International Public Speaking Competition

Lucia Dumont Renard

The English-Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Competition was first organized in 1980. It is the flagship programme of this international educational charity. 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.

The French national final took place in Angers last Saturday April 1st from 2 to 5.30 pm organized by The English Speaking Union Loire Valley and its partners, the Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers and La Maison de l’Europe Angers & Maine-et-Loire.

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.

The opening introductory words were given by Patricia Curd, President of the Loire Valley branch of English-Speaking Union France. Marie-France Roland, President of the English Language Library in Angers, welcomed the judges and the audience, Phoebe Marshall Raimbeau, Manager of the Library, introduced the candidates and Roy Powell, the Chairman of the competition, explained the rules.

This year, thirteen students from the Lycées Sainte-Agnès, Joachim du Bellay, Saint-Martin, and Sacré Coeur in Angers and Saint-Louis in Saumur competed at Le J, Angers Connectée Jeunesse, in front of a large audience which included Michelle Moreau, 1ere Adjoint de la Ville d’Angers, Michel Guillaneuf, Président d’Honneur de la Maison de l’Europe, ESU Loire Valley members, teachers, families, and friends of the participants as well as the members of the partner associations.

This year’s theme was : “Peace is not an absence of war”.

The judging panel was composed of Julie Armstrong from St Edwards University, Texas; Keith Bloomfield, former ambassador to Nepal; Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, President of the ESU International Council and Vice-president of ESU France; and Jerôme 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 Jeanne Chassereau, a pupil at the Lycée Ste Agnès in Angers. Her speech title was: “What if Peace was Boring?”. The runner-up was Gabrielle Chevrollier (Lycée St Martin) whose speech title was: ” Strange Meeting”. There was a tie for third place : Constance Fournier ( Lycée St Martin) and Laura Joyer ( Lycée Ste Agnès).

Following the announcement of the winners by Dr Lucia Dumont Renard and the presentation of prizes by Michelle Moreau, 1ere Adjoint de la Ville d’Angers, Michel Guillaneuf, Honorary President of the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine et Loire thanked the candidates, the judges, the audience and the organizers for their contributions to a rewarding and enjoyable afternoon. 

We send Jeanne Chassereau our best wishes for success in the next level of this public speaking competition and for a truly worthwhile experience in London from May 8th to May 12th 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: “To define is to limit”.

The grand final will be available to live stream on Friday 12th May 2017, from 2pm UK time. To view it please go to the following web address on 12th May - For more information please visit

As president of the International council, my mission is to expand the global reach of the organization, sustain and spread the ESU brand and be its ambassador worldwide so that this organization becomes more visible. I was delighted to thank the organizers, meet and greet the fantastic young people who are confident communicators, critical thinkers, and empowered citizens. They are our future.

Lucia Dumont Renard
President of the English-Speaking Union International Council
Vice-President ESU France