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Home > News and views > One million participants, 54 countries, one winner!

One million participants, 54 countries, one winner!

After a week of intense competition and cultural exchange, we are delighted to announce that the winner of the ESU International Public Speaking Competition 2019 is Ennio from Spain. Many congratulations also to the runner-up, Justin Lai, from Australia.

The six finalists (who also included John Rafael Faustino from the Philippines, Greta Pangonyte from Lithuania and Fan Yuehang and Yixian Chen from China) beat dozens of other contestants from all over the world, each the winner of their own national public speaking competition,  to take part in the final at the Royal Institution today. They were asked to speak on the theme: ‘Nature is a common language.’

Established in 1980, the International Public Speaking Competition is the largest public speaking competition in the world, reaching over 1,000,000 young people in more than 50 countries across the globe in total. ‘Too many people regard public speaking as an ordeal but the standard today was impressive,’ says guest judge, Jon Briggs, best known as the voice of Siri. ‘I spend my time coaching people how to speak in public and the reason I do that is because they have not learned what these young people have,’ he says. ‘Our voices are the most powerful instrument we will ever play. With it people start wars, declare love, propose marriage… and because of that we need to learn to play it well.’

‘Delivering a speech in public teaches young people so many valuable skills,’ says Duncan Partridge, Director of Education at the English-Speaking Union. ‘In an age when society is becoming ever more fractious, and incendiary speech is used more and more often, educating young people to consider what they say and to present their arguments with logic and conviction has never been more important.’

‘The whole competition has been fantastic,’ says winner Ennio (pictured above with chair of judges, Jon Briggs). ‘I’ve met so many people from all over the world and the community we’ve created in just one week is amazing.’

 

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