Yesterday evening, 10 students from the Greater Toronto Area shared their ideas on how to change the world at the 9th annual Speakers Idol speech competition hosted by Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC), which was held virtually this year.
Some 70 people were in attendance at the Speakers Idol Zoom finale to hear speeches from the finalists – who were chosen following a committee review of submissions from more than 200 students – on Simon Wiesenthal’s quote, “Freedom is not a gift from heaven, you must fight for it every day.” A panel of judges determined the winners in the Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12 categories.
“Real freedom is not when we are happy in our freedom to do whatever we want. It is when others are happy because of our sharing of our freedom and our limiting our own freedoms in considering others,” said Achinthyaa Kaveri, Grade 7 student from Toronto and first-place winner in the Grades 6-8 category.
“Every attack on a community or people – be it an attack on a synagogue or a mosque – is an attack on you. And here I speak to the youth of my generation. Awareness and compassion should be our foundation, but we must go beyond. With knowledge must come action,” said Raya Treibicz, Grade 12 student from Thornhill and first-place winner in the Grades 9-12 category.
Speakers Idol is held every year to challenge students from all walks of life to think about and discuss ways to change the world through the lens of the Holocaust. Through this program, FSWC educates thousands of students about the Holocaust, human rights, antisemitism and other forms discrimination and inspires them to make a positive difference in the world.
FSWC congratulates all of this year’s Speakers Idol winners and finalists who raised their voices for positive change and thanks the program’s judges and committee members who helped make the first-ever Zoom finale an immense success.
"In addition to congratulating our winners, participants and committee, I commend the FSWC education team on a job well done, as usual," said Avi Benlolo, FSWC president and CEO.