The English-Speaking Union

News And Events

Chairman's September Newsletter

A Message from Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper

Dear Friends,

It is with excitement – and deep gratitude – that I welcome you to this new program year. We will be building on the remarkable achievements of 2022-2023, made possible thanks to the unwavering dedication and collective efforts of the entire ESU community. The commitment, support and participation of all of you – our Board, Branch leadership, members and friends have been instrumental in transforming aspirations into accomplishments.

This past year was punctuated by three extraordinary events that etched their mark in the annals of our organization's history. Each milestone we reached was a reflection of our shared vision and determination.

Last October we welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to the ESU – the first visit by a member of the Royal Family in nearly forty years. The Gala was a triumph in more ways than one, particularly after it had been cancelled twice due to Covid. We persevered and succeeded. I don't recall a fundraiser bringing in more talent, time and treasure in many, many years.

Another standout accomplishment was the successful return of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition to Lincoln Center in New York. We had an overwhelmingly positive response from students, teachers, and, for the first time, students' families, who were invited to participate. The weekend was so successful that going forward we are determined to amplify our efforts to ensure that more students' families and friends, ESU Board members, Branch leaders and members take part in this thrilling event.

We also brought back the National Patron Tours – a long-standing tradition of engaging our most generous members through exclusive experiences of cultural enrichment, educational exploration, and unforgettable adventures. The celebration of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition's 40th anniversary aboard Queen Mary 2 and in and around London this past July was hugely successful. It was sold out within a month and exceeded even the highest expectations. "Loved it!", "wonderful," "excellent" and "fantastic" were some of the words of praise our intrepid travelers used to describe their experience.

Our other programs also flourished with the Luard Morse, TLab and SSE scholarships, the Evelyn Wrench Speaker Series and the Annual General Conference back in person with more Branches taking part. And as our members again start to meet face to face for local events, they have also embraced the national programs offered virtually such as the Happy Hour Lectures and the new English in Action Across America program that pairs English language learners with ESU member tutors. Through these virtual programs, we bridge geographical barriers and foster a sense of community.

I hope you'll agree with me that the ESU is in a new, better place today than where it was at the onset of the pandemic. We haven't just endured – we've thrived. And I personally find it wonderfully exciting to be part of this new life in our organization. I hope you feel the same.

There is a lot to look forward to in 2024 as we continue on this upward trajectory. 

On October 20 to 22 we will all convene in Kansas City, MS, for the 2023 Annual General Conference. Hosted by the ESU Kansas City Branch under the leadership of Mr. Ben Martin, Branch President, and Mr. Jeff Schnabel, former ESU National Board member, the conference, titled "Blueprint for Growth: Unity of Purpose," will discuss innovative approaches to organizational growth in the ESU's second century of service. The conference program will include the ESU 2023 Annual General Meeting, social events, including receptions and meals, breakout sessions, panel discussions, and exciting local tours.

Kansas City itself stands as a remarkable tourist destination offering a diverse array of attractions and experiences. Known for its barbecue, jazz heritage and vibrant downtown, Kansas City seamlessly combines urban sophistication with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

The ESU Annual General Conference is a wonderful opportunity to connect with - and learn from - fellow members. If you are not an ESU member or have yet to renew your membership this year, I encourage you to seize this moment to do so and be a part of this enriching experience. Your active participation and membership support are invaluable to the ESU community.

With the active support of the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship alumni, we have launched a campaign to ensure that the scholarship program continues and grows. The campaign's goal is to raise enough funds to augment the dedicated endowment fund and provide support for more scholarships. For those of you unfamiliar with the program, the ESU Luard – and since 2012 – Luard Morse Scholarships is one of the ESU's most cherished programs. The $25,000 scholarship offers students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) the unique opportunity to study at a British University of their choice during their junior year. Since 1969, the Scholarship has provided a transformative experience to eighty-eight extraordinary individuals who have become trailblazers in business, government, academia and the arts.

In April we will again gather in New York for the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. Building upon the tremendous success of the 2023 event, we will create another unforgettable weekend. We hope even more families, ESU members, and friends will join us in celebrating the power of Shakespeare's works and the talent and dedication of our young performers.

In June we will celebrate the ESU Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center's 10th anniversary. The Center offers recently arrived immigrants – many of them educated professionals in their native countries - a home-like setting where they can improve their English, learn about American culture, and get guidance to achieve professional and personal success in the U.S. Since its founding, the Center has welcomed and helped more than 2,000 newcomers to America.

A new National Patron Tour, this time in Italy, is also in the works. It will take us to the setting of some of Shakespeare's most captivating plays. Our resident Shakespeare expert will again be Professor Catherine Loomis who was universally praised by all participants in the anniversary Bard's Queens on Board transatlantic crossing and tour this past July. Dr. Loomis's lectures during the Shakespeare in Italy tour will transport us to the heart of Shakespeare's inspiration as we explore Italy's culture through the lens of the Bard's genius.

