Senior Annika Alderfer Fisher wins 2024 peace oratorical contest

Annika Fisher delivering her speech.

GOSHEN, IND. – Goshen College senior Annika Alderfer Fisher, a sociology and art double major from Staunton, Va., won the college’s annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest on Feb. 20 with her speech titled “The Inequity of Overconsumption.”

Fisher’s speech highlighted the consequences of resource exploitation and urged for responsible stewardship from all people in society. “We take more than our fair share of resources, but we forget the consequences of our actions,” she said.

With this win, Fisher will be entered into the binational intercollegiate Mennonite Central Committee C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest.

Mariela Esparza delivering her speech.

Senior English major Mariela Esparza emerged as the runner-up, delivering a poignant speech on “Overseen yet Overlooked: Children as an Oppressed Class.” She discussed the impact of punitive manipulation on children and the importance of fostering empathy and understanding.

The event also featured compelling speeches from three other participants, including senior Sarah Lopez Ramirez, senior Cassidy Cwiertnia and junior Tyson Miller, each offering unique perspectives on peace and social justice.

Ramirez spoke on “ITIN: A Mockery on Immigrant Lives,” using her experience to call attention to immigrant protocol in relation to finding jobs.

Cwiertnia spoke on “ASL: Beyond the Barriers,” explaining the need for proper care and instruction among hearing-impaired children and adults.

Miller spoke on “Using Journalism as a Tool or Peace,” noting the importance of peace journalism in a society that strives for clicks.

The panel of judges for this year’s event included Luke Beck Kreider ’08, assistant professor of religion and sustainability at Goshen College; Regina Shands Stoltzfus, director and professor of peace, justice and conflict studies at Goshen College; and Malinda Berry ’96, associate professor of theology and ethics; history, theology and ethics department chair at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana.

The C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest, sponsored by the U.S./Canada Mennonite Central Committee, provides students with a platform to engage in meaningful discourse and advocate for peace. The contest honors the legacy of C. Henry Smith, a revered Mennonite historian and professor, by empowering students to develop their rhetorical skills and contribute to the cause for peace.