Sylvia Mast took first place in the 2019 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. Second place went to Cassidy Bontrager and Lydia Haggard.
About the contest
The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, established in 1974 by the directors of the C. Henry Smith Trust, offers students an opportunity to discuss peacebuilding and social justice issues on campus. The intercollegiate competition is administered by the Peace and Justice Ministries of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). Undergraduate students from every Mennonite and Brethren in Christ college in North America are eligible to participate.
C. Henry Smith was an American Mennonite historian and professor at Mennonite colleges and the University of Chicago. Overall, he taught history for nearly 50 years at the collegiate level. 1 He is well-known for his numerous books on Mennonite history and his particular attention to the peace commitments of the Mennonite tradition.
EMU has participated in the event since 2003, with EMU students winning the grand prize at the bi-national level in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2019. The contest is sponsored by EMU Bible, religion and theology, language and literature, and peacebuilding and development programs.
Orations apply the Christian peace position to a contemporary concern without exceeding 1,500 words (eight to ten minutes spoken word). Read contest guidelines for more info.
Speech Archives: 2018 2017 2016 2014 2013 2012
Online resources for orators
Confession of Faith in a Mennonite Perspective, Article 22
And No One Shall Make Them Afraid – Mennonite Church USA Statement
Fellowship of Reconciliation web site
Peace & Justice Support Network web site
Recent EMU winners
2019 Sylvia Mast “An Exploration of Language—Recognizing Harm in Silencing the ‘Political’ Voice of the Church”
2018 Caleb Schrock-Hurst, 'Is This a Bonhoeffer Moment?': Asking the Right Questions in Trump's America. Also bi-national 2nd.
2017 Hannah Mack-Boll, What is your intention?
2016 Bethany Chupp, Standing at the Door
2014 Seth Stauffer, The Danger of MCC’s Own Single Story. Also bi-national 2nd.
2013 Emily Harnish, Lessons from the Hymnal in an Election Season. Also bi-national 3rd.
2012 Rose Byler, Living in the Tension: Social Services and Systemic Change. Also bi-national 3rd.
2011 Jessica Sarriot, Hold on, Together. Also the bi-national winner.
2010 Jessica Sarriot, Peace Churches and War Profits: A Moment for Courage. Also bi-national 2nd.
2009 Laura Cattell, Structural Violence in the U.S. Educational System. Also the bi-national winner.
2008 Anna Engle, Called to True Pacifism
2007 Nicholas Stoddard, Connect the Dots. Also the bi-national winner.
2005 Sharon Kniss, Engaging the Terrorists: A Discourse on Living with the Other
2004 Jeremy Yoder, Flooding Isengard: Why a Peace Church should be a Green Church. Also the bi-national winner.
2003 Zachury Kurtz, A Taxing Dilemma. Also the bi-national winner.
*EMU did not participate in the competition in 2006, 2015, 2020, and 2021.
1. Smith, C. Henry Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.