English-Speaking Union (ESU) São Paulo 2019

The English-Speaking Union seeks to build skills and confidence in communication and give individuals the opportunity to realise their full potential.

The International Public Speaking Competition celebrates its 39th anniversary this year. It is the largest public speaking competition in the world.  It is at the heart of the English-Speaking Union’s mission, bringing together oracy, cultural exchange and a hefty dose of friendly rivalry.

The competition brings the best young speakers from all over the world to London for a week of cultural exchange and public speaking contests. Established in 1980, it now reaches over 600,000 young people in more than 50 countries across the globe, 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.

Participants must deliver a 5-minute speech connected to the theme. They can choose a title for their speech. Every speech is followed by questions from the audience.

The 2019 theme for the national heats is ‘LIE HAS SPEED BUT TRUTH HAS ENDURANCE’, and it will be used at the national final in Belo Horizonte, on April 11th. The São Paulo winners Matheus and Guilherme will compete with representatives from Belo Horizonte, Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro.

The national finalist will go to London for the International final in May. It is a 5-day programme with various events including excursions, debates, workshops and a two-day speaking competition. All participants receive training at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London.

This annual event was hosted by the Cultura Inglesa São Paulo. This year, with an audience of nearly 100 spectators, the São Paulo finals of the ESU Public Speaking Competition took place on Friday 29th at the Duke of York Auditorium of the Brazilian British Centre and there were 8 finalists representing 4 schools: Colégio Bandeirantes, Colégio Santo Américo, Cultura Inglesa São Paulo and Saint Paul’s School.

We had the pleasure of receiving Dr Rod Escombe, Mr Richard Stevens and Ms Susan Marcus as adjudicators. The judges have to analyse the participants’ presentations on stage as well as the content of their speeches, considering expression and delivery, reasoning and evidence, organisation and prioritisation besides evidence and response.

The participants’ level was very high. They presented their speeches and their personal themes ranged from personal to historic lies with lots of personalities and citations as illustration. It was very difficult for the adjudicators to decide on the winners and runners up.

Congratulations to the eight participants on their courage and resolve to take part in such a demanding competition.

Anamaria Pelegrini    

Operations Manager at Cultura Inglesa and President ESU São Paulo Chapter