Dear speech-fans and -friends,

This past month was marked by two important events: on the one hand, for all of us caring for Europe, the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome; and on the other hand, for all of us speech-fans and -friends, the selection of the best speeches for the Cicero Awards.

I have prepared this new selection, looking eagerly for how speakers (and their speechwriters) would combine the best of their art and technique to move audiences. Reading the speeches delivered by the European leaders, I have found here and there some good, unexpected, moving lines: you will find them in this selection.

But I have also read some pieces that combine all the these qualities – and many more – in a single speech : these were among the finalists of the Cicero Awards. I had the privilege to read them as a member of the panel for this international competition.

It is as is should be: that the speeches that make it to this final selection ‘exemplify excellence in modern oral rhetoric’.

It is also a source of inspiration and stimulation for all of us if we want the speeches on Europe to match the greatness of this project launched 60 years ago.

To help you in this challenge, a springboard to your skills, network and motivation is the Professional Speechwriters Association’s 2017 World Conference in Washington DC next October. There is even a special discount for you with the code: "LogosPathosEthos".

In the meantime, enjoy the monthly selection on www.logospathosethos.eu 

Isabelle

 

The great potential of the commemorative speeches

Now is the perfect time to recall (Alcide De Gasperi’s) famous words: "The future will not be built through force, nor the desire to conquer, but by the patient application of the democratic method, the constructive spirit of agreement and by respect for freedom." Perhaps these words are not dramatic enough in the age of politics by Twitter. But I still appreciate their truth and power. I still believe they are enough to guide us from here.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, To speakers of EU Parliaments, 17 March 2017

I have to tell you, for those of you who don't know, Max van der Stoel was my political father. I worked with him for many years, when he was High Commissioner on National Minorities we travelled together to all parts of Europe for many years and he taught me everything. Sometimes a person can be lucky enough as I was to be allowed, by a giant, to stand on his shoulders.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Prague, 10 March 2017


Tell me: why should we lose our trust in the purpose of unity today? Is it only because it has become our reality? Or because we have become bored or tired of it?

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, Ceremony of the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, 25 March 2017

 

There is a tendency to remember those who signed the Treaty of Rome as political geniuses and evangelists of a United Europe. The truth is that they were leaders with their own private doubts, under incredible pressure from events and in a state of profound vulnerability. The collective powerlessness of Europe after the Second World War forced them together. The alternatives were extremely unattractive. And the horrors of the war's destruction were still clear to see every day.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, To speakers of EU Parliaments, 17 March 2017

 

We cannot understand our own times apart from the past, seen not as an assemblage of distant facts, but as the lymph that gives life to the present. Without such an awareness, reality loses its unity, history loses its logical thread, and humanity loses a sense of the meaning of its activity and its progress towards the future.

Read the full speech here: Pope Francis, to the Heads of State and government of the European Union in Italy for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, 24 March 2017

 

Returning to the thinking of the founding Fathers would be fruitless unless it could help to point out a path and provide an incentive for facing the future and a source of hope.

Read the full speech here: Pope Francis, to the Heads of State and government of the European Union in Italy for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, 24 March 2017

 

It is fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. St. Patrick was, of course, an immigrant. And though he is of course the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he is also a symbol of, indeed the patron of, immigrants.

Here in America, over 35 million people claim Irish heritage and the Irish have contributed to the economic, social, political and cultural life of this great country over the past 200 years.

Ireland came to America, because deprived of liberty, opportunity, safety and even food itself, we believed.

Four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp we were the wretched refuse on the teeming shore.

We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America. We came and became Americans.

Read the full speech here: Enda Kenny, White House Reception, 16 March 2017

 

Who do they quote ?

"One of the great successes of the end of the Cold War, the disappearance of the Iron Curtain, is that East and West are no longer moral denominations, but purely geographical denominations".

Vaclav Havel, quoted by Frans Timmermans, Prague, 10 March 2017

 

"The price of greatness is responsibility".

Winston Churchill, quoted by Michel Barnier, The conditions for reaching an agreement in the negotiations with the United Kingdom, 22 March 2017

 

“They did not lack boldness, nor did they act too late".

P.H. Spaak, quoted by Pope Francis, to the Heads of State and government of the European Union in Italy for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, 24 March 2017

 

Building a rapport with the audience

Today I want to tell you something about my political father, Max van der Stoel. I do this in the presence of two his grandsons, who, when you look them in their faces, I see Max in them, which is quite an emotional moment. I will not hide from you that it is with passion that my wife and I named one of our sons Max, after Max van der Stoel.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Max van der Stoel Park, Prague, 10 March 2017

 

Surprise your audience

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a computer called Deep Thought is asked to calculate the answer to the ultimate question, of Life, the Universe and Everything. For seven and a half million years, it runs its algorithm. Then it comes up with an answer. The answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, it says, is 42.

Which just goes to show that asking the right questions is important, but understanding the answers matters even more.

The art of closing a speech : and things have come full circle

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the Guide in question was a sort of electronic book. Although it was often wildly inaccurate, it was also a huge success. That was partly because of the words printed in big, friendly letters on the cover: “Don't Panic”.

I think that's good advice. We certainly shouldn't panic about the way algorithms are affecting markets.

But we do need to keep a close eye on how algorithms are developing. We do need to keep talking about what we’ve learned from our experiences. So that when science fiction becomes reality, we’re ready to deal with it.

Read the full speech here: Margrethe Vestager, 18th conference on competition, 16 March 2017

 

Contrast and opposition

English below

Ce scénario d'un non-accord, ce scénario du no deal, n'est pas le nôtre.

Nous voulons un accord. Nous voulons réussir.

Réussir non pas contre les Britanniques mais avec eux.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, Les conditions pour réusssir la négociation avec le Royaume-Uni, 22 Mars 2017

 

The no-deal scenario is not our scenario.

We want a deal. We want to succeed by reaching a deal.

Succeed with the British, not against them.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, The conditions for reaching an agreement in the negotiations with the United Kingdom, 22 March 2017

 

Make it tangible

English below

Cette incertitude, c'est d'abord celle dans laquelle se trouvent quatre millions et demi de citoyens. Je pense :

    Aux étudiants polonais qui ont accès aux universités du Royaume-Uni dans les mêmes conditions que les étudiants britanniques ;

    Aux retraités britanniques qui résident en Espagne, où ils bénéficient d'un accès aux soins dans les mêmes conditions que les retraités espagnols ;

    Aux infirmières et médecins roumains qui contribuent à la qualité des soins délivrés au Royaume-Uni ;

Ou aux ingénieurs d'Italie, d'Allemagne ou d'ailleurs, qui ont fait le choix de travailler au Royaume-Uni quand des milliers de britanniques faisaient le choix de travailler à Berlin, à Rome ou à Vienne.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, Les conditions pour réusssir la négociation avec le Royaume-Uni, 22 Mars 2017

 

This uncertainty is first and foremost that of the four and a half million citizens:

    The Polish students who have access to British universities under the same conditions as British students;

    The British pensioners who are resident in Spain and who benefit from healthcare under the same conditions as Spanish pensioners

    The Romanian nurses and doctors who contribute to the quality of healthcare in the United Kingdom;

    Or the engineers from Italy, Germany or elsewhere, who chose to work in the United Kingdom, just like the thousands of British people who have made the same choice to work in Berlin, Rome or Vienna.

Read the full speech here:  Michel Barnier, The conditions for reaching an agreement in the negotiations with the United Kingdom, 22 March 2017

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