Chairman's March Newsletter
Just two weeks ago, as I was thinking about my next letter to you, I was excited about the approaching spring and the magic of new beginnings that it brings. But this feeling of optimism and hope for sunny skies and new experiences has been overshadowed by the disturbing events in Ukraine, a country that hosts one of our sister English-Speaking Unions.
We deplore the destruction of Ukraine and we stand in solidarity with our colleagues at ESU Ukraine and with the entire nation of Ukraine. We disavow the tactics of war and call for the protection of lives during this conflict. We strongly support the Ukrainian people's fight to protect democracy and are hopeful that a peaceful resolution will be reached before long.
As an organization created out of the ashes of WWI and committed to fostering peace and global understanding through the use of the English language, the ESU of the United States is providing direct aid to ESU Ukraine and symbolically dedicating our programs this spring to an independent, peaceful and democratic Ukraine.
The ESU National Shakespeare Competition has been underway in ESU Branches across the country to select the semi-finalists who will vie for the top prize on April 25, 2022. Even a global deadly pandemic has been unable to stop the power and influence of the Bard on young adults. The Competition endures despite the challenges, thanks to the ESU Branches, teachers, students, judges, and staff embracing technology to carry the program through in a way that is safe and effective, until we can all meet in person.
I know you'll agree with me that the ESU National Shakespeare Competition is so beloved because it faithfully reflects everything the ESU stands for and aspires to. The Competition educates and inspires, it brings young people together and challenges them to understand and embrace one of the world's greatest bodies of literature – the works of William Shakespeare. And it allows us, the ESU members, to be part of these young people's journeys and to nurture and cheer their progress.
The appeal of the program shows in the rising numbers of Branches coming back after skipping the 2020-2021 season. I'm delighted to announce that this year we are just five ESU Branches shy of our pre-pandemic number of participating Branches. After missing the 2021 Competition, five ESU Branches came back with the encouragement and support of Program Director Betty Trevino-Roth and the rest of the staff who have guided the Branches in mounting their virtual local rounds.
Read the full newsletter on the next page, or download the newsletter here.
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ESU Evelyn Wrench Speaker Program
SIR CHRISTOPHER HUM, KCMG
Former British Ambassador to China
Wednesday, March 16 at 6 PM EDT
We are thrilled to welcome Sir Christopher Hum, KCMG and former British Ambassador to China, to the ESU Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan for this delightful evening. A prolific and widely-admired lecturer, Sir Christopher will share with us his insider's look at China's geopolitical future with his lecture, Will China Rule the World?
On his first visit to China, during the tumult of the Cultural Revolution, Christopher Hum watched Chairman Mao receive the adoration of his Red Guards. He lived there in all for ten years, as a diplomat and as British Ambassador between 2002 and 2005, and had a ringside seat as China turned into the superpower it is today. What role does China aspire to play in the international community? Threat or opportunity? Will China rule the world?
$20 for ESU members
$25 for non-ESU members
Note: This will be an in-person event at the English-Speaking Union, located at 144 E 39th Street, New York, NY 10016. The event will be held at 6 pm EDT.
Seats are limited for this event. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required for entry. Masks will be required at all times during the event.
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Solidarity with Ukraine
"As we witness the destabilization and destruction of Ukraine, we stand in solidarity with our colleagues at ESU Ukraine, and with the entire nation of Ukraine. We disavow the tactics of war and call for the protection of lives during this conflict. We strongly support the Ukrainian people's fight to protect democracy and are hopeful that a peaceful resolution will be reached immediately. The ESU of the United States is currently using our resources to provide direct aid to the Ukraine Branch of the organization."
- Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
Chairman of the English-Speaking Union of the United States
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A Message from our Chairman
For more than a century now, the ESU's success and staying power have been grounded in all of us – members, program participants, friends and supporters – having a strong interest and voice in the future of our Union. That's why as Chairman I've taken it upon myself to keep in touch with you regularly to bring important news and find out what's on your mind. After all, if the English-Speaking Union is all about communication and free exchange of ideas, should we not talk to each other more?
As Chairman, I promise to keep you abreast of what is happening at the ESU, through letters such as this one. I do hope that you, too, will freely share your thoughts with me.
