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Concordian Selma Herrero Lepers is a finalist in the 2024 edition of Délie ta langue!

The final round of the Université de Montréal’s French public-speaking competition is set for March 11
March 6, 2024

Slightly smiling young woman with long dark hair, and wearing hoop earrings and a light grey top. Selma Herrero Lepers: “When we find ourselves hesitating, we should take the plunge.” | Photo: Noah Labranche

Concordia undergrad Selma Herrero Lepers will be competing as a finalist in the 2024 edition of the Université de Montréal’s French-language public-speaking contest, Délie ta langue!

The competition, which entails writing and performing a creative monologue in French, will close with a final round of performances at 4 p.m. on March 11 at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Herrero Lepers, who studies in political science and economics, will give a speech on the French expression apprendre par coeur (learning by heart).

“It's an expression I heard a lot during my schooling, and I find that this pedagogy can be very controversial — and rightly so,” she says.

“It raises the question of effort and merit in relation to educational inequalities and each person's learning advantages. My text explains and defines the expression while offering a new critical perspective on our current pedagogy and the role of knowledge in our digitized world.”

Herrero Lepers was selected by a three-member Concordia jury to represent the university and advance to the competition’s finals. She is following in the footsteps of Maxime Radet, who finished second in last year’s competition.

“It’s wonderful to see the constant participation of the Concordia student community. This is a testimony to their genuine interest in and dedication to developing their skills to succeed in French — that is, to learn, work, live and take full advantage of the opportunities available to them by embracing the richness of Quebec’s French-speaking culture,” says Isabel Dunnigan, associate vice-president of professional education and valorisation du français.

“When they stand out, it reinforces our belief that Concordia is a welcoming place conducive to the enrichment of talents on a personal, professional and civic contribution level for the benefit of the entire Quebec community” 

‘Quite remarkable’

This is Concordia’s third time participating in the contest and it remains the only English language university to do so. Students apply through their universities and audition after extensive preparation. The student selected by the internal jury goes on to perform in front of a high-profile jury and compete for impressive prizes.

This year’s panel of judges include author and Quebec radio host Monique Giroux and Stéphanie Legoupy, scientific and university cooperation attaché for the Consulate General of France in Quebec City, among others. The cash prizes range in value from $250 up to $5,000. Each recipient will also receive Antidote+ software offered by Druide Informatique.

“It is quite remarkable each year the number of students coming from an English-speaking university who shine in a competition that promotes the French language,” says Pascale Sicotte, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science.

“I would like to thank the French-speaking faculty members who supported Selma every step of the way.”

A record 9 Concordians compete this year

Other Concordia contestants this year — the university’s largest cohort yet — included students Mahomet Maël Houdrouge, Cyril Bendell, Ariel Rutherford, Justin-Fabrizio Jeanty-Baiamonte, Raphael Ausset-Boyer, Shayman-Reza Labadlia, Alexandre Palamodov and Janet Sioufi. All nine completed a training process, which included five workshops on writing and public speaking. Each will also be offered a three-hour workshop of their choice from the Concordia Centre for Continuing Education. In addition, the finalist and one lucky participant will win admission to a unique and innovative experience that is generating tremendous enthusiasm — a Certificate of Employability worth $1,200.

“I think that when we find ourselves hesitating to do something because we don't feel up to it, not legitimate enough, lack time or simply lack confidence in ourselves, we should always take the plunge,” says Herrero Lepers, who says she is both nervous and excited about her final performance.

“It's only by doing that we can find out what we like and what we are capable of. I really didn't think that I had the ability to be selected and if I hadn't signed up in November, I wouldn't have my oral or written capacities!”

Catch the Délie ta langue! competition
live or online March 11 at 4 p.m.

Learn more about Concordia Continuing Education’s Certification of Employability.

Learn more about Concordia’s Réussir en français program.



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