Finally, I would like to share with you a personally exciting piece of news about a project that is very dear to my heart. Classical Shindig, a book that Michael and I have been working on for the past three years, has finally found its way into the world. In it, Michael and I share our passion for style and our love of bringing people together. The volume is full of photos of our New Orleans Garden District home and the many parties for friends, family and charities we've hosted there. 

The ESU features prominently on the book's pages, from the virtual 2020 centennial gala and the October 2022 gala in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, the tea parties celebrating Christmas and HM Queen Elizabeth's birthday and the Bach and Rach celebration of the ESU's centennial in New Orleans.

We hold the hope that the book will serve as an inspiration to its readers, igniting their creativity for their own future gatherings. We also see this book as an introduction to our organization and a record of significant milestones within its most recent history.

Classical Shindig has also a charitable purpose – we will donate a portion of all sales made on our website ( to the ESU. Please use the code ESUCS to activate the donation.

I invite you to the upcoming virtual Happy Hour on September 13, 2023 at 6 pm ET, when Michael and I will share stories from the book. We also look forward to seeing many of you face-to-face as we visit our Branches in Memphis, TN (September 7-8); New Bern, NC (September 17); and Winter Park, FL (January 30, 2024) that are generously hosting in-person book-signing parties. A trip to Paris, France, will allow us to meet our friends there on October 6, 2023. And in the spring we've planned trips to New York, Greenwich CT, and Denver CO.

Dear friends, I invite you to seize the multitude of opportunities in the coming year to re-engage with fellow members and take advantage of the enriching experiences that await us. As we gather, learn, and celebrate together, let's reaffirm our commitment to the ideals that the ESU upholds and continue to strengthen the bonds that make our community so unique.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

With best regards,

Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union

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September Happy Hour: Classical Shindig with ESU Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold

Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 6 PM (ET) 

Classical Shindig with ESU Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper and Michael Harold

The English-Speaking Union Salutes Coronations and UK Memories

Make the acquaintance of two of New Orleans' most beloved hosts and concert pianists, Michael and Quinn, who sure do know their shindigs. From seasonal celebrations to iconic book clubs to lavish parties for friends, family, and charities, both local and national, Michael and Quinn have seen, done, and decorated it all. Join us for our next ESU Happy Hour Wednesday, September 13, 2023 at 6:00 pm EDT when Quinn and Michael share stories from their new book, Classical Shindig: Amateur Artistry: From the Simple to the Sublime. This Happy Hour is sponsored by the ESU New Orleans Branch.

Register Here

Enjoy the pairs' authentic sense of style and design in their lush home and garden while exploring the joys of throwing unique and personal events. The pages are filled with hundreds of delightful photographs captured by twelve renowned Southern photographers that showcase the abundance of Michael and Quinn's New Orleans Garden District home. Come away with hosting, interior design, and entertaining tips and tricks that even an amateur can execute. Classical Shindig: Amateur Artistry from the Simple to the Sublime is complete with more than sixty recipes for every occasion, QR codes for recorded movements of their concertos given in support of community causes, illustrations by acclaimed artists Paul Cox and Tug Rice, and delightful stories all the way from Mississippi County, Arkansas, to the oak-lined streets of New Orleans. Between adventures in piano concerti with orchestras and entertaining New Orleans' natives. The British monarchy, and everyone in between—there's nothing these two won't do to celebrate their love of food, music, and people. 

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To buy a copy of "Classical Shindig"

Go to and use the promotional code ESUCS

A portion of the sale will be donated to The English-Speaking Union of the United States

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Our Next Happy Hour: The Kennedys in England with Dr. Barbara Perry

Wednesday, August 16, 2023 at 5 PM (ET) 

The Kennedys in England with Dr. Barbara Perry

The English-Speaking Union Salutes Coronations and UK Memories

Dr. Barbara Perry, presidential scholar, acclaimed author, and Kennedy family biographer, will tell us how one of America's most historic dynasties experienced the height of political and social achievement in pre-war London only to see their dreams dashed by diplomatic missteps and the tragedies of wartime casualties. This Happy Hour is sponsored by the ESU Central Florida Branch. All ESU Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and Friends of ESU. 

Learn More Register Here

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A Special Happy Hour of Coronation Tributes and UK Memories

Wednesday, June 28, 2023 at 5 PM (ET) 

A Special ESU Happy Hour of Coronation Tributes and UK Memories

Hosted by The ESU Happy Hour Committee

The English-Speaking Union Salutes Coronations and UK Memories

Please join us for a special ESU Happy Hour as ESU Branches across America and a few friends from across the pond share their Coronation events and tributes to a King and Queen. 

ESU members and Friends of ESU will be sharing a few short stories, videos, Coronation events, greetings, and memorabilia as a tribute to King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II.  

