Top Speeches of 2019

16 December 2019

During the course of the year, there have been powerful speeches made by people who urge us to be braver, to stand in the face of adversity, and come together to make the world a better place.

Below are our top picks for the top speeches of 2019.

Rami Malek Wins Best Actor

On March 25th, Rami Malek made history by becoming the first actor of Arab heritage to win the best actor Oscar for his performance as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody.

He used his acceptance speech to address issues of immigration saying, 'I'm the son of immigrants from Egypt, I'm a first generation American, and part of my story is being written right now and I could not be more grateful to each and everyone of you.'

Jacinda Ardern's Christchurch Speech

On March 28th, 2019, Jacinda Ardern stood before a crowd of mourning New Zealanders in traditional garb, and said, 'What words adequately express the pain and suffering of 50 men, women and children lost, and so many injured?' at the National Remembrance Service in North Hagley Park in Christ church, New Zealand.

Her impassioned speech worked to unite all while condemning the act of hatred. She refused to name the groups involved and therefore changed the conversation into one that united all, even ending her speech with the Maori words of ‘Tatou Tatou’ or ‘We are One’ alongside the Arabic salutation of ‘As-salāmu alaykum’ or ‘Peace be upon you’.

Emmanuele Macron on Rebuilding The Notre Dame Cathedral

After the devastating Notre Dame fire, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, addressed the mourning people of France on April 16th, 2019.

In his speech he helped transform the painful disaster into an opportunity to come together as a nation, even stating that the Notre Dame Cathedral would be rebuilt within five years, and more beautifully. Restoring the gem of Paris into a symbol of hope for France.

Theresa May's Resignation Speech as Prime Minister

On May 24th 2019, after a turbulent three-year premiership and hard-fought battle to deliver Brexit, in front of the world, Theresa May gave her resignation speech.

Her voice cracked. A woman broken by Brexit, circumstance, and pressure, finally giving just a sliver of insight into herself through the iron curtain she'd been known for: 'It has been the honour of my life to have the opportunity to serve the country I love'.

Tyler Perry Wins the Ultimate Icon Award

On June 23rd, 2019, Director, Actor, Writer and Producer Tyler Perry accepted the Ultimate Icon Award.

With an impassioned speech on motivation, inclusion, and ownership, after becoming the first black person to own a studio outright, he said 'Rather than being an icon, I'd rather be an inspiration' as the crowd lept to its feet for a standing ovation.

Megan Rapinoe's Speech at the U.S. Women's World Cup Champions

After winning the World Cup in France, Team Captain Megan Rapinoe used her new-found status to charge her audience to make the world a better place, saying: "This is my charge to everyone. We have to be better. We have to love more and hate less. We gotta listen more and talk less. We have to know that this is everybody's responsibility...It's our responsibility to make this world a greater place."

She also called attention to the team's long-standing fight for equal pay and raised the issue of equal pay for equal work for women across all sectors, showing us all how to better lead from the front when looking to change the world.

Greta Thuberg's Speech to World Leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit

On September 23rd 2019, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg delivered a simple, but year-defining speech.

'You have stolen my childhood and my dreams with your empty words. You're failing us, but young people are starting to understand your betrayal. The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us, I say we will never forgive you.'

Just a few simple words that helped spark climate activists, politicians and people from all over the world to take notice to the urgency of change in the face of climate change.

Ellen Degeneres Defends Friendship with George W. Bush

On October 8th 2019, Ellen Degeneres took to her stage to address a photo where she was seen sitting next to fromer president and notable conservative George W. Bush.

In a time in the US where you are either a Republican or a Democrat, and where the world is in its more divisive state, she took this moment to share why coming together is the only solution for change, 'Here's the thing, I'm friends with George Bush, in fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different and I think that we've forgotten that that's ok that we're all different.'

Siya Kolisi at the Rugby World Cup Final

South Africa has seen many firsts when it comes to sports, and on November 2nd 2019, Siya Kolisi became the first black captain at the Rugby World Cup final.

He used this landmark moment to reflect on why it's important to champion diversity and inclusion, and how uniting in the face of adversity is the clearest path to victory, 'South Africa has many problems. We come from different backgrounds, different races, and we came together with one goal'. A powerful message from a powerful leader.

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