Sixteen-year-old Egsheglen Javkhlan from Mongolia has been named best speaker in the English-Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Competition 2023.
The winner of Mongolia’s Public Speaking Competition travelled to London on Monday, 8 May to join other winners from over 30 countries and regions around the world for five days of public speaking training and cultural exchange.
Following 12 thrilling and extremely competitive heats, six winners were chosen to compete in the grand final at the Royal Institution on Friday, 12 May, addressing the concept that ‘Relations between nations are too important to be left to governments alone’.
With hundreds from all over the world watching live and via the livestream, Mohammed Suhail An-Naas Hussain Thawkalkan from Mauritius, Maria Trinidad Guzmán Schmidt from Chile, Valeria Fonseca from Mexico, Beatrice Maria Paun from Romania and Shaakya Nathavitharana from Sri Lanka all gave excellent performances. In what was a very close competition, the judges selected Egsheglen Javkhlan from Mongolia as the overall winner, with Beatrice Paun as the runner-up.
‘Learning these skills at this age puts you in such a good position for the rest of your life,’ says Maryam Pasha, Director of TedxLondon and one of the panel of judges. ‘To have confidence in how to construct an argument, how to tell stories, how to interact with an audience, and how to feel grounded in your delivery, is always going to be an asset going forward. More than that though, this competition allows participants to realise that there are people from halfway around the world who they may have more in common with than someone who’s in the same class as them at home. You start to see all the richness of difference and diversity, and how valuable that is.’
‘I’ve learned so much,’ says Egsheglen, who was one of the youngest competitors in the entire competition. ‘I feel like if the whole world could learn about as many cultures as we have this week, we could get rid of so much of the tension between countries. I travelled to London, but I feel like I’ve travelled to 30 different countries!’
The International Public Speaking Competition is at the heart of the English-Speaking Union’s mission, bringing together the best young speakers from all over the world for a week of cultural exchange and public speaking contests. Established in 1980, it now reaches over one million young people, showcasing the highest standard of public speaking, while giving delegates an opportunity to meet and engage with other young people of different backgrounds and nationalities.
Grants are available to countries to help widen participation in the IPSC and this year both Mongolia and Romania received such assistance. Mongolia used the funds to support engagement with their rural, nomadic communities, with the grant enabling them to provide internet access for participants to access the country heats. Romania used the grant for teacher CPD to support more schools engaging with the programme.