When you’re the National Winner of the English Speaking Union (ESU) in Malta and just so happen to be also a member of Kunsill Nazzjonali Żgħażagħ (KNŻ), then it follows that when the opportunity arises to go to China, you don’t think twice.
That was the reality for the KNŻ President Sean Ellul and KNZ Financial Officer Kay Dimech respectively. “As the 2017 Champion and as a National Public Speaking Trainer, I felt it was fitting to accompany Kay in this competition,” Ellul explained. Moreover, he wanted to ensure that “Malta’s delegation would be as competitive as possible.” And it seems fitting to travel to China with someone that you trust the most: the person who holds onto your money.
Dimech was the ESU National Winner in 2018, and spoke at the International Public Speaking Competition in Hangzhou, China. The competition aimed to help youths from diversified backgrounds gain a deeper understanding of each other’s countries and cultures through language and cultural exchanges, and took place on 23rd and 24th March.
The theme of this year’s competition was focused on truth and promoting sharing views with other people in the international community. Dimech focused her speech on the future of education. “There is something fundamentally wrong with our current education system and the conversation about this truth is long overdue,” her speech began.
“Our current education system was modeled on the need for mass production and is now outdated. It is killing creativity and as a result producing robots as opposed to unique human beings. And actually, I prefer to say our schooling system is outdated.
Because true education comes from acquiring knowledge and developing the powers of reasoning and judgement to be prepared intellectually for mature life. Instead, the system we currently have forces us to conform to not be diverse.”
When reflecting on what it was like to be in China, about 9,500km away from home, it is evident that Dimech and Ellul were thrusted into an international bubble. “Most of us expressed similar views on simply wanting peace and harmony in this world,” said Kay. “We were 30 participants from most continents around the world, and we got along just fine and embraced our cultural differences. Why can’t our countries and political leaders do the same?”
For the KNŻ President, the competition served a greater purpose. “We also wanted to take the opportunity to build as many contacts as possible with Chinese Youth Representatives, Youth Organisations and NPSC Organisers,” Ellul commented, “which we managed to do.”
“Thanks to our involvement in this space, we’re much closer to being able to organise more international opportunities in the Asian region as a whole in the future.”
The Youth Council is currently looking into the possibility of collaborating in organising future competitions and speaking platforms in the not-so-distant future. “This trip gave me more personal insight into possible areas into which KNZ can tap into in the future,” said Ellul.
“International opportunities are a great way of providing opportunities for growth for youth.”
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