Photos from the King's Coronation Celebration held by ESU Chairman, Dr. Quinn Peeper at the Pass Christian Yacht Club along with a few photos taken at his home in Pass Christian, Mississippi will also be part of this fun ESU Happy Hour.

We will share tributes during our Happy Hour on June 28 at 5:00 pm EDT.

If you have questions about the June 28th ESU Happy Hour Program, please contact Karen Blair-Brand at . 

All ESU Happy Hours are free, and all ESU members and Friends of ESU are welcome to attend. Please register for the Zoom link.

Register Here

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Chairman's June Newsletter

A Message from Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper

Dear Friends,

In just a short week we start a new program year at the English-Speaking Union. This is the time when I invite all our current members to renew their membership  and consider upgrading to the National Patron level if you are not a Patron yet. 

But with this letter, I would also like to extend a special invitation to those who have experienced the ESU's remarkable programs and initiatives but are yet to join – our TLab, Luard Morse and Secondary School Exchange scholars, the families of our ESU National Shakespeare Competition participants, the ESU volunteers, our ARNIC and English in Action alumni and everyone else who has been touched by the ESU. 

This year, we've embarked on a focused effort to expand the ESU's membership base to new constituencies and introduce new audiences to the joy and fulfillment of being part of our union. This effort stems from the discussions during the 2022 Annual General Conference about growth at the ESU. The conversations were inspired by ESU consultant Rev. Renee LiaBraaten's presentation on "Setting the Stage for Growth" which pointed to untapped opportunities to engage new generations in our mission.

To our scholars, students, volunteers, families and friends who are not yet members – you are these new generations that we want to welcome and engage as new members and leaders of the English-Speaking Union.

You are already ESU's friends. You've felt directly the impact of the ESU's educational programs and understand the value they bring to society. It is time to join as members!

You possess invaluable first-hand experience and insights that make your participation in the organization so important. By joining as members, you will contribute your unique perspectives, ideas, and resources, enriching the ESU's offerings and furthering its mission. Your direct experience with the programs enables you to provide helpful feedback and suggestions for improvement, ensuring that the ESU continues to meet the evolving needs of society. Your involvement as members will strengthen our community and expand the network of individuals passionate about the English language, cultural exchange, and cross-cultural understanding.

To our current members – you stayed with us during the hard times of the pandemic. It should be a much easier decision to continue your ESU membership now when we can again fully experience the pleasure of meeting old friends and making new ones, of being challenged by interesting ideas and stimulating experiences, of engaging in a dialogue with people from around the world.

With the official end of the Covid-19 pandemic and the return to in-person activities, we are offering many compelling reasons to be part of the ESU. Festive gatherings in your local Branch, exciting lectures by extraordinary ESU Evelyn Wrench and Happy Hour lecturers, and stimulating educational experiences through the ESU TLab for Lifelong Learners program. The upcoming ESU Annual General Conference in Kansas City, MS, October 20-22 will offer unique opportunities to meet other English language and culture enthusiasts, allowing for enriching conversations and memorable experiences.

Your membership supports also the national educational and cultural exchange programs too, which are also back in full swing. The ESU National Shakespeare Competition celebrated its 40th year with in-person finals in New York City; Secondary School Exchange, Teachers Learning Abroad (TLab) and Luard Morse scholars are traveling to the U.K. for their studies and middle-schoolers are debating in person as part of the ESU Middle School Debate program.

That's why the ESU needs all of you – new and returning members. But it needs you even more as National Patrons.

The elevated National Patron membership is vital not only to the national programs. Since half of the Patron's dues go back to the Branches, Patrons strengthen their Branch's programs too - from sponsoring a TLab scholar to sending a student to New York for the National Shakespeare Competition, to supporting local charities, to hosting in-person local events.

We are deeply grateful to our National Patrons and we seize every opportunity to recognize their leadership. Prominent listing of their names in the ESU annual report and on the website shows that they hold a special place of honor within our organization. At the 2023 Annual General Conference in Kansas City, MS, we will spotlight their contributions at the traditional exclusive ESU National Patron event and devote time during the conference to recognize their impact.

We also brought back the National Patron Tours to enhance our Patrons' engagement with the ESU community. This year, a once-in-a-lifetime transatlantic crossing on Queen Mary 2, followed by a bespoke tour in and around London from July 7 to 17 will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. And next summer, I hope you will join us on another unforgettable journey in Italy through the settings of some of Shakespeare's plays. This voyage will transport you to the very locations that inspired such masterpieces as Romeo and JulietTaming of the Shrew, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and more.

The English-Speaking Union is a place where cultures are bridged, ideas are exchanged, friendships are formed and new horizons are opened up through the power of the English language. Many extraordinary experiences at the ESU are in store for us this coming year and I hope you will be part of themI invite you to become a member and join the ranks of the ESU National Patrons if you are not a Patron yet. 

Let's make this year a year of growth at the ESU.

With best regards,

Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union

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