Goshen College students to speak in annual peace oratorical contest Jan. 23

GOSHEN, Ind. – Five Goshen College student speakers will continue the college’s near-century-old tradition by participating in the 2007 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on Jan. 23 in Umble Center at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Participants in the college’s 2007 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest and their topics are:

Sophomore Analisa Gerig-Sickles, of West Branch, Iowa, will speak on “Women and the Call to Ministry.” Gerig-Sickles is an elementary education major and the daughter of David Sickles and Jean Gerig. She is a 2005 graduate of West Branch High School and attends First Mennonite Church of Iowa City.

First-year Betsy Houser, from Phoenix, Ariz., will speak about current immigration issues in her speech “Peace, Prosperity and the Promised Land.” She is a collegiate studies major and the daughter of David and Wendy Houser. She graduated from Shadow Mountain High School in 2006 and attends Sunnyslope Mennonite Church.

First-year Niti Mishra, from Brampton, Ontario, Canada, will speak on “Gender Violence: A Challenge Across Borders.” She is an accounting major and the daughter of Jyoti Singh K.C. Mishra. She graduated from Notre Dame Secondary School.

First-year Georgette Oduor, from Kenya, will speak on “The Truth About AIDS in Kenya: How It Affects Children,” which is inspired by her experiences working in an AIDS orphanage and from relatives affected by the AIDS epidemic. Oduor is a nursing major and the daughter of Evelyn Yobera of Anchorage, Alaska.

First-year Drew Stoltzfus, from Souderton, Pa., will speak about reconciling evil with understandings about God in his speech “The Cosmos and Evil.” He is a communication and music double major and the son of Barry and Ingrid Stoltzfus. He graduated from Souderton Area High School in 2006 and attends Blooming Glen Mennonite Church.

Each participant will step to the lectern to deliver an 8- to 10-minute speech on their chosen topic relating to peace, in a universal or specific context, including war and violence, political policies, agencies of justice and peace, peacemaking strategies or current events. The addresses will be judged by Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman, Goshen College Associate Professor of Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies Carolyn Schrock-Shenk and Co-pastor of Assembly Mennonite Church Karl Shelly. Speakers will be judged on originality, the integration of the topic and a peace position and general standards of delivery. While judges deliberate, refreshments will be served, and then the winner will be announced.

Participants compete for cash prizes and the top winner may enter the U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee-sponsored C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest. The trust of C. Henry Smith, a Mennonite historian and professor at Goshen and Bluffton (Ohio) colleges, funds the contest, which gives students an opportunity to become involved with the peace cause while cultivating rhetorical skills. Speech contests have been part of Goshen College’s history since the early 1900s; the C. Henry Smith contest allows the campus community to hear more about relevant, contemporary issues.

Umble Center is accessible to people using wheelchairs and others with physical limitations.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or jodihb@goshen.edu.


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a four-year residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit www.goshen.edu.