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Remarkable performances at the 2022 Eloquentia@HEC Final

The adventure started with 78 high school students from all over France. After a week of academic immersion and debates on the HEC Paris campus, eight of them earned a place in the final of Eloquentia@HEC, a national public speaking competition.

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The eight finalists from left to right: Kadatiou Diabate, Solène Leonardi, Lisa Leroy, Jules Bedrossian, Lilou Fitoussi Barreiro, Célia Berby, Clelia Borreau, and Sharif Nefra ©Ciprian Olteanu

In 2018, Eloquentia and the HEC Paris Equal Opportunity Mission partnered together to launch the first national public speaking competition, for all students to have the opportunity to speak out and defend their ideas.

Eloquentia@HEC takes place each summer at the Jouy-en-Josas campus, where high school students are offered the chance to discover the world of a Grand Ecole and benefit from workshops with the School teams, for guidance and discussions around their study plans. Eloquentia@HEC is a week of academic immersion, with 30 hours of classes in public speaking, classical rhetoric, vocal technique, slam, on-stage expression, fun activities and sports.

There was an incredible atmosphere in the Blondeau Amphitheatre on campus for the grand final on Monday July 18. Over 200 people, participants, family, HEC staff, and professors were there to hear the eight finalists’ speeches, forming an enthusiastic and encouraging audience.

Watch the video of the event: (in french)

As several of the judges said, the level of the speeches was very high. The finalists spoke without notes, demonstrating true authenticity and sincerity, and the audience experienced some incredible moments of eloquence. A huge congratulations to them for their performances.

In the end, it was Sharif Nefra who won over the judging panel for the 2022 edition, featuring Hélène Bermond, HEC Paris Equal Opportunity Manager, Delphine Colson (H.94) Executive Director of the HEC Foundation, Stéphane de Freitas, founder of the public speaking competition Eloquentia, Carel Ngaleu Monkam, winner of Eloquentia@HEC 2021 and Bertrand Périer, Lawyer, Eloquentia coach and HEC professor.

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Sharif Nefra, winner of the 2022 Eloquentia@HEC competition ©Ciprian Olteanu

Sharif is from Lycée Jean Hinglo on Reunion Island, and convinced the judges with his moving speech, “Are those who remain silent complicit?”. He shared a few thoughts on his Eloquentia@HEC experience just after the result was announced:

It was an intense week of coaching, we spent a lot of time on our speeches, learning to deliver them. They taught us a lot of things this week, but most of all we learnt about ourselves. Tonight, I see it as a personal victory, I was able speak out about something I had long kept inside of me.

Second place was awarded to Jules Bedrossian, from Lycée Lacordaire in Marseille, with a speech on the theme “Once at the top, should we be fearful?”. In third place was Célia Berby Maillot from Lycée Jean Hinglo Le Port, on Reunion Island, with the speech “Are we our own predators?”.

Congratulations to them, as well as to all the finalists and participants in the Eloquentia@HEC summer camp, for their hard work and determination. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are proud to support this fantastic event alongside BRED and Michelin Corporate Foundation.

A huge thank you as well to all the teachers and staff involved in Eloquentia@HEC and the HEC Paris Equal Opportunity team, whose commitment makes all the initiatives to support equal opportunity possible.