ESU Public Speaking Competition 2016

12th March, 2016

2016 marks the branch’s fifth year of participation in the ESU International Public Speaking Competition.

The competition here in the Maine et Loire is run jointly by the English Speaking Union Loire Valley, the Bibliothèque Anglophone in Angers and the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine et Loire. Preparations and training for this year’s competition started in the autumn of 2015 and culminated in the National Finals on the morning of Saturday 12th March.

The Salons de la Présidence du Conseil Départmental in Angers formed the elegant backdrop for the competition. Eight finalists aged between 16 and 17 years delivered their five minute long speeches in English in front of an audience of around eighty parents, friends, teachers and invited guests.

The eight candidates 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 been preparing for the competition since September.

The Conseil Départmental, which had most kindly made the rooms available to us, was represented by Mme. Frédérique Drouet d’Aubigny who opened the proceedings. The President of the International Council of the ESU, Lucia Dumont, then explained the importance of the competition in the annual calendar of the association, bringing together over fifty young people from all over the world for the International Finals which take place in London in May. 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 national competition on behalf of the ESU Loire Valley.

The judging panel was composed of Lucia Dumont; John Cassini, retired senior lecturer at 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 on the theme: “Integrity has no Need of Rules”. The judges’ decision was unanimous.

The winner of the competition this year was Brune Banaszuk, a pupil at the Lycée St. Martin in Angers. Following the announcement of the winners and presentation of prizes, Michel Guillaneuf, Honorary 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.

Last year’s winner, Aymon de Boissieux, then addressed the audience, talking about his experience at the IPSC in London May 2015. Aymon is still in daily contact with friends he made all over the world last year and hopes to have the opportunity to meet some of them again this summer.

Congratulations go to Brune, to her teacher, Françoise Placé, and to her mentor, ESU member, John Barritt. Brune 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 9th and 13th May 2016. The theme for the next round is “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any”.

We send Brune our best wishes for success in the next level of 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: