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2012“外研社杯”全国英语演讲大赛闭幕式致辞
发布时间:2012-12-11    发布人:高等英语教学网
Dec. 8, 2012 
Huang Youyi



Ladies and gentlemen: 

I am fortunate to have been a judge of this event. Much of the talk these days is about the Mayan prediction that the world will come to an end on December 21 this year. Now having sat here, watching, listening to and enjoying the fantastic performance the contestants have staged in the last two days, I can die without any regret if Dec. 21 is going to prove to be the last day of the world. 

Ladies and gentlemen, what a great performance we have witnessed! More than 90 young men and young women have demonstrated to us their youthfulness, their intelligence, their eloquence and above all the beautiful future they have helped create for themselves. All contestants, no matter what place you have secured during the contest, the very fact that you came and stood on the podium in front of sympathetic and yet scrutinizing judges demonstrates that you are all winners. Congratulations to you all! My congratulations also go to your coaches and supporting teams. 

The FLTRP Cup English Public Speaking Contest has been held for more than a decade, but it is my first experience to be on the panel of judges. I find it a both entertaining and challenging. It is entertaining because the contestants, particularly those who managed to enter into the 3rd and 4th phases, have shown us how skillfully they have conducted themselves. Their speeches cover a wide range of topics, some with very obvious points for strong argument, some being rather philosophical, still others tricky enough that they may lead you away from focusing on the real issues to be discussed. The questions posed by the question masters, and for that matter questions the finalists asked themselves, are intended to make you speak out and elaborate on your views but they are often sophisticated statements that are culturally quite demanding and provocative. In all cases, you have handled them well. You’re quick, witty and funny sometimes. 

The experience is challenging because each of you has done so beautifully that very often I find it hard to decide who is exactly better than others. I would like to be a fair judge and hate to make any misjudgment. For you, it is a speaking contest. For me and for all the judges I am sure, it is a test of our capability of making judgments. I can tell you, folks, to be on the panel of judges is not an enviable job. 

Nevertheless it has been a rewarding experience. I am deeply impressed with your composure on the podium. Virtually, I have not detected any obvious nervousness which means you are all pretty mature public speech makers. 

Our ears have been treated with beautiful pronunciations, either American or British. Unlike many other occasions, I find very little Chinglish in your presentations, a proof of your high-level linguistic achievement. More impressively, though you all speak good English, many of you are not English majors, which is a big plus because you are students well-versed in multiple disciplines. 

You have employed some very effective techniques in your speeches, like telling your personal stories, and describing your own experiences. As judges, we may forget what score we gave you, but we will remember your stories. 

Having said that, I may add you could have done even better. Some of you could have put more passion in your performance. You could have been more passionate, more engaging, more humorous and more entertaining. I am not suggesting stage acting but we could have seen more lively performances. Yes, you were composed, balanced, but you might have mobilized the audience even more, to use their response as interaction to reinforce your performance. I am glad things have dramatically improved on this last day. It has become more lively and enjoyable. 

You were all very polite in your speeches, and rightly so. You knew it was not a debate, but you could have been more categorical in arguing your cases and pushing your views. If you have taken a stand, you can be more aggressive. People make public speeches not to win scores from the judges, but to impress and win over the audience. A public speech is not a lukewarm and simple statement but a verbal battle to win a war, a charm strategy to win the heart and mind of the people you talk to. Be more forceful and brave, folks. Mind you though, in a contest like this, people should not use vulgar words and strong languages. 

One thing some of you need to learn is try to come to the point right way after you begin your speech. To spend invaluable time to lead you slowly to the point in your speech does not help you build a strong argument. Go right to the point. Yes, you should be quick in responding to questions. There is nothing wrong with that. Yet, you might think hard and make sure you understand the question and know what you say before you start speaking. 

This brings me to something I feel very strongly about. Earlier this year during a conversation between a group of high-ranking Chinese and American officials, a former under-secretary of the US State Department was asked how China could improve its image among the American public. He suggested China send a hundred of people of different disciplines and professions, not just diplomats, all with very strong English speaking skills, to the US and try to get all opportunities to speak publicly, on radio and television, to different gatherings, to respond to the concerns of the American people on China. 

Ultimately, I think China should reach out to a broader international audience and be heard. Given the international concerns and China’s need to further develop in a peaceful international environment, it is time that we have more people presenting and explaining China in English. And in this event that FLTRP has organized for over a decade, I see the hope of achieving this very goal. What the press organizes is not purely an academic activity, basically it is a stepping stone, a training ground for future speakers for our country on the international stage. This is soft power building. Students who have stood on the podium here in the last few days may soon find themselves standing on a higher stage, to serve our country. And I would like solute the press and all the participants of the English Public Speaking Contest for your involvement in this undertaking of far-reaching significance. It is so significant that its impact go well beyond university campuses. The contestants may move to become TV hosts, professors, scholars, diplomats, businessmen, transnational executives, and international organization officials, in you lies the hope of China speaking out and getting heard. In FLTRP, we place our hope of continuing selecting people to represent our country and have China’s voice heard. 

Thank you. 

(黄友义,中国外文局副局长、总编辑,2012“外研社杯”全国英语演讲大赛决赛三、四阶段评委主席。)
 
 

 


 


 

 

 
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