Lions Oratory comp celebrates 20 years

7 September 2014

Last year’s Lions Oratory competition winner says the crown has given her the confidence to pursue things she wouldn’t have done in the past.

Law student Rebecca Niumeitolu won the 19th competition last October with her oration that paid tribute to Charlie Chaplin while talking about law.

“It just gives you a bit more confidence, even in class situations, to ask more questions,” Niumeitolu says, of the importance of taking part in the oratory competition.

“Putting yourself in circumstances which you’re not accustomed to tends to do that.”

Niumeitolu is among a group of five students selected to represent ANU in the Jessup Moot, an international mooting tournament where the students will be required to compete against other universities in the Australian round in Canberra in February 2015.

During the Australian round, the team will moot in front of a sitting High Court Judge.

“It’s very exciting really, given the University’s history with the competition. It’s the fact that it’s quite well-known amongst other college law schools across the country and also in the world. It’s an honour, really,” she says.

The top two successful teams from the Australian round will then fly to Washington, DC in Autumn 2015 where they’ll compete in the international round in front of current and former judges of the International Court of Justice.

In 2010 a team from the ANU College of Law took out first place in the prestigious international competition.

Rebecca says she’d obviously like to be a part of the University’s winning team in 2015.

“You always have to hope for the best but it really comes down to preparation and the other teams. I don’t want to jinx us by saying anything too determining,” she said.

“It’s pretty steep competition and I don’t know if we really comprehend just how much work will be required for it just yet.”

This year the Lions Oratory competition is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and students from across the University are being invited to enter. As part of the oration, students need to address one or more human values involving truth, righteousness, peace, love and non-violence.

“The main audience it attracts will probably be people who are familiar with public speaking. And also people who enjoy theatre and the theatrics of those sorts of events,” Niumeitolu says.

“But I think for people like me who hadn’t really been in that sort of situation where you could apply creative writing skills, I think the appeal is that it’s a bit different.
“It sort of provides you with an opportunity to put yourself out there but it’s in a really quite welcoming scenario. The crowd is really welcoming to your ideas and I think if you’re an ideas person in general, that’s quite appealing as well.”