ESU National Public Speaking Competition 2019

The winner of the ESU National Public Speaking Competition, Saturday 23 March 2019, is a young lady called Eve Bertevas, 16 years old. Eve is a student at the Lycée Joachim du Bellay in Angers. A total of 12 candidates represented 7 lycées: the Joachim du Bellay, the Sacré Coeur, the Sainte-Agnès and the Saint-Martin in Angers, the Saint-Louis in Saumur, the Blaise Pascale in Segré and the Jacques Prévert in Taverny, Val d’Oise. The theme of the speeches this year was “Nature is a Common Language”. Each candidate interpreted the theme in their own individual way and the audience enjoyed 12 very different approaches to different challenges facing the young people of today. The title of Eve’s speech was “Ode to Tolerance”.

Juliette Bontems from the Lycée Saint-Martin was awarded second place with a speech entitled: “Nature : an everlasting language?” and in third place was Simon Martineau from the Lycée Sainte-Agnès whose speech was entitled: “Nature’s Nature of Change”.

The prizes were awarded by Michelle Moreau, 1ère adjointe of the Mayor of Angers, assisted by Laure Chabenat, winner of the competition in 2018. Each participant received a certificate and a book in English. The books were kindly donated by the English bookshop, W.H.Smith, in Paris. We are very grateful to the bookshop and in particular to its manager, Patrick Moynot.

The three judges this year were Frédéric Chotard, IPR in English at the Académie de Nantes, John Cassini, retired university lecturer and one time Chairman of the Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers, and Lucia Dumont, Chairman of the English Speaking Union France. The jury was impressed with the quality of the speeches, the imagination of the participants and the time and thought they had so obviously given to their chosen subjects. The determination and confidence shown by the young candidates should take them far, both in their studies and in their future careers.

Congratulations to Eve who will now take part in the International Public Speaking Competition which takes place at our headquarters in London from 13 to 17 May 2017 and involves more than 50 young people from around the world. The theme for the speeches in the next stage of the competition is “A lie has speed, but truth has endurance”. Eve will also have 15 minutes to prepare a short impromptu speech for the judges. The overall winner of this competition will be invited to address a youth assembly at the United Nations in New York.

The competition last Saturday was held at the Salle Daviers in Angers and was organised by the English Speaking Union Loire Valley in partnership with the Bibliothèque Anglophone in Angers and the Maison de l’Europe d’Angers and Maine et Loire – Europe Direct. Our thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of the competition, to Michelle Moreau and to the town of Angers, to W.H.Smith for their generosity, to the judges for their time and expertise, and to all the teachers and students whose hard work and dedication was evident in the very high standard achieved by all participants.

The committee and members of the ESU LV join together in sending all candidates our very best wishes for the future, and to Eve we all say: “Good luck in London, Eve!”