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Ed Balls judges Grand Final

26 Nov 2020

We are thrilled to announce, in no particular order, our Grand Final 2020 VIP judges who will be joining the event live via Zoom on December 1st. We’ll be sharing who they are one by one so that you can get to know them and learn what they will be looking for in our Grand Finalists’ speeches.

To name but a few of his accolades Ed Balls is a writer, professor at Kings College, previous Shadow Chancellor for Labour and now a Grand Final judge.

We asked him, in your experience, what does it mean to find your voice?

“‘Finding your voice’ and ‘speaking from the heart’ are two phrases which capture different aspects of the same idea – it must be you doing the speaking, your ideas you are speaking about said in your own authentic way because you care – not someone else’s words read from a script.”

Why is empowering young people important to you?

“The next generation of young people will have big problems to solve and even bigger divisions to heal and good communication is at the heart of finding solutions – it’s one important way to be empowered and empower others.”

What does communication mean to you?

“Communication is fundamentally about persuading other people to listen to you – in showing that you listen and understand and care and are worth listening to.. if people don’t think you care and understand then they won’t listen and all your communication falls on deaf ears.”

And finally, thinking about our young speakers, how can they provoke the change they want to see in the world?

“I am hoping to learn the answer to this vital question at the “Speak Out” Challenge! – they’ve got to persuade people like me to really listen to what they have to say.”


Join us at the Grand Final, we will be live streaming the event from 6pm on Tuesday 1st December. Register to attend using the link below.