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CMU student wins international oratorical contest

Recent CMU graduate Amelia Warkentin (class of '19) is the winner of this year's C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest. Her first-place speech, titled "Finding Health and Peace Through Self-Care", has earned her $400 USD in prize money, forthcoming publication in Mennonite Weekly Review, and a scholarship for participation in a peace-related conference of her choice.

Judges have called her speech "a timely and thoughtful application of [the Christian peace position]," remarking that "self-care is a commonly used term, but little Christian reflection has been done on its faithful practice."

Warkentin completed her BA, with a primary focus on English and Communications/Media, at CMU this past spring, shortly after delivering her speech. 

The C. Henry Smith Oratorical contest is open to undergraduate students from any Mennonite or Brethren in Christ college/university across Canada or the United States. Funded by the trust of C. Henry Smith, a 20th-century Mennonite historian and professor, it invites participants to hone their rhetorical skills while engaging creatively with Christian peace theology as it may apply to a wide variety of contemporary concerns. Not to exceed 10 minutes (or 1,200 words) in length, speeches are judged on originality, quality integration of subject matter, and finesse.

A Winnipeg native, Warkentin's face and voice have long been familiar in local peace and social justice circles: in 2015 she facilitated the literacy or "summer reading" program for children at Sam's Place, a social enterprise of MCC Manitoba. Her writing has featured regularly in Canadian Mennonite's "Young Voices" column, and she was a feature performer in Sarasvati Productions' spoken word slam Here I Am, presented back in March 2019 to celebrate International Women's Week. An aspiring teacher with a heart for early years, Warkentin begins a BEd after-degree with the University of Manitoba this fall.

This year, Warkentin shared the C. Henry Smith podium with runners up Hannah Conklin of Bluffton University, who presented on peace and justice relating to water access, and Emily Stoltzfus of Goshen College, who spoke on peace in contemporary approaches to education.



About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU's Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry, Business Administration, Peacebuilding and Collaborative Development. CMU has 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at its Shaftesbury Campus and Menno Simons College Campus. CMU is a member of Universities Canada.

For information about CMU, visit

For additional information, please contact:
Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing; 204.487.3300 ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB R3P 2N2

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