Forty-six countries were represented in London this year: Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States.
The French candidate was Brune Banaszuk from the Lycée St. Martin in Angers. Brune was selected by the judging panel at the national and regional finals in March and was one of the youngest competitors in London, all aged between 16 and 20 years old.
The theme for the heats was “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”. The speeches were impressive. They were delivered in many different styles, from many different perspectives, and often included emotional personal or national experiences. One after the other, the speakers persuaded, informed, inspired and entertained the audience and the adjudicators.
Eighteen candidates were selected to progress to the semi-finals. They each had 15 minutes to prepare an impromptu speech on a topic ranging from “Faith”, “Duty”, “Fashion”, to “You can cage the singer not the song” and “We know what we are but not what we may be”.
The Grand Final this year took place at Stamford Bridge Stadium, the home of Chelsea Football Club. Following a delicious buffet lunch, the six finalists were introduced: Krzysztof Jagoda from Poland; Ayushmaan Chopra from India; Marco Del Valle from the Philippines; Bryan Kwesi Ohene Achiampong from Ghana; Devni Wanigaarachchi from Sri Lanka; and Vivian Garciacano from Mexico. All six delivered outstanding speeches on the theme “Integrity has no need of Rules” before giving relevant, humorous and pertinent replies to the audience’s questions.
The winner of the IPSC 2016 is Vivian Garciacano from Mexico with a speech entitled “Interested Populations”.
All candidates are winners. From the start of the week they communicate only in English; they form close friendships; they exchange email addresses and phone numbers and thanks to the huge efforts of the organisers and mentors at Dartmouth House they experience the true spirit of the ESU: global understanding through the English language.
The accompanying guests are also winners. It is always a privilege to attend this event and to witness these young people taking such a huge step towards achieving their full potential and having so much fun together at the same time.
The IPSC is a valuable platform for exchanges and a fertile soil for developing skills in communication. What an enriching experience! What empowerment! We cannot fail to be inspired by such talented youth.