ESU Public Speaking Competition

The National Finals of the Public Speaking Competition took place on the morning of 14th March, 2015, in the splendid setting of the Salons de la Présidence du Conseil Général in Angers, in front of an audience of parents, colleagues, teachers and invited guests.

The nine candidates, aged between 16 and 17 years, were all winners of heats that had taken place within four participating schools: the Lycées Ste. Agnès, Joachim du Bellay, and St. Martin in Angers and the Lycée St. Louis in Saumur. Together they represented nearly 100 students who had prepared for the competition throughout the winter months.

The proceedings were opened by Mme. Drouet d’Aubigny, representing the Conseil Général. The president of the Bibliothèque Anglophone in Angers, Marie-France Roland, then welcomed the candidates, judges and audience, and Patricia Curd gave an overview of the competition on behalf of the ESU Loire Valley.

The judging panel was composed of Paul Holleley, Senior Mentor in the speech and debate team at the ESU Headquarters in London; John Cassini, of the Université d’Angers and former president of the Bibliothèque Anglophone; Keith Bloomfield, former ambassador to Nepal and Jerôme Woodford, retired consultant to the European Commission.

ESU members, Roy and Yolande Powell, were chairman and timekeeper respectively. Roy introduced each candidate who spoke confidently on the theme: “To be Ignorant of the Past is to Remain a Child”.

The judges’ decision was unanimous. The winner of the competition was Aymon Salvaing de Boissieux, a pupil at the Lycée St. Martin in Angers. Following the announcement of the winners and presentation of prizes, Jean-Marc Minier, president of the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine et Loire, thanked the candidates, the judges, the audience and the organizers for their contributions to a rewarding and enjoyable morning.

Congratulations go to Aymon, to his teacher, Françoise Placé, and to his mentor, ESU member, John Barritt. Aymon will now represent France in the finals of the International Public Speaking Competition which take place at the Headquarters of the ESU, Dartmouth House, London, between 11th and 16th May 2015. The theme for the next round is “Culture is not a Luxury, but a Necessity”.

We send Aymon our best wishes for success in the competition and for a truly worthwhile experience in London.

To better appreciate the international finals, a short video of the IPSC 2014 can be seen by visiting