TNKR English Speech Contest #9
Deadline for applications: January 3, 2019
Orientation: January 5, 2019 from 2-4 pm at TNKR
Speech contest: February 23, 2019 from 2-5 pm at the Shin and Kim office


* Apply at the TNKR volunteer page: (Select “Tutoring/Coaching”). Application are due January 3, 2019. In your resume, you can introduce why you will be a wonderful mentor, citing your experience or other reasons.

* Orientation first: To be considered a Speech Coach Mentor for this contest, you must apply, be invited to attend the January 5th orientation, and then go through the orientation with TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue Jr. Before that, avoid discussing the contest with potential contestants. We also don’t want refugees feeling pressured to join the contest because of an eager volunteer (it has happened).

* RSVP: The Speech Contest orientation will be held January 5, 2019 from 2 pm at the TNKR office near Gwangheungchang. Only applicants who have gone through the orientation process and been approved will be invited to participate as speech coach mentors. All potential speech coach mentors are required to attend the orientation and to submit all required documents in advance.


One refugee per speech coach mentor: In TNKR, we usually welcome volunteers working with multiple refugees. The speech contest is different. This is to prevent volunteers who are in contact with more than one refugee from discussing the contest other contestants. Please recognize that some of the refugees get intimidated when they hear about other speakers or they begin to focus too much on what others will are doing.

This is a contest: People can approach the contest with a competitive spirit. However, note that some of the refugees have become nervous leading up to the contest, so we don’t want to cause them further discomfort.. Some have complained about the judging process, about coaches talking to other refugees about their speeches, and even about volunteers telling them about other contestants. All volunteers and contestants must practice professionalism

Submit reports: Just as with tutor reports, keep us updated about mentoring sessions.

Mentoring sessions: Speech Coach Mentors will have six weeks to work with refugees in helping them get prepared for the contest. Be prepared to meet with a refugee, at a minimum, every other week, or three times in six weeks.


Time limit: 10 minutes. Judges have the discretion to deduct points or disqualify any speakers exceeding the 10 minute time limit.

English: All speeches must be conducted in English.

Assistance at contest: Speech Coach Mentors are encouraged to assist refugees with props or PowerPoint presentations during the speech contest. This must be communicated in English

Dress code: Professional, of course.


Rubric: A rubric will be provided for the refugees in both English and Korean, and an English language version will also be provided for judges. This was designed by TNKR volunteer James Maxwell Milne and translated by TNKR volunteer Lee Eunkoo.

Ruling: The decisions of the judges are irreversible and made without input from TNKR leadership. Contest judges have complete authority to rule. The Chief Judge of the contest, as chosen by the judges, can choose to address the audience and explain their decision-making process after the contest has ended.


Ask TNKR’s directors: In the past, volunteers have asked each other questions, but it turned out that others sometimes weren’t aware of rules and expectations for the contest. If you have a question, contact TNKR’s directors to receive the correct answers to your questions.

English: This contest and all mentoring must be conducted in English.

Photos and recordings: Some speakers have very good reasons not to reveal their identities or to be identified publicly as being from North Korea. During the contest, please help us police for people who want to sneak a photo of the refugees (it has happened). We will begin the contest with speakers who must shield their faces, then the final speakers will be fine with photos. No video or audio recording is allowed except by authorized TNKR staff.

* Learning Process: We want speakers to develop their main ideas on their own. After the contest, we can do a “before” and “after” to see how much they have improved and demonstrate the development in their speeches. This learning exercise won’t be possible if volunteers help refugees from the beginning. We have also informed contestants about this. We also want them to have the sense of accomplishment that others have felt when they submitted original speeches on their own.