Ennio Campoli Patak from Spain was crowned winner, while Australian Justin Lai finished as runner-up. Together with the other finalists, John Rafael Faustino from the Philippines, Greta Pangonyte from Lithuania and Fan Yuehang and Yixian Chen from China, they spoke to a packed auditorium on the theme “nature is a common language.”
“Many Asian education systems are starting to recognise the importance of soft skills”
The grand final was the culmination of an intense week of competitions and coaching, which saw the ESU national public speaking champions from dozens of countries gather in London.
“What you have seen here is a culmination of what they have learnt,” director of education Duncan Partridge told The PIE, praising the international dimension of the experience.
“Young people are understanding that international and cultural differences are there, but they are not really important,” he added.
Christa Lai from the Hong Kong Schools of Music and Speech Association, who accompanied two contestants from Hong Kong, also agreed that the competition gives students more than just public speaking skills.
“Such an international competition gives them an experience and exposure to different kinds of people, so it helps them know the world better and also understand what they want to study,” she told The PIE.
Launched in 1980, the IPSC reaches over 1m young people in 50 countries across the globe in a quest to promote public speaking and oracy skills among young people.
Partridge explained that these have a different weight in each education system, depending on cultural and political factors, with interest in Asian countries rapidly rising.
“Many Asian education systems are starting to recognise the importance of these soft skills, and particularly China,” he explained.