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LAU hosts 10th annual English public-speaking competition.

Summary: BEIRUT: Students from across Lebanon gathered Saturday for the 10th annual English-Speaking Union (ESU) public speaking competition, held at the Lebanese American University. Two winners were selected by a six-member jury, which was comprised of foreign and domestic dignitaries including the Belgian Ambassador Johan Verkammen

BEIRUT: Students from across Lebanon gathered Saturday for the 10th annual English-Speaking Union (ESU) public speaking competition, held at the Lebanese American University.

Two winners were selected by a six-member jury, which was comprised of foreign and domestic dignitaries including the Belgian Ambassador Johan Verkammen and Saudi Arabia's Cultural Attache to Lebanon Aman Mughrabi.

Ani Ghazarian, 18, a pharmacology student at Lebanese International University, and Moataz Israwi, 19, a medical student from Balamand University, will now progress to the international round of the competition, taking place in London next month.

All 14 hopefuls gave self-titled, five-minute speeches based around the topic of "Speculation on Our Future."

Themes such as global warming, the human struggle for unattainable perfection, the benefits and drawbacks of technology and the end of the world featured prominently in the talks.

Israwi gave a poignantly titled speech: "Oops, I'm Pregnant C* Again!" which dealt with the dangers of overpopulation, while Ghazarian spoke about the endless possibilities of genetic engineering and a world free of disease.

"I have never been out of Lebanon so this will be a great opportunity for me to see Europe and meet people from all over the world," said Ghazarian. "It's really exciting and it is going to open all kinds of new possibilities for me."

Over 30 countries will send delegates to London but the Lebanese contestants will have to battle out against each other as only one candidate per country can enter the final round.

The HSBC-sponsored competition, now in its 28th year, is reserved for 18-20-year-olds. Three Lebanese contestants speaking at the event were disqualified on the grounds that they would be over the age of 20 by May 17, the start date of the week-long international leg of the competition.

Lebanon's 1990 ESU winner, Suzanne Mojanne, now a teacher at Hariri High School, was also among the jurors at the event. Mojanne has been selected to join the final ESU team of judges and will also travel to London.

"Winning this competition totally changed my life and made me the person I am today," Mojanne said. "It helped me get used to public speaking, which is something I have to do every day in my work as an English teacher.

"I met so many people from different places and cultures who I would have never met," she said. "It opened me up to a whole new world of possibility."

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Apr 19, 2010
Words:462
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