The first edition of World Speech Day in Benin was very memorable. The event was held on the 15th of March 2017 (as it was throughout the world) at the Obama Center at the Université d’Abomey Calavi. Many attended this warm event including: Members of Mercy Ships, a representative from the U.S Embassy Cotonou, a representative from the TBC-Africa group, the Speech competitors, the honorable Members of the jury and the organization committee.
I started the event off with an opening speech, welcoming our guests and contestants and giving an overview of what World Speech Day is all about. Then, the floor was given to the jury to begin the competition. The competitors were students from four different high schools in Benin: Ste Marie Des graces of Abomey-Calav, Lycée Mathieu Bouké of Parakou, Complexe Scolaire Experience of Womey, and Jean Michel le Faucon of Abomey-Calavi.
All the speeches developed around the main theme THOUGHTS FOR A BETTER WORLD and tackled different aspects of our current life such as women’s function in society, war in the world, and empowerment of women. Each candidate did a short speech which were all very inspiring and well thought out. It was great to see the next generation of Benin speaking about their beliefs and their hopes for the world.
A very lively open mic session ensued next. A lot of people had some really awesome things to say about this subject. Then, as the judges deliberated, the well-known Titigueti English club performed a short, yet hilarious drama performance. When the time for the results came, each of the candidates was awarded with a prize according to his or rank delivered by the jury. Joviale HOUNDEKPONDJI from Lycee Mathieu Bouké of Parakou won first place! All of the candidates received books and other documents offered by the US Embassy Cotonou, attestations of participation, and an English-Learning Scholarship given by the TBC-Africa group.
At the end, I gave a speech to thank everyone for their participation and making Benin’s First Annual World Speech Day such a success. The event lasted 45 minutes longer than initially planned due to so much audience involvement and ended in a joyful ambiance. We can’t wait to host this event again next year!
Editor's comment: Onindon Akin is to be congratulated for hosting a remarkable event in Benin.