World Speech Day returned to Norwich again this year, with an event organised by UEA’s school of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication’s Future Leaders programme.

Founded in 2015, it aims to celebrate speeches with a series of live speaking events in over 80 countries worldwide.

Live streamed from Epic Studios, the theme for this year was Turning ME into WE: contributing to the collective. Speeches ranged from how international holidays fuel a rise in the capture of wild elephants, to how exercise can improve self-confidence.

At the start of the day, five Japanese students at UEA gave speeches which marked the first time that Japan has participated in the event.

Organisers Max Sharpe and Jamie Rhodes spoke to the media before the event. Mr Sharpe said: ‘the concept of world speech day is to inspire the next generation of public speakers’.

He added: ‘in your life you’ll know around a thousand people. Them thousand people that you know will know another thousand people. So that puts you one person away from a million people, and two people away from a billion people…. we’re a lot more interconnected than people can possibly imagine.’

Callum Dineen, the first-year student winner of the event’s competition, told Concrete: ‘public speaking helps with confidence… and I would urge anyone who wants to improve their confidence to try speaking in front of an audience, no matter how small’.

Mr Dineen’s speech focused on his own abandonment of some social medias, including Instagram.

He said: ‘I hope that people will think a bit more deeply about how they post and how they consume information on social media’.

He added: ‘From primary school, we are educated about potential dangers in society whether that be drugs, alcohol, knife crime and unsafe sex.

Social media has never been part of this curriculum and as more and more platforms become available to use, it becomes increasingly difficult to use… the off switch.’

Mr Dineen said: ‘it would be a great service to the younger generation if they are taught how to use social media safely in schools and by their parents.’ Organisers plan to upload every speech from the event online.


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