“Freedom is not a gift from heaven; you have to fight for it every day.”
Freedom Day is designed to inspire Canadian youth to be change-makers and build a better future by taking a stand for freedom, justice and human rights in their communities. Celebrating the life and legacy of Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, the event highlights his commitment to freedom and democracy.
Each year, FSWC’s freedom day program educates about violations of freedom, present and past, and prompts students to strive for positive change in their homes, schools and communities. By featuring a diverse group of young people sharing their thoughts about the concept of freedom and the importance of tolerance, inclusivity and justice, participants learn about Canada’s precious democratic values and build a better understanding of the fundamental rights and freedom as Canadians, the responsibilities of all Canadians, and the ideals behind them. This is a meaningful event that both educates and empowers youth, with the central message that we should never take our freedom for granted; we must defend it for all Canadians and always work to make our society even more equitable.
FSWC’s Speaker’s Idol is an annual public-speaking competition open to Canadian students in grades 6 to 12. Students are asked to reflect on a selected quote by Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, relate the quote to a human rights issue of their choice, and discuss ways in which they envision countering this issue and creating positive change in our world.
The first stage of the Speaker's Idol program is a written submission, followed by three rounds of oral presentations.
Submissions are divided into two groups: students in grades 6 - 8, and students in grades 9 – 12. The top 15 in each group participate in a quarter-finals video round followed by a semi-final round for the top 10 in each group for which they receive coaching from university debate team members. The top 10 or 12 contestants from the semi-finals are invited to present their three-minute speeches virtually to a panel of judges who award prizes to the winners. The event is broadcast live online to schools across Canada.
Now a widely recognized public-speaking competition for Canadian students, Speaker's Idol promotes the empowerment of youth by providing them with a platform to stand up and speak out about issues of our day.