NGO head is PH entry to London speech contest


The head of a literacy advocacy group who has been speaking in public about the importance of books and reading since she was seven is now the Philippines’ bet for the English-Speaking Union (ESU) International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) 2014 in London.

Arizza Sahi Nocum, 19, administrator of the NGO Kristiyano Islam Peace Library (, bested 100 top local speakers to earn the chance to represent the country in a public speaking competition that brings together the best youth speakers from 50 countries all over the world.

“I feel deeply honored by this opportunity to represent our country in a prestigious world public speaking competition in May,” said Nocum, a third-year industrial engineering student at the University of the Philippines.

Nocum said the series of local speakers’ contests that culminated in the local final competition held on Saturday, February 15, at the UP Diliman campus was so tough that in the end, she had to dig deep into her on experiences as a speaker on Mindanao, literacy, poverty and other issues espoused by Kris Library.

“I’ve been going up the stage to preach the importance of books and reading to my fellow youth since 2001 when my mixed-Christian and Muslim parents started the advocacy to build libraries, distribute books; and provide scholarship to poor Christian and Muslim kids,” said Nocum. “Those years in public speaking may have steeled my nerves when facing a big audience.”

Set up in the US in 1920, ESU began the international public speaking competition to advance its mission to celebrate “English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing education and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.”


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