Laure Chabenat, French student from Lycee Saint Louis in Saumur to represent France in International Public Speaking Competition in London in May.

The French national final of the annual Public Speaking Competition took place in Angers last Saturday 24th March from 2 to 5.30 pm organized by The English Speaking Union Loire Valley and its partners Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers and La Maison de l’Europe Angers & Maine-et-Loire.

The English-Speaking Union International Public Speaking Competition was first organized 1980. It is the flagship program of this international educational charity founded in 1918. The ESU International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) is the world’s largest competition of its kind. The winners aged 16 to 20 of national speaking competitions from more than 50 countries come together in London for a week to share ideas and live and compete together.

This competition, which is also a community event, represents a unique opportunity to celebrate oracy using the English language. It also offers all participants a medium to develop confidence, to discover their voices, to be empowered, to broaden their horizons and to realize their full potential.

Last Saturday, the opening introductory words for the national competition were given by Frederique Drouet d’Aubigny on behalf of Christian Gillet. Marie-France Roland, President of the English Language Library in Angers, welcomed the judges and the audience. Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, vice-president of ESU France introduced the international association and congratulated the organizers and the participants. Roy Powell the chairman of the competition introduced the candidates and explained the rules.

This year, twelve students from Lycées Sainte-Agnès, Joachim du Bellay, Saint-Martin, Sacré Coeur and Joachim du Bellay in Angers, Lycee Saint-Louis in Saumur and Lycee Jacques Prévert in Taverny Val D’Oise, competed in Les Salons de la Présidence du Conseil Départemental de Maine-et-Loire in Angers, in front of a large audience which included, Frédérique Drouet d’Aubigny, Michel Guillaneuf, Président d’Honneur de la Maison de l’Europe, ESU Loire Valley members, The President and the Director of the Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers, Marie France Roland and Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau, Patricia Curd, President of ESU Loire Valley, teachers, families, and friends of the participants as well as the members of the partner associations.

This year’s theme was : “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.

The judging panel was composed of Mr Fredrick Chotard, IA-IPR in Académie de Nantes, Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, former President of the ESU International Council and Vice-president of ESU France; and Jerome Woodford, retired consultant to the European Commission.

The speeches delivered in many styles and from various perspectives were outstanding and the judges’ task was difficult. The speakers persuaded, informed, inspired and captivated the audience and the adjudicators, tactfully including evidence, facts, figures, emotional personal stories and histories. They answered the adjudicators’ questions with aptness and sometimes humour. The jury congratulated all the participants. They are all winners.

First place in the competition this year went to Laure Chabenat, a pupil at the Lycée Saint Louis in Saumur. Her speech title was: “Future Rhymes with Culture”. The runner-up was Laurine Vinçon (Lycée Sacré-Coeur, Angers) whose speech title was: ” Passport for the Future”. The third place went to Laura Traczyk ( Lycée St Martin, Angers) who spoke about “ We are the Architects of our own Future”.
All the participants were given books, dictionaries and CDs in English donated by Editions Maison des Langues in Paris. They were much appreciated. ESU Loire Valley and its President, Patricia Curd extend their most enthusiastic thanks to Editions Maison des Langues.

Following the announcement of the winners by Frederic Chotard, Michel Guillaneuf, Honorary President of the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine-et-Loire thanked the candidates, the judges, and the organizers for their contributions to a rewarding and enjoyable afternoon.

We send Laure Chabenat our best wishes for success in the next level of this public speaking competition and for a truly worthwhile experience in London from May 14 to May 18 with 50 ESU international friends. Her stay in London will be rich with incredible encounters, a unique opportunity to realise her full potential, a valuable platform for exchanges and a fertile soil for developing skills in communication: an undeniable asset in our media-centred world.

The theme for the next round is: “Great Artists have no Country”.

We address warm thanks to the organizers, the teachers and the fantastic young participants who will become confident communicators, critical thinkers, and empowered citizens. They are our future.

English-Speaking Union Loire Valley :
Patricia Curd, ESU Loire Valley President :