(MENAFN Editorial) "The only difference between these two girls—in fact, the only difference between girls like myself and the 60 million uneducated girls around the world is chance."
These words were spoken in London by Ali Cohen, Chandler Preparatory Academy junior, Chandler, Arizona, as part of her speech, Many Worlds Apart at the Grand Final of the English-Speaking Union (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) at Dartmouth House, London on May 18, 2018.
Ali urged those with power and influence to use their voice as a conduit for storytelling—letting those who are affected around the world by education inequality to speak for themselves and tell their story firsthand. She also urged the need for solutions to be shared, not just statistics, saying "Storytelling has to be coupled with action". In the Grand Final round, Ali competed against fellow students from China, Lebanon, Republic of Korea, Philippines, Hong Kong and Estonia.
Last week, as the American delegate to participate in the IPSC, Ali traveled to London for a week of cultural exchange and public speaking contests. Students from ESU countries around the world were welcomed as part of the ESU Commonwealth's international competition. Since its founding in 1980, the IPSC has become the largest public speaking competition in the world, involving over 600,000 young people in more than 50 countries. The final brings together the best young speakers, each the winner of an ESU-recognized national competition, run by International ESUs and partner organizations.
After winning the US National Qualifying Round and the US National Finals earlier this spring, Ali Cohen was named the American Delegate for the IPSC. The 2018 National ISPC runner up was Olivia Fu from El Dorado Hills, California.
Ali is a high school junior at Chandler Preparatory Academy in Chandler, Arizona. She has been competing in speech and debate since the 6th grade and has acquired numerous local and national accolades. She is a two time state champion in Congressional Debate and is nationally ranked as the fourth overall speech and debater in her class. Ali has been in numerous national finals, most notably the prestigious Harvard Debate tournament and Barkley Forum for High Schools at Emory University.
As president of the debate team at her high school Ali often volunteers her time with novice debaters. Outside of debate, she is the Arizona Coalition leader for Girl Up, a United Nations backed campaign that supports girls' education and healthcare in developing countries. She also serves on her city's Mayor's Youth Commission, as well as a reporter for The Born This Way Foundation's Channel Kindness.
In her free time you can catch her playing volleyball, hanging out with friends, or listening to podcasts.
The International Public Speaking Competition brings together outstandingly articulate young people from all over the world for a week of public speaking competition and international cultural exchange with the ESU of the Commonwealth in London. The finalist contestants meet and learn with their peers of different backgrounds and cultures from some 50 countries. Through all its qualifying levels, the program engages more than 40,000 young people globally.
For additional information regarding the International Public Speaking Competition, please visit www.esuus.org .
English in Action—The English-Speaking Union—is a non-profit educational charity that employs the English language to foster global understanding and good will through educational opportunities and cultural exchange programs. Founded in 1920 and headquartered in New York City, the ESU is a national organization with more than 50 branches nationwide and affiliated with a network of more than 60 ESUs around the world.
English in Action educational programs focus on teacher enrichment, immigrant support, scholarships and youth speaking programs. Each year, our programs serve more than 60,000 teachers, students, volunteers and immigrants around the US.
English in Action programs include:
English in Action Conversations pair English language learners with trained volunteers to improve their English fluency through a one-on-one cultural exchange.
Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) improves the lives of recent immigrants through education and cultural programs and integration into American society.
Luard Morse Scholarships sends students from historically Black colleges to study for a semester at a British university.
Middle School Debate builds research, critical thinking and public speaking skills through debate tournaments.
National Shakespeare Competition develops high school students' analytical and communication skills through performing Shakespeare at the school, community and national levels.
Secondary School Exchange sends high school graduates to British boarding schools for a gap year abroad.
TLab provides teachers and lifelong learners educational enrichment programs at Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and Shakespeare's Globe.
For additional information about the English in Action, please visit www.esuus.org.
Steve Whalen, Marketing Director
212-818-1200, ext. 237,