The English-Speaking Union

News And Events

Chairman's January Newsletter

A Message from Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the New 2023!

May it bring you health, joy and countless wonderful experiences! And I hope that many of them will be alongside your fellow ESU members.

But first, I am delighted to announce the addition of four new members to our National Board of Directors: esteemed microbiologist and ESU Luard Morse Scholar (1978-79) Dr. Gregory W. Buck; board-certified psychiatrist and Medical Director at the Veterans Administration Medical Center Washington DC Dr. Mary R. Lee; PwC Cloud and Digital Strategy Partner Ms. Michelle C. Seale; and EVP, General Counsel and Head of Business Affairs at Hallmark Media Mr. Jon Sichel, who were elected to the Board at the Annual General Meeting in Charleston S.C. They are starting their service with the first Directors' meeting on January 26.

I am excited about them being part of the ESU National Board and I thank them for agreeing to serve to further the ESU's mission. They join a long legacy of excellence in the ESU's leadership and each brings unique skills, experience and perspectives to help our organization thrive. Join me in wishing them a successful and rewarding service!

In 2023 we will celebrate a big milestone – the ESU National Shakespeare Competition's 40th birthday. In this letter I would like to tell you about how we plan to mark this major occasion and invite you to join us in the festivities.

This year, for the first time since the pandemic, the ESU National Shakespeare Competition returns to New York with in-person national finals on Monday, April 24, 2023, at Lincoln Center. It will bring all semi-finalists together for an exciting weekend from Saturday, April 22, to Tuesday, April 25, encompassing the Bard's birthday.

Parents, teachers, Branch coordinators and leadership, as well as regular members, are invited to join the students in many of the activities and programs during this Competition weekend such as meals, a Broadway show, New York City tour, etc. We are offering a special Parents Package that includes complimentary access to selected group activities and some Parent/Chaperone-only events.

A cocktail reception on April 24, 2023, after the Competition, will gather program alumni and friends – participants, their families and teachers, current and former judges, etc. as well as, hopefully, a few celebrities from the theater world.

You are all invited to join. Please mark your calendars – a formal invitation with all the details will follow soon.

Besides making the 2023 ESU National Shakespeare Competition finals extra special, we are offering another unique opportunity to celebrate the ESU's National Shakespeare Competition's 40th birthday - a transatlantic crossing aboard RMS Queen Mary 2 and a one-of-a-kind tour in and around London, July 7-17, 2023.

Under the theme of The Bard's Queens on Board, the voyage will offer the perfect mix of intellectual stimulation, elegant travel and sheer fun in the company of old and new friends.

A group of twenty travelers will set sail from New York on July 7 aboard RMS Queen Mary 2 for a week at sea. During the crossing, Shakespeare expert and author Dr. Catherine Loomis, who will travel with us, will amuse and challenge us with engaging daytime lectures and evening conversations about all things Shakespeare seen through the prism of the women in his life and art.

On shore, we will delight in behind-the-scenes access to unique places and people made possible by the ESU's network of connections built over a century. The Bard's Queen's theme will continue with visits to Hever Castle, ancestral home to Anne Boleyn; Knole at Sevenoaks, home to young Mary Tudor, later Mary I; and Hatfield House, Queen Elizabeth I's favorite residence. At Knole and Hatfield House, we will be greeted by the owners who will share family stories that go back centuries and show us private rooms not generally open to the public.

On the program are also a performance at Shakespeare's Globe and visits to the National Portrait Gallery and the British Library where we will see the First Folio. Did you know that 2023 marks the First Folio's 400 birthday?

For the grand finale, we will celebrate the ESU National Shakespeare Competition's anniversary at Dartmouth House, home of our sister organization, the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth. We will tour this historic house, raise a toast in the Courtyard, and enjoy a sumptuous dinner in the Drawing Room, entertained by youth from the summer's Shakespeare competition, a newly launched program by Dartmouth House, inspired by our own Competition.

This voyage will be the first of our re-imagined exclusive tours to destinations and experiences connected to the ESU's history, programs and cultural traditions. In years past, the ESU had such a program. Some of my fondest memories – and strongest friendships – were forged during these ESU adventures. When I became Chairman, I vowed to bring these bespoke tours back, as a way to engage and thrill our most loyal supporters, celebrate our achievements and raise funds for the ESU's programs and activities.

The Bard's Queens on Board voyage will do all these things, magnificently. This will be a one-of-a-kind, "bucket-list" adventure. It is special because it will mark the ESU National Shakespeare Competition's 40th anniversary – on the heels of the ESU's Centennial. You can find details about the itinerary and how to sign up on the tour's website page.

Dear friends, we want 2023 to be a year that celebrates our resilience in the face of adversity and the return to normalcy when we again get together with friends and raise a toast to life and happiness. The ESU National Shakespeare Competition's 40th anniversary is a perfect occasion to do that. Come to the finals in New York City on April 24, and if it is on your wish list, join us for the Bard's Queens on Board tour. It will be an experience of a lifetime.

With best regards,

Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union

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Michayla George wins $25,000 in Scholarship to Study in England as the 2023-2024 ESU Luard Morse Scholar

New York City: Ms. Michayla George, a Business Major at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, has been selected as the recipient of an English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholarship. Karen Karpowich, Executive Director of the English-Speaking Union, announced the winner, noting that she will receive $25,000 toward a semester of study at any university of her choosing in the United Kingdom during the 2023-2024 academic year.

