Public Speaking at AUI: Using Competition to Promote Learning

On Tuesday, May 2nd, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences organized its Public Speaking Competition, with the overarching theme of ‘Immigration.’ This competition is organized for students enrolled in Public Speaking courses at the University, as a means of highlighting the improvements they have made over the course of the semester.

In the competition, each student participant delivered a 5-minute impromptu persuasive speech addressing the statement: “Diversity is what makes a country beautiful.” The participants took different positions in each of their speeches, supporting their individual claims through use of various sources, facts and statistics.

SSE student Chaimae Hartout, SBA student Al Haytham El Mahir, and NDS student (from the United States) Alexis Criscuolo earned first, second, and third place respectively.

Chaimae Hartout praised the topic of the competition, having experienced immigration firsthand. Hartout stated that “this competition was an opportunity for me to speak how I felt inside, which is something I have been waiting to do for a long time…[speaking on this theme] allowed me to share my thoughts and feelings, and lead me to inform [the audience] that immigrants are not what people see and hear on the news.” Hartout also was able to defend the concept that immigrants are not predestined for poverty or ignorance, as her personal experience with her family immigrating provides such a different narrative.

Also speaking about the competition, Al Haytham El Mahir shared that “as an SBA student I expect to deliver many oral presentations in the future, and the class of Public Speaking has been a crucial factor to help me discover my abilities and also improve them thanks to the guidance of my instructor. This competition has been an unforgettable experience for me. I [was able to interact with] students from different majors and learn from them too. All the participants showed great skill and I am proud to have won second place. I think that we Business students need such classes to learn how to interact with others. There is no better way to transmit your ideas than to speak them, for words reach the soul and not just the brain.”

Finally, Alexis Criscuolo said that “after taking this class I feel more comfortable on stage and more confident…I can easily get up in front of a crowd now and deliver a speech [without extensive planning or practicing].”