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.