MANILA, Philippines – The Top 8 candidates of Miss International 2018 each spoke during the pageant’s speech portion, sharing their dreams and goals if they win the title.
Mariem Claret Velazco Garcia of Venezuela was crowned Miss International 2018, after she gave a speech on her advocacy to promote reading among the youth.
Here’s a transcript of Mariem’s winning speech, as well as the speeches of the other Top 8 finalists:
Mariem Claret Velazco Garcia, Venezuela
It’s a very special day for all Miss International delegates, but for me, it’s doubly special as today I am also celebrating my birthday. In my country, we have the custom of not revealing our birthday wish, but today I want to make an exception. My dream, my birthday wish is that if I were to be privileged enough to be your next Miss International, I can continue to stimulate children around the world to read. In Venezuela, I have devoted a great part of my time serving as a storyteller for less favored populations, and I’m living proof that reading is the way towards knowledge. My goal as Miss International is that every child around the world have access to books that speak about tolerance, respect, and happiness. I firmly believe in the power of dreams to change societies and think if everyone of us takes on the duty of reading a story to a child, that child will be more educated and the world will be happier. That is my birthday wish.
Ahtisa Manalo, Philippines
Miss International is a celebration of youth and empowerment. I’ve always believed that age is not a barrier to reach our dreams or to have an impact on others. At 15, I started to help programs in my community for street children. At 19, I graduated college. At 20, I realized that I could speak for good causes to a wider audience. That’s why I joined our national pageant. If I become Miss International, I would continue being the voice of the youth in showing that nothing is impossible with hard work and determination. And with these beautiful ladies with me tonight, a family of beauty queens, all beautiful young dreamers and achievers, we will show the world that it is love, peace, and beauty that we truly care about. And together, we shall make a difference.
Reabetswe Sechoaro, South Africa
Every accomplishment starts with a vision and that’s why I humbly stand here representing my culturally diverse country, South Africa in this prestigious pageant. Having won an international modelling competition at the age of 18, I’ve been working equally hard to obtain a degree in accounting sciences. I have learned from my achievements as well as handling disappointments. I I have used this to learn and grow to be the more confident and determined woman that stands in front of you today. By learning from your achievements and obstacles that come your way, I’ve been able to have the belief in myself, to go for the seemingly impossible. I would like to share this belief with other African women and girls and tell them not to stand back. It took courage and determination to be here, but here I am, a finalist in one of the top pageants in the world. Should I win Miss International, not only will it be a privilege for my country, but a privilege for my continent. Being the first Miss International from South Africa and Africa will help me take the Miss International brand to new heights around the world as well as share the message with girls form around the world that if they take courage and work hard they to can achieve the seemingly impossible.
Susana Sanchez Hernandez, Spain
First of all, I want to say thank you to all the Miss International organization for the treatment we received during all our concentration. To our sponsors and to all my partners who became my family during these weeks, I will never forget all I have learned and lived in this amazing country. Throughout my life, I have fought a lot to reach all my goals and for that I need to work hard and be very constant. Today, I want to send you message that i you trust in yourself, if you are constant, if you work and you never give up, you can do it as I did when I was Miss International Spain 2018.
Anabella Castro, Colombia
For many years, my country was [inaudible] apart due to a terrible conflict that separated families and divided brothers. It is time to make change and transitions for peace and forgiveness. I’m not inly representing myself. I’m also representing my nation, the invisibles in my country, the victims of conflict arms, the single mothers, and the elderly. My purpose here if I wanna be the chance to be Miss International, is to be the voice in front of war, is to be the leader of a transition to forgive and peace. We need to forgive ourselves and our environment, because the war not only be a part in the battle fights, it also appear in our [inaudible] life. We need to constrict the love and peace because all of us have only one thing in common. We are capable of loving. Love is the key to be in peace.
Michelle Huet, Ecuador
I would like first to thank you all for this wonderful opportunity. They say that when you travel, you grow. Not long ago, I decided to participate in the national contest of my country, Ecuador, with a lot of dreams and prayers to fulfill. One of the most important was to convey the true meaning of beauty and the empowerment of all women. If I am fortunate enough to become the next Miss International, I would like to transmit to all of us that beauty is subjective, that we all have different types of beauty, and we have to work every day to develop our best version, and that true beauty is your essence, your values, and your principles. Miss International is an opportunity to demonstrate at a global level that there are no intercultural barriers, and that despite the fact that many of us do not speak the same language or do not have the same culture or traditions, we do speak the same language of love, respect, transparency, and integrity. This year, Japan and Ecuador are celebrating 100 years of perpetual peace and friendship and what better way than to celebrate it here with you. I thank you all and the Miss International organization for the wonderful opportunity to get to know your country, for teaching us the real meaning of sharing, and especially for promoting the message of peace, love, respect, and integration between one another.
Bianca Tirsin, Romania
I am tremendously honoured to stand in front of you today. This day serves as a reminder of how far Miss International beauty pageant has come and also a reminder of the road ahead. I want to thank Miss International organization for hospitality, kindness, and a great experience. From Miss International experience I learned that the main purpose is to teach the young generation to respect their culture and centuries old traditions, their own work and the work of others. I am a student at the university of business, but above this, I and dedicated to education. I have achieved over the last 4 years experience with children and teenagers promoting culture, healthy lifestyle, and career development because I believe that the key [inaudible] to change lives and development is education and I know that children’s education not just empowers people but communities and economics. Education of the children depends on mothers, women. Women transmit values and attitudes that can change the world. A happy mother, untouched by violence, she is braver, untouched by human rights. And this is the fuel to my fire, the reason I am so committed to this cause is where my passion, my country stands for. If I will become Miss International 2018, I will be the voice of the voiceless to need this culture of impunity because I believe that education is the most powerful weapon that we can use to change the world.
Hinano Sugimoto, Japan
As women we have love and power in our hearts. No matter what others say, we are strong. I am a student major in Physics, and in this field, only a few women are active. I’ve always struggled with the fact that it is difficult for women to succeed in this field. But should we succumb to the environment? Definitely not. If I’m honored to become Miss International, I [will] pursue my dream to be a researcher and also, I have a dream to be a shining star for every woman to realize that you can do something [that] you love no matter how difficult things are. Because that’s what Miss International should be: not only beautiful, but also a role model, give courage, and dream to the world. I am standing here and strongly believe this is what my role is.