’ve lived in the US, Nigeria, and the UK. I studied at ISKL from 2013 to 2015.

Please tell us more about your position as the SEA Forensics Tournament Director for 2023.

I got involved towards the end of last year. As a part of my Master in Teaching and Learning program, I was doing my practicum at ISKL’s High School English department, and there was a meeting about the upcoming SEA Forensics and Debate. The school needed someone to step up as Tournament Director, and I volunteered. I wanted to ensure that the tournament went through because I remembered how important it was to me as a debater and knew that the students would benefit similarly.

As I saw it, it was an opportunity to support students in their growth, and as a pre-service teacher, I jumped at every chance to do just that.

How do you think SEA Forensics has progressed over the years?

I only did SEA for one year as a participant, so I only remember a little from it. But something new I learned about SEA from the Tournament Director’s perspective is that though in its essence it is a competition, there is so much more to its spirit than just competitiveness.

Like I said in my welcoming speech, SEA celebrates camaraderie, community, and skills. The tournament has stayed the same since I took part nine years ago. However, my understanding and experience of it have changed.

Tell us about this year’s SEA Forensics. What did you enjoy the most?

Though there is always room for improvement, I was content with how my first SEA as an organizer went. The participants enjoyed and grew from the experience, and everyone was gracious and respectful.

I especially enjoyed the closing ceremony. The emotions expressed by medalists when they were announced as winners showed just how much the experience meant to them.

Tell us more about your experiences as a SEA Forensics student.

I remember being very nervous. It was my first debate competition, and I had no idea what to expect. I wanted to do well, to make my team and coach proud.

One memory that sticks out is my friend doing breathing exercises with me before one of the debates.

Another is that of a friend being late to our pre-tournament breakfast (at the McDonald’s across the street from the old campus) because one of the buttons on his three-piece suit had popped off that morning, and he had to get it fixed!

Farah's graduation dayWhat have you been up to since graduating from ISKL?

Since graduating from ISKL, I’ve completed an undergraduate degree in English with Creative Writing, coached Malaysia’s national Quidditch team to their World Cup debut (seriously), worked as an editor and content writer, and had a couple of poems published. I also judged a pun competition once, and it was just as hilarious and terrible as you’d imagine it to be!

Currently, I’m doing a Masters in Teaching and Learning while freelancing as an editor of poetry collections and novels.

Can you tell us more about your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy editing, writing, and reading – I’m a big fan of words! It fascinates me how there are infinite combinations of letters and that these letter combinations can do and communicate so much.

I also enjoy mixed martial arts. My mom always said I’d thank her one day for forcing me to do karate until I got a black belt when I was a kid, so I suppose that’s another thing she was right about!

Who or what inspires you?

The good in those around me. Whenever I witness someone doing something kind, generous, or selfless, I feel inspired to be a force for good.

What does ISKL’s vision statement, ‘Know yourself, care for all and create a better world,’ mean to you?

ISKL’s vision statement encourages people to have a sense of self-awareness and to be deeply compassionate citizens of the world.


Do you know of any student, teacher, parent, or staff who always have an anecdote to tell, love to share some insights into their passions and interest, or simply is a Panther through and through? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

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