Contest Structure


I. Contest Types

1. For the purposes of this rulebook, a “Contest” is a combination of a contest category, a language and a year. For example, the  “2020 Social Awareness Speech Contest in English”, “2020 Social Awareness Speech Contest in Spanish”, and  “2019 Social Awareness Speech Contest in English” are three different Contests.

2. There are two types of contests within the framework of Agora Speakers Clubs:

  • Official Contests are those contests that are explicitly mentioned in this rulebook, approved by the Agora Speakers International Foundation and that culminate in a world final.  There are currently five official contests:
    • Educational Speech Contest
    • Storytelling Contest
    • Humorous Speech Contest
    • Social Awareness Speech Contest
    • Community Project Contest
  • Special Contests are those contests that are approved by the Agora Speakers International Foundation but do not culminate in a world final. For example, a multi-country initiative to hold a Powerpoint Karaoke contest between Agora Clubs would be considered a Special Contest. Special Contests may become Official following the procedures outlined below.

II. Applicability

1. This rulebook applies to all Speech Contests organized by all Agora levels.

2. Specific contests may define additional rules that extend this common rulebook. The specific rules may never contradict the present rulebook, except with the prior written permission of Agora Speakers International.

3. For Countries without an Agora Ambassador, all decisions attributed to the Ambassador in this rulebook shall be taken by voting among all club presidents of the clubs in the country.


III. Eligibility

1. To be eligible to compete in any Agora contest, the contestant must meet all of the following criteria:

   (a)  Be a registered member of the Agora Speakers International Foundation.
   (b)  Be an active member of an officially registered club, where "active member" is defined as:

  • Having attended at least 3 club meetings in the past three months AND
  • Having performed at least 2 supporting roles (roles other than a prepared speech or leadership project) in the club during the past two months AND
  • Has fulfilled all his or her financial and other requirements as set by the club for all members.

   (c) Have completed - exclusively in Agora clubs - all the educational projects up to and including the "Body Language" project (Basic Education project #6) both the speech analysis part (if applicable) and the speech delivery part.

2. All contestants must sign the following forms:

  • A declaration of speech originality.
  • A model release granting permission to be photographed and recorded at any level of the contest, and for those photographic and video materials to be incorporated as part of the digital asset library of the Foundation.

3. The following Agora members are not eligible to compete in Agora Contests:

  • Employees of the Agora Speakers International Foundation.
  • Present or Incumbent Agora Country Ambassadors.
  • Members acting as judges at any level of the same contest.
  • Members of any official Agora Speakers International Foundation governing bodies.
  • Direct relatives of any of the above groups. Direct Relatives are spouses/partners, siblings (whole or half-blood), and lineal descendants and ancestors.

4. A  person that is a member of more than one Agora club may enter each contest from only one of them.

IV. Contest Levels


1. Contests proceed in multiple levels (or stages).

2. The defined levels are (in order of increasing geographical coverage):

  • Club Level  - The Club level is the first level of the contest and must always be organized by all clubs.
  • City Level - Encompasses all clubs in a city, and possibly its area of influence.
  • Regional Level - Encompasses all clubs in the next level political-administrative region above the city (usually a province, district or similar)
  • State Level - Encompasses all clubs in a country-dependent state-like region that is immediately above the region indicated previously. (usually a state, canton or similar)
  • Country Level -  Encompasses all clubs in the country.
  • International Level - (Special Contests only) Encompasses all clubs in the participating countries.
  • World Level - (Official Contests only) Encompasses all clubs worldwide.

3. When the country's geographical size, special characteristics or club density warrant it, the Agora Ambassador for that country may introduce additional intermediate levels anywhere above the Club level and below the Country Level.

4. All such suggested levels must match existing pre-existing administrative subdivisions as defined by the government of the country.

V. Speech Topics

1. Unless otherwise specified by the specific contest rules, every participant is free to choose the topic of his speech.

2. All speeches must comply with the local laws of the country where they are delivered.

3. The contestant may use the same speech throughout all levels of the contest, or they may present different speeches at different levels or a combination of both.

4. All speeches entering a contest must be original:

  • At least 80% of the speech content must have been created by the contestant.
  • The speech may not have entered any other contest (Agora or not) previously.

