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Lions Oratory Competition Final: CBE Student Addresses the Civil War in Syria

CBE student addresses the civil war in Syria

19 October 2016

Tonight, Finance student Victor Sukeerth Munagala proudly represents the College of Business and Economics (CBE) in the 2016 Lions Oratory competition.

Born in Germany, raised and educated around the world, Victor will take his place alongside eight other competitors from across the university to address the question "What does community mean in 2016."

We spoke to Victor on the eve of the competition to see how his preparations were going.

Tell us how you have been preparing for the finals?

Preparing for this speech in particular has been difficult, but I have been preparing by watching over 20 hours of the most incredible speeches throughout human history.

I have to say my favorite speech is Barack Obama's 2004 DNC keynote speech. Since I am talking about the transformation of the meaning of "community" in Syria over the past few years, I have watched countless documentaries regarding the lives of Syrians and have been drawing from my own experience from when I lived in Syria in 2008 and contrasting it with this new meaning.

Why did you decide to enter the competition?

Public speaking has always been my hobby, and I first realised it when I was running for student council president in high school (I won that election, because of my speech). Even at the ANU, I have actively taken part in activities that involve public speaking such as the interhall public speaking competition, where I won for Burton and Garran.

This competition in particular was unique in that, it was offering a huge cash prize, but more importantly the topic was quite profound, and I saw an opportunity to discuss something that is close to my heart: The Syrian Civil War. So I sent in my speech proposal a night before the submission deadline, and to my surprise I managed to get in. 

What’s been the best part of entering the competition for you?

The best part about entering this competition has been the fact that my name is being displayed across campus. To see the Lions Oratory Competition ad showing on televisions dotted across campus has been immensely satisfying and I have had people come up to me and congratulate me for it. Even if I do not win, I feel like this has benefited me in many ways. And honestly, the journey from sending in my speech proposal to finalizing my speech has been incredibly exciting, and I cannot wait to present my speech.

Would you encourage other students to enter the competition?

Definitely, this competition is absolutely fantastic. When given an opportunity to shed light on something that you are passionate about, go for it. One thing I have learned about public speaking is that everybody is nervous, and nobody expects you to be perfect. And ANU is the perfect place to practice oratory, because it is such a supportive environment. Even if you do not win, the journey itself will be rewarding. If you do win, the cash prize is really nice, and so is the recognition. If you win, you can call yourself the best public speaker at the ANU, and that is an amazing title to have.

For over twenty years, undergraduates from across ANU have been battling it out in the Lions Oratory Competition. Lions Club Woden member, Manikkam Reddy, started the competition in 1994 to help tertiary students build their confidence in public speaking as they look towards their future careers.

Click here to register to attend tonight’s final.

Updated:   1 March 2017 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team