Taking up a theme from our most recent Annual General Conference when we celebrated the individuals who have shaped our organization, I will start with the announcement that H.E. Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE was unanimously appointed Chairman Emeritus of the ESU by the ESU Board of Directors during its most recent meeting on January 20, 2022. Dr. Beresford-Hill is one of the extraordinary leaders who have left an indelible mark on the ESU. He has served the organization and the ESU Board of Directors with distinction and excellence and his contributions have touched every aspect of our organization.
A visionary, philanthropist, and a man of action, Dr. Beresford-Hill counts among his accomplishments the establishment of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition, arguably the most beloved of all ESU educational programs; the expansion of the ESU's international reach through closer ties with our counterparts across the world; and his success in refocusing the organization on its original purpose and culture.
By appointing Dr. Beresford-Hill Chairman Emeritus, the ESU Board of Directors gratefully recognizes his many years of outstanding service and commitment to the advancement of the ESU's mission. We are indebted to Paul for his impressive legacy and we hope that he will continue to play an active role in our Union.
I also have the distinct pleasure of announcing the 2022 Luard Morse Scholarship recipient: Mr. Shang Andrews of Potomac Falls, VA, is a student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. Under the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship, Mr. Andrews has been awarded up to $25,000 to study for a semester at the British university of his choice.
In 1969, the English-Speaking Union Board of Directors created the merit-based Luard Scholarship with a bequest from the Lucy Dalbiac Luard Fund, to enable a student from a historically black college or university to spend their junior year at a British university. The ESU Board's decision to establish a scholarship for black college students came after consultations with education and civil rights experts and was a remarkably forward-thinking step in the 1960s. The Luard Scholarship, renamed the Luard Morse Scholarship in 2012 to recognize one of the program's most distinguished and generous alumni, Dr. Laurence C. Morse, is perhaps the oldest program of its kind in the U.S. and has served as a springboard to success for the best and brightest of American undergraduate students.
With the pandemic's retreat and gradual reopening of borders, the program is again sending scholars abroad. After a six-month delay, the 2021-2022 Luard Morse Scholar, Mr. George Pratt, a sophomore at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, just took his residency at the University of Manchester, where he will continue his studies in religion and history. Mr. Shang Andrews, the 2022-2023 Scholar, plans to complete his scholarship semester in the spring of 2023.
We all wish George and Shang a wonderful time in the U.K. and success in all their future endeavors.
The pandemic put on hold another popular ESU program – the Evelyn Wrench Speaker Series. I'm sure that you will be delighted to hear that the lectures will resume in March 2022 with Sir Christopher Hum as the first guest speaker. Having spent some 18 years of his diplomatic career working in or on China, including as former U.K. Ambassador there, Sir Christopher has in-depth knowledge of Chinese affairs. We are delighted at the opportunity to welcome him to our Branches for an insightful discussion on contemporary geopolitics and the relationship between China and the world at large.
I'm also pleased to share with you the 2021-2022 Multicultural Cookbook, compiled by the ESU Immigrant Programs staff. On its pages, ESU immigrant students, volunteers, teachers, members and staff share cherished recipes and the memories and traditions they represent. I'm pleased that it also includes a no-fail fish recipe that Michael and I have served to our book club. It has always been highly appreciated.
The cookbook started as a way to make our immigrant students more connected to one another in the absence of the traditional ESU Thanksgiving dinner. In its second year, it is becoming a tradition on its own and I'm sure you'll agree with me that it reflects the joy, vibrancy and diversity that our immigrant program brings to the ESU.
And finally, we've been in touch with the Buckingham Palace following HRH The Princess Royal's decision to postpone her appearance at the ESU's January 12 Gala. The Palace has assured us that the ESU will get priority in rescheduling the engagement, given all the work that has already been put into it. We are looking at a date in early fall to makes sure that the pandemic is firmly in retreat on both sides of the Atlantic. I will be sharing the news about the new date as soon as we hear from Her Royal Highness.
In conclusion, I would like to thank all of you for your continued participation in and support for the English-Speaking Union. And if there is anything you'd like to share with me – a question or a comment, an idea, criticism or praise – please write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'd love to hear from you.
With best regards,
Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union of the United States
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