March 22, 2004
CONTACT : Loucia Isaac Seropian
Phone: 961-1-353010 Ext.: 365
Email: [email protected]

Haigazian University-Public Relations Office
PO Box: 11-1748Beirut, Lebanon

International Public Speaking Competition 2004- Lebanon

"A Borderless World" interpreted by nine young Lebanese University Students

The English- Speaking Union Lebanon branch (ESU (held its annual
International Public Speaking competition Saturday, March 20, at Haigazian
University-Auditorium, Hamra, Beirut-Lebanon. partaking in the event were
nine student contestants representing local universities in Lebanon and
aged between 18-20 in full-education.

The event was organized by the ESU Chairwoman Mrs. Mrs. Youmna Asseily and
attended by the Haigazian University president the Rev. Dr. Paul
Haidostian, the Dean of Arts and Sciences Dr. Arda Ekmekji and a
distinguished jury which included, H.E. British Ambassador, Mr. James Watt,
Dr. Nasser Saidi, former Deputy Central Bank Governor, Dr. Waleed Khoury
principal of Broumana high school, Mr. Tarek Muhmood HSBC representative
and Dr. Shereen Khairallah the Chairwoman of the English Department at
Haigazian University.

A few minutes before the competition, Mrs. Asseily lined up the contestants
out side the auditorium premises, in a non-competitive atmosphere
introducing them to the previous years' participants attending the 2004
competition in support of the ESU's mission in a "family atmosphere."

" A Borderless World" was this year's Public -Speaking competition theme.
With much self-reliance, all contestants successfully managed to tackle
their topic using different perspectives. Coincidentally, all participants
were females. With no microphones installed or made available for any of
the contestants, a rule regulated by the ESU, the majority managed to
explore the theme and inspire the jury and the audience.

The sequence of thoughts, flow of information, clear voice projection,
attitude and presence exercised by the contestants showed their eagerness
to win the competition making their families and University even more proud.

Using English as a second Language, the "English skills" and the "English
standards used by the 9 participants left "positive impressions" on H.E.
Mr. James Watt. The British Ambassador was delighted to see the Lebanese
youth "incorporated in extra-curricular- academic activities promoted by
the English Speaking Union," adding: " I am very appreciative of being
appointed part of the jury for this specific event."

Theoretically, according to the speeches addressed by the contestants, a
borderless world meant, "breaking mental barrier and walls." However, one
young participant thought, " The whole concept of this borderless world is
a 'pure myth' and argued accordingly. Another contestant debated and
discussed the importance of, " building bridges through education, love and
a mutual respect."

Very true to the theme, all participants pondered on the concept of
globalization. Explicitly, all contestants favored a "borderless world",
which, for them, is in pure conjunction with the experience of
globalization. Their concern was to urge the audience to experiment and
decipher the venues of globalization in terms of economy and political
agendas.
Inevitably the participants shared mutual concerns regarding "Learning
corporate languages, involving the youth in major decisions and plans,
hiring qualified and skilled professionals in all domain mainly translators
and interpreters especially of supreme importance for the west."

Virtually some implicitly deliberated, borderless or not, the foundation of
the world should be based on "cherishing human values, respecting the
other, accessing knowledge, technology, safe-guarding identities and
cultures in tune with the rapid developments undertaking the world at large."

According to Youmna Aseily, the ESU Chairwoman, this activity, which
involves the youth of Lebanon "is aimed to give young people experience in
the fundamental skills of public speaking, to give
International Public Speaking Competition 2004- Lebanon

Students, from a variety of countries and backgrounds, a chance to meet,
exchange views and form friendships and to provide a focus for the learning
of effective English and communication skills among young people in
countries where English is not the first Language."

Moreover, " The first annual ESU public -Speaking event was held in 1981
where only three countries participated. Today, and with much content,
Asseily assures the number of countries around the world participating in
this events has exceeded 50 all in all." Concluding she said, "In 2002 a
young Lebanese student came second in the competition attended by
participants from over 35 countries, two others from different countries
tied the knot." she concluded.

The names of the two winners, Nayla Habr from Notre Dame University (NDU)
and Lauren Eid from Balamand University was announced by H.E. the British
Ambassador Mr. Watt. The two-winners will be traveling to participate in
the headquarters International Public Speaking Competition at Dartmouth
House in London, May 2004. The rest of the participants were given a
special gift souvenir by the ESU-Lebanon.

The International Public Speaking Competition is an annual event program
run by the English-Speaking Union and Sponsored by HSBC Holdings plc in
some 42 active countries in the World.

###
Loucia Isaac Seropian

Photo caption: Right Asseily, Khairallah, Habre, Eid, British Ambssador,
HSBC representative, Khalf, Khoury

END
Photo caption: Right Asseily, Khairallah, Habre, Eid, British Ambssador,
HSBC representative, Khalf, Khoury