More than two millennia after the ancient orator Demosthenes refined his speaking style by talking with pebbles in his mouth, great speeches continue to play a significant cultural role. That enduring impact on public life – as well as the value of public-speaking skills for everyday contexts – is in the spotlight during the Optimist International Oratorical World Championships.
Taking place at St. Louis University, the competition runs Thursday through Saturday, with several sizable scholarship awards awaiting the winners.
On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Jim Kirchherr talked with a past winner of the competition, Justice Hill, who is now a SLU student, as well as Rebecca Butler Mona, the president of Optimist International. Also joining the discussion was Wayne Fields, the Lynne Cooper Harvey Chair Emeritus in English at Washington University.