The preliminary round of Qatar Open Youth Public Speaking Championships conducted by Qatar Toastmasters Club witnessed participation from diverse cross sections of student community and various schools in Qatar. Participants in the age groups of 13 to 18 years spoke on the topic, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts!". The preliminary round was held in Birla Public School, which saw registration of 180 students from schools across different streams.
Qatar Toastmasters Club, affiliated to Toastmasters International, the leading worldwide organization dedicated to communication and leadership skills development is conducting this annual event for the last 19 years and is one of the most anticipated and awaited event of its kind among the student community in Qatar. Toastmasters' mission is to empower people to develop communication and leadership skills resulting in greater self confidence and personal growth. Qatar Toastmasters this year aims to extend the reach of the event by increased participation from Independent Schools including Qatari students
"Qatar open is an opportunity to give back to the community, by empowering the youth to focus on a key aspect of leadership - communication", noted Krishnamoorthy Nair, President of Qatar Toastmasters club. He added, "By providing a platform for confident self-expression, it unlocks human potential. Public speaking empowers the students to achieve their aspirations and equips them with vital skills to contribute to the society."
Qatar Open Chairperson Azeez Mohamed said: "This year there is tremendous response particularly from leading independent schools and international schools". Considering enthusiastic response from many new speakers, Qatar Toastmasters Club conducted three workshops in the run-up to the contest. Two workshops were scheduled exclusively for Independent school students with first workshop being conducted at Al Bayan Independent School for Girls by Rasha Abualhasan and the second at Al Ahnaf Bin Qais Independent School for Boys by Ehab Medhat. A general orientation workshop was conducted by Nevine Kamel at DeBakey High School.In these sessions, students were given insights on the various aspects of public speaking and speech preparation to help them prepare for the contest.
Opening the preliminary round contest Azeez Mohamed briefed the participants about the rules and regulations and highlighted that the students' decision to participate was an investment in themselves. The contestants were divided into different groups with dedicated panel of seasoned toastmasters functioning as judges and contest officials. The top contestants from each group will proceed to semifinals scheduled on 15 April 2016 and eventually to the finals scheduled for 6 May 2016. Competition was stiff but the teen orators impressed the judges with their inspiring speeches. One of the judges commented: "We were surprised to see the level of competency in the first timers and judging them was not an easy job!".
Participants and parents alike praised the way the contest was organized and remarked how much they enjoyed it. One parent described it as "an excellent experience for the children" and participants acknowledged it as "one which they look forward to". Many participants acknowledged the contest as an effective way of overcoming their fear of speaking in public.
The event was coordinated by members of Qatar Toastmasters Club with support from the entire Toastmasters fraternity in Qatar and managed by Transmedia international. Corporate support was extended by Applus Velosi, Tanween, Qatar-UAE Exchange, Dandy, Q-Bake and Gulf Times as part of their CSR initiatives.
The semifinal and final rounds to follow are being eagerly awaited and as Azeez Mohammed rightly said, "The level of participation this year underlines that there is an increased awareness on the importance of communication skills as a key area of development and growth."
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