5. Speeches that encourage, promote, incite, praise or otherwise endorse hatred or violence against other people are not allowed

VI. Languages

1. All Official Contests are held at least in English.

2. Clubs operating exclusively in languages other than English are required to organize only the official contests in their main operating language, as long as translations of the rulebook and all judging forms are available for that language.

3. At the discretion of clubs worldwide, Official Contests may be held languages other than English, as long as:

  • There are at least 5 clubs willing to participate.
  • The interested clubs provide (if they don't exist already) a translation of the rulebook and all contest forms in the selected language. The translation proposal must be available on the official Agora Speakers International wiki at least one month before the date of the first contest.

4. World Finals of Official Contests in non-English languages will be held only if ALL of the following are met:

  • There are at least 10 country-level winners in that language, at least 6 of them attending the International Convention.
  • There are at least 7 native-speaking judges of that language available at the International Convention. The burden of making these judges available to the Convention will fall on the countries organizing and/or sending finalists in that contest.

Example (non-normative):  A number of clubs in different countries communicate with each other and decide that they want to have a Social Awareness Speech Contest in Spanish.  Clubs in Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Spain, the US, and France decide to participate, each emitting a single country-level winner. Since there are only 6 winners, the contest will not have a World Final at the Agora Convention, but clubs may arrange to have a different kind of final.

The next year, Panama, Honduras, Ukraine, and Guatemala join the contest and emit a country-level winner. There are now 10 winners, so the contest becomes Official, with a World final

5. At any contest level, the ordering of the contests must be the following:

  • For one-day events, the contests are held in increasing order of the total (both native and non-native) number of speakers of that language in the country.
  • For multi-day events, the following procedure is used:
    • Event days are ordered in decreasing order of the expected attendance. (for example, in a four-day Thursday to Sunday event, the ordering usually would be Saturday, Friday, Sunday, Thursday)
    • Languages are ordered in decreasing order of the total number of speakers of that language in the country (except in the case of the international or world levels, in which case the worldwide number of speakers is used).
    • Starting from the top of the language list, fit as many possible languages in the first day, then repeat with the remaining languages with the following day and so on.

Example (non-normative):  Clubs in Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Venezuela,  Bolivia, and Spain, the US, and France organize the Social Awareness Speech Contest in English and Spanish. Additionally, France organizes it in French.
For clubs in Ecuador, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Venezuela,  Bolivia, and Spain, the order would be - first English, then Spanish (since in those countries, more people speak Spanish than English, so Spanish should be the highlight of their events)
For clubs in the US, the order would be first Spanish, then English.
For France, it would be Spanish, English, French.  France decides to organize a three-day event - Friday to Sunday. It is expected that the number of attendees will peak on Saturday, then Friday, then a bit less on Sunday as people leave. There’s room for only one language per day, so French contests are held on Saturday, English is held on Friday, and Spanish is held on Sunday.
For the world final, the order would Spanish, then English.

6. Special Contests are held in the language decided by their organizers. If Special contests are held in more than one language, the guidelines for language order are used.

7. The decision of any club to hold a non-mandatory contest (i.e.: Any special contest, or any official contest in languages other than English) must be communicated to the country Ambassador.

VII. Level Progression

1. For each contest and level, only the winning person in that contest can proceed to the next level.

2. Each level may optionally send the runner-up in a contest as a backup contestant in case the winner fails to participate.

3. Any level after the club level and before the country level may be omitted if - for every contest holds that the number of all winners of the preceding levels that fall under the geographical area of the succeeding level is 10 or less.

For example, the Regional level may be omitted if for every contest the number of winners of all City level that are within the State is 10 or less.

4. The country level may be omitted if there's a single club in the country. In that case, the club winners in each contest category move directly to the next level.

5. At each level, the contest proceeds through one or two rounds.  If there are 10 or fewer contestants at a particular level, only one round is held and the winner for that round is also considered the winner of the level and progresses to the next one.

6. If there are more than 10 contestants for a particular level, the following happens:

  • The lowest possible number of contestant groups is formed, where each group may include no more than 10 participants, and all groups must have the same size plus-minus one contestant  Here are some examples:
Contestants Group Sizes
11 5+6
15 7+8
21 7+7+7
28 10+9+9
29 10+10+9
35 9+9+9+8


  • Each contestant is assigned to a group randomly
  • Within each group, a contest is held using the same ruleset as the main contest. The winner from each group progresses to the second and final round.



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Page last modified on Wednesday January 15, 2020 08:53:01 CET by agora.