Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

Logos, pathos, ethos is back with its summer harvest.

With major elections coming up, several speeches ask what kind of rhetoric we need.

Also in this newsletter, some epideictic speeches - as examples of how commemorating an anniversary can serve as a springboard - and a selection on the beauties of multilingualism. Find more on

To help you ‘ignite change through speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols’, the Bibliography section reviews Nancy Duarte’s 2016 book : ‘Illuminate’, together with other useful titles. More under :

In just four weeks, speechwriters from all over the world will meet at the Professional Speechwriters Association World Conference. Let us know if you go so that we can meet there – you can still register.


What kind of rhetoric do we need? 

The current lack of public and political engagement in fact-based decision-making even has people asking, have we have entered a "post-factual" era of democracy? One in which the public identifies with populist rhetoric and decisions are made based on fears and assumptions, because people feel science and politics have left them behind.

Read the full speech here : Carlos Moedas, Europe's voyage towards an open global research area, EuroScience Open Forum, 25 July 2016

We have our divisions, and they are not new.  Around-the-clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, and I know we’re about to enter a couple of weeks of conventions where our political rhetoric tends to be more overheated than usual.

And that is why it is so important that everyone -- regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you are a part of -- everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further. 

We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. 

We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda. 

We need to temper our words and open our hearts -- all of us. 

Read the full speech here : Barack Obama, Statement on the shootings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 17 July 2016


Please, please, I call on all of you now that I have the opportunity to speak to so many of you : don’t let your democratic mandate be ridiculed or diminished. Stand up for it. You are the representatives of more than 500 million people : be proud of it and stand up for it.

Watch the full statement here: Frans Timmermans, Closing statement on the preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2017, 6 July 2016


The potential of epideictic speeches


I’m proud to (…) be speaking to you on a day that bears such significance in the history of your nation and the history of the Baltic States.  As you pointed out, Mr. Minister, 77 years ago today, Hitler and Stalin made their secret pact to plot to deny the freedom of the Baltic nations and other nations throughout Central Europe (…)

Fifty years later, standing together, you reclaimed this day.  No longer would August 23rd be a day of betrayal and infamy.  It would be a day when you showed the world -- and I mean this literally -- you showed the world the “Baltic Way”.  I remember as a member of the United States Senate that vision that was portrayed of 2 million people holding hands, hundreds of miles, forming an unbroken chain from each of your capitals, right here to Vilnius.  I was amazed at the time.  You inspired the world.  You inspired all oppressed people.    

Read the full speech here : Joe Biden, Remarks at the National Library of Latvia, 24 August 2016


In September 1939, the French ship Winnipeg reached the port of Valparaíso. On board were over 2,000 people who had fled Spain following Franco’s victory and had now arrived in Chile with their hopes and dreams – 2,000 people, including one man who would later become a Chilean winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and who had organised the crossing. His name was Pablo Neruda. Entire families had travelled from Santiago to Valparaíso to welcome the ship on its arrival and to offer their hospitality to the refugees.

This is an episode from Chilean history that I find deeply moving. It tells of profound humanity and kindness, virtues that shine out, time and again, in the history of peoples. Those who came from the Old World back then in 1939 found the freedom and security they longed for here in Chile.

During the dark years of Augusto Pinochet’s rule, the roles were reversed. Europe then became the continent of refuge and hope for many Chileans – the place where they could hoist, before the eyes of the world, the banner of resistance against the oppression in their homeland.

Read the full speech here : Joachim Gauck, Opening of the Challenges of Democracy Forum, Santiago de Chile, 12 July 2016

Well, here we are. Just three days left as Commissioner for Financial Services. Really I should be packing instead of coming here to talk about financial regulation – which goes to show just how much I like packing (…)

So looking back, what lessons have I learned? What advice would I give to a new me? Here are some principles which I wish someone had told me when I started.

Don't imagine that legislation is a science. It is not. It is a series of judgements. Clever people can make it sound as though there is only one answer. But it's not true. So always be open to doubt and to admitting that you might have got those judgements wrong.

Read the full speech here : Jonathan Hill, The impact of the EU regulatory framework for financial services, 12 July 2016


The beauties of multilingualism

Prime Minister, Ministers, Commissioners, Ladies and Gentlemen,

In Europe, we are used to 24 official languages. That is the reason why I am not expressing myself in English but in French, because French is an as important language as English. But for reasons of respect for this assembly I will not express myself in Luxembourgish, although Luxembourgish has the same value as the two other languages mentioned.

Mes chers amis, …

Read the full speech here : Jean-Claude Juncker, EU-China Business Summit, Beijing, 13 July 2016


In some ways Latin America is certainly better placed for integration than Europe was at the time. To mention just one example: In the European Union we have 24 official languages; in Latin America you have two main languages - Spanish and Portuguese - and by speaking “Portuñol” you can even understand each other without much need for translation!

Read the full speech here : Martin Schulz, Latin America and Europe: stronger together, Buenos Aires, 22 August 2016


** This last speech was delivered by a young student on graduation day for Baccalauréat Européen in a European School in Brussels. Delivered in three languages with such good understanding of what a speech can do, it is welcome in this newsletter – special thanks for the sponsors who forwarded it. **

We are gathered here today for the results each one of us has acquired; results that some may have been looking forward to, that others may have been waiting for with trepidation, and that some were surprised to obtain. We are here together today to find out how we have been evaluated, how we will enter into the statistics. How many passed, what their marks were, figures to which the world attaches so much importance. And yet mere statistics are not the most essential thing – because each and every one of us here on the stage today represents a great deal more than just a number.

Read the full speech here : Aymeric Amand, Cérémonie du Baccalauréat Européen, 1 July 2016