Five minutes, Clara has only five short minutes to convince her audience. Faced with China, Russia, the imposing oil group Total, an NGO and the Arctic Council, the Sami people, France as an observer country, she defends Ittoqqortoormiit's interests. What is happening in this beautiful month of May 2019 in Paris?
(english translation of the chronic "Clara, 15 ans, Ambassadrice d'ittoqqortoormiit")
With emotion on the edge of her lips, Clara climbs onto the stage and grabs the microphone. It is hot under the fur jacket and legs are shaking a little in the stuffed boots. It is now that she is finally playing the role that she has been working tirelessly with her class for the past two months. We are in the large auditorium of a Parisian high school. This year's annual eloquence contest asks candidates a very difficult question for these very young students:
"From whom, from what, should the Arctic be saved? »
the amazing auditorium of Lycée Saint Michel de Picpus
For my dear readers who are a little far from high school life, please note that the geography program for the second grade (equivalent of first year in gymnasium in DK) offers an "Arctic Worlds" module. It has become a tradition in the Lycée Saint Michel de Picpus. Every year, the school invites the cream of the cream Arctic specialists, so think about it : the famous glaciologist Jean Jouzel, the scientists of the schooner Tara, the respected Arctic geopolitics expert Mikaa Mered. It was Mikaa's idea to turn this classic teaching module into an eloquence contest !
eleven classes, eleven roles, eleven candidates !
Each of the eleven second grade is assigned a role, by draw : the Arctic Council, a famous NGO, the oil multinational Total, a representative of the Sami people, the USA, Russia, China, Finland, Iceland. And, a brilliant idea, a representative of the Greenlandic village of Ittoqqortoormiit. Here we go. Here we are !
But a class is about thirty students. It is then necessary to designate the one who will defend the colours of the class. And this is how Clara's class designate her, democratically and almost unanimously. Clara will be in pairs with Gabriel. She will be the one to speak on the name of Ittoqqortoormiit!
For two months, it's the excitement. Students, in small groups, read, discuss, research. Computers and tablets go into overheating mode, so do brains. Gradually, each class defines its strategy, elaborates the point of view of "their" role. Then tries to condense all this reflection into a text that should be able to be said in five minutes.
In Clara and Gabriel's class, we analyze the "Fragile Futur" chronic of your favorite Blog. The text of the speech is ready. The pair still has to work on memorization, diction and time control. Without respite, Gabriel makes Clara repeat herself, too bad for lunch breaks.
Fragile future, an inspiring chronic for Clara
The amphitheatre is heated whitehot. Almost 400 students are waiting for the speeches. The eleven second classes are there in full with the teachers - especially those in history and geography. Clara and the other ten candidates will defend their arguments. Alone, without a note, in front of the jury. A jury that includes the headmaster, the school librarian, the head of the grade one classes, the two finalists from last year and of course Mikaa Mered, the initiator of the contest seconded by Camille Escudé expert in Arctic regional governance.
"Russia" argues in front of the Jury
The competitors follow one another at the tribune. Clara sets the room on fire by proclaiming with ardour, addressing her opponents:
"In the name of the beauty of our lands and fjords, in the name of our culture and language, in the name of our history and heritage, do not perpetuate this unhealthy tradition of satisfying your thirst for power that has already destroyed many cultures, separated many families and broken many lives.
France and ittoqqortoormiit representatives nominated finalists by Mikaa Mered
The jury nominates the two finalists, the representative of France... and Clara. "France" and "Ittoqqortoormiit" meet face to face for a final battle where everyone must express their intimate conviction. In ten minutes of preparation, Gabriel encourages Clara to examine what the opponent's arguments might be. With this ultimate preparation, Clara, 15 years old, inhabited by her character, wins victoriuously.
the two finalists receive their reward
Ittoqqortoormiit, sublime village on the east coast of Greenland, has just seen the birth of her best ambassador.
I would like to thank Clara and Gabriel and their teachers for the quality of their work and their warm welcome: Valérie Baldin, Frédéric Gout, Véronique Lecourtier, Catherine Pujo-Calas, Nathalie Renault, and of course camille Escudé and Mikaa Mered to whom I owe the joy of having seen a talented ambassador born for "my" favourite Arctic village.
published with the autorisation of teachers and parents
pictures© Lycée Saint-Michel de Picpus