Declamation: Overseas Is Where to Be

Here is a truth you may not like.  America is not the only country in the world that matters.  The American government is not the only one that exists.  There is a vast world where we are merely a part.  A world where, historically, America is an infant in comparison to other countries.  Shocking, indeed!  An infant, really?  Yes.  History did not begin when foreign countries began to take notice of North America.  The world has a rich history prior to any whisper of America.  Today, the world is still as vibrant if you choose to look beyond the oceans and man-made boundaries that divide.  Why is this important in Forensics?  When searching for a Declamation piece it could be in your best interest to try to find a foreign speech.  Why?  Well...

  1. Be unique. How many people do you know actually pay attention to current world affairs let alone events from the past?  Using a Declamation piece from a foreign country could increase the chances of you using a speech that is rarely seen on the speech circuit.  Of course, Titans of speeches (such as Winston Churchill) could be an exception to the foreign-is-unique rule.
  2. Truly informative. People might all be fundamentally the same, but culturally we are all special.  Every country has its own hardships and concerns which are different from another.  You could deliver a Declamation that offers a fresh concept rarely thought of in American society.
  3. Be edgy. Tied into being informative, as every country has its own views on politics, gender roles, independence, etc. there may be ideologies that oppose American values which another country believes are correct.  Picking a Declamation that is a proponent of an unfamiliar or un-American idea might be an interesting way to separate yourself from the competition.  Please, do not be derogatory to ANY country though.  Hate will not help. 
  4. Find a good translation (if applicable). All translations are not the same.  As Declamation is as much about dialogue as it is about presentation finding an accurate translation is critical.  Do some research on speech translations and see which is generally considered the best.
  5. Be relevant. Learning about a new culture can be intriguing, but if you are choosing a piece for competitive use you need to earn your audience's attention.  Look for foreign ideas that can be related to an American mindset on some level.  Compare and contrast.  If your crowd can do those two things then you're golden.

These five simple considerations are your guidelines for selecting a foreign piece (of course, then you must think about if it is a good speech in general).  In the search for original Declamations, never limit yourself to speeches found only in your country.  It's a large world with millions of historical texts ripe for the plucking.