Agora Speakers International. Last Sunday, November 5th 2017, Book News had the opportunity to attend and participate in a meeting held by the Agora Speakers International in 67hectares, Antananarivo. That was amazing! Malagasy people are so passionate and so devoted to speak and to develop themselves to bring change to their community. We’re glad that so many young Malagasy want to lead and take action in the society where they live. We’re hopeful!
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Agora Speakers International
Agora Speakers International. This is the name of this international association of passionate volunteers who help people develop their skills in public speaking and leadership. Established in Madagascar for several months now, the club counts 45 passionate Malagasy, mainly youth. Not only they discovered themselves and each other, but they improved their skills and, surprise, the best Malagasy speakers will have the opportunity to go to the international contest with other speakers from all over the world in more than thirty (30) countries. You will discover more about the Agora and its members by reading this interview that we had with Mónica Sofia Vieira Rodrigues, or “Mónica Rodrigues”, ambassador of Agora Speakers International to Madagascar, and Vice-president of Education in the association.
- Book News: What is Agora Speakers International?
Mónica: Agora Speakers International is a worldwide nonprofit association of passionate volunteers devoted to helping people develop their public speaking, communication, critical thinking, debating and leadership skills in a friendly environment.
- Book News: What is Agora Speakers International purpose?
Mónica: Our purpose is to empower people to become a brilliant communicator and a confident leader who will actively build a better society and a better world.
- Book News: What can Agora bring to Malagasy people, mostly young Malagasy people?
Mónica: There are plenty of advantages. It helps people become more confident, more aware of their talents and more aware of the power they have to influence and make changes in their surroundings. For example, we have people at the beginning that wasn’t able to stand and make an icebreaker speech and now they feel totally comfortable to do that. Furthermore, normally their topics bring motivational messages that inspire and empower the attendees. Besides, they are so committed to helping other youths overcome their fear of public speaking and become more confident and this make me really, really proud of the results and the impact that the club has made in their lives.
- Book News: How many Malagasy people are in the club now?
Mónica: We host the meeting at our current venue and also at YMCA Madagascar, our honored partner because our mission is to empower Youth to turn them out more independent. So, in total there are about 45 Malagasy people, mainly youth. There are people from other nationalities as well: from Zimbabwe, Comoros, Cameron and me from Cape Verde. (laugh). There are people from Spain and Belgium too.
- Book News: What should we do if we want to join the club? When and where the meetings take place?
Mónica: Agora Speakers Madagascar is an open and public club. Everyone can join it. But the first requirement is commitment. You should be committed to learning and improve yourself. You must come with a purpose! . However, to become a member you have to attend five (5) consecutive meetings. It is not weekly. Our meeting is every other Sunday at Amustel- Fokontany 67 ha. The meeting starts at 2 pm until 4pm. The speeches are based on the Agora’s educational program: http://wiki.agoraspeakers.org/Educational+Program and for each project accomplished they will get a certificate.
Normally each meeting is divided into three (3) sessions. Firstly, the educational session under the evaluations of the evaluator’s team: grammarian, filler words, timekeeper and general evaluator. Secondly the business session which we talk about any subject related to business and the open discussion session to make everyone participate and practice their spoken English. The last one is the open discussion session.
- Book News: When you will leave, what about Agora in Madagascar?
Mónica: I have only three (3) years left here in Madagascar.The Malagasy youth is already prepared to coordinate it by themselves, no need for my presence to make it happen, and I am sure they will take good care of it and give back to other youth what they have gained from the club.
- Book News: What are the projects for the future?
Mónica: First, to open more clubs in Antananarivo and all over Madagascar to give all Malagasy people the opportunity to develop their public speaking, communication, critical thinking, debating, and leadership skills. And while we are doing that, we are working on their personal development too. Secondly, to provide external speaking opportunities and leadership of community projects; we have not defined which kind of projects yet. Finally, to organize local and regional public speaking contest between speakers from every club in Madagascar, from North to South. Then the best speakers will have the opportunity to go to the international contest with other speakers from all over the world in more than thirty (30) countries.
Know more about the Agora Speakers International on wiki.agoraspeakers.org
Discover testimonials of young malagasy people performing in Agora Speakers International:
Mahavy, young Malagasy speaker in Agora:
“During my speech, it was like… Yeah! I did it! It was like… I think it was not good. It was bad. Today is the first time I did a speech, and it’s hard, it’s difficult but I had to do it… I did the best I can do. Agora speaker is an opportunity to learn about leadership, because I’m a scoot. I’d like to be a leader. That’s why I’m here… Today is the third time I came here”.
Tiavina, young Malagasy speaker in Agora:
“Today was my first speech in Agora Speakers. Of course I wrote something to present before going here, I was prepared. But maybe I was not well prepared. I felt stressed, honestly. I don’t know what happened. But as I said the best is yet to come! And I hope this international club will give me a chance to progress and also to meet new people. As you can see we are all together here, Malagasy who speak english… And that’s great! That’s awesome! I saw the club on Facebook, in suggestions, so I sent my admission. After that, Monica accepted me, we chated and she asked me to come here so I thought it was a chance to meet. I mean, it was for a long time I was looking for something like this! Yeah!”