The English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholarship Committee is truly excited to announce Michayla George as the next Scholar. Michayla, a sophomore at Tennessee State University, represents the highest caliber of student-scholars our nation has to offer. The ESU is honored to support her educational efforts as she expands her horizons with this study-abroad opportunity. The Scholarship Committee and the ESU Luard Morse Alumni community joins me in wishing Michayla, and all the finalists and applicants, the very best." stated Darrell W. Hill, chair of the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship Committee.

Michayla intends to continue her study of Business Administration in the United Kingdom. Given her strong academic and leadership track record, we are confident that Michayla will excel during her semester abroad.

Ellison Richardson  Lanise Myers   Lorenzo Lugo

The ESU Luard Morse Scholarship Finalists included three other exceptional, sophomore students studying at HBCUs from across the United States: Ellison Richardson, a Political Science Major at Howard University, Lanise Myers, a Kinesiology Major at North Carolina A & T and Lorenzo Lugo, a Business Major at Morehouse College.  For the first time since Covid, the ESU was happy to welcome the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship Finalists back to interview at ESU National Headquarters in New York City. 

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Happy Hour: Port Wines with Dr. Phil Williams

Wednesday, January 11, 2023 at 5 PM (EDT)
Port Wines with Dr. Phil Williams

Take a journey with Dr. Phil Williams, President of the ESU Charlottesville Branch, and share a life-long fascination with Port wines, the nectar of the gods, and some of the grand stories which make it taste all the more wonderful. Whether one prefers White, Ruby, Tawny, Late Bottle Vintage, or Vintage Port, the history, politics, and traditions of Port are the stuff of legend.

"Be sometimes to your country true
Have once the public good in view
Bravely despise Champagne at Court
And choose to dine at home with Port." - Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) 

Dr. Henry P. (Phil) Williams III is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of World Politics in Washington, D.C. He also teaches in the International Relations department of Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey. He has received Degrees and Diplomas from Culver Military Academy, the Universities of Virginia, Edinburgh, and Florence, and a PhD in International Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School, Tufts University. He has worked on the Mediterranean for more than ten years of his life, including stints in Turkey doing Doctoral Research, Investment Banking, and university-level teaching. He also worked in Corporate Finance on Wall St. for many years. He has published scholarly articles on Ottoman and Turkish Law as well as his recent book, Turkey and America, East & West – Where the Twain Meet. He has authored many news articles on Turkey and spoken widely on Turkey's domestic and international affairs for many years.

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Chairman's December Newsletter

A Holiday Message from Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper

Dear friends,

As another year draws to a close, we are all in the midst of preparations for this festive season. It is a special time for all of us to enjoy the company of family and friends, count our blessings and reflect on everything that is right in this world.

2022, without a doubt, has been one of my most memorable years. The ESU's Board of Directors placed their trust in me to lead the organization just as the pandemic restrictions eased. We took full advantage of this opportunity to restart our in-person programs and re- engage our membership.

Thanks to our Branches' and members' generosity, the ESU Teachers Learning Abroad (TLab) program sent forty-five teachers to continue their education at top UK universities.
And fourteen students have just begun living and studying for the 2022/23 academic year in the UK & US.

2,500 students took part in the ESU Middle School Debate Program which teaches them to think critically, speak with confidence and attack the argument rather than the speaker.

350 immigrants from 58 countries and 352 volunteers, fluent English speakers, met for weekly English in Action conversations that give learners the gift of fluency and enrich the lives of our volunteers.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition held its 39th competition. The newly launched ESU Shakespeare Writing Program held contests that inspired and engaged middle and high school students who express their love of Shakespeare and the English language through creative and analytical writing.

After a delay due to COVID, the 2021-2022 ESU Luard Morse Scholar George Pratt took residency at the University of Manchester to study within the comparative religion and social anthropology departments. The 2022-2023 scholarship recipient Mr. Shang Andrews II from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will study computer science at Queen Mary University of London in 2023.

In-person Branch activities also resumed with lectures and celebrations across the country. I was fortunate to be part of a few of them and received the warmest of welcomes at the ESU's Branches in Louisville KY, Greenwich CT, Boston MA and New York when we celebrated Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's birthday and Platinum Jubilee in June.

And together with the entire world we deeply mourned Her Majesty's passing in early September.

The ESU 2022 Annual General Conference in Charleston, S.C., brought together our most enthusiastic and dedicated members for productive discussions about the ESU's future growth – and many wonderful moments of camaraderie and joy.

But 2022 will undoubtedly be remembered as the year when the ESU welcomed HRH The Princess Royal. Her Royal Highness' visit cast a spotlight on our extraordinary educational programs that have changed the lives of thousands of U.S. students, teachers, English language learners and ESU members. The spectacular Gala at the Cosmopolitan Club in the presence of The Princess Royal drew international media attention and elevated our organization's profile.

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you - our members, volunteers, donors, and friends - for your support and commitment.

To the National Board members, thank you for your dedication to the success of the ESU and for your work on the governance and health of the organization.

I also want to acknowledge the participation of our Branch leaders and volunteers who commit endless hours to make sure that our members and the beneficiaries of our programs have the opportunity to learn, grow and just have fun with the ESU.

Lastly, I want to thank the ESU staff for the effort and creativity they put in day in and day out to offer the most effective, engaging and rewarding programs that all of you enjoy.

Dear friends, December is also the month of giving and I believe it is because the holidays – the holy days – bring out the giver in all of us. The holidays are about tradition, showing appreciation and support for the good work that matters to us and that helps to make a "person's life work better," as The Princess Royal put it in her address at the ESU Gala.

I know the ESU matters to you. I know that you've experienced first-hand its impact – through its educational programs and social activities. Otherwise, why would you be part of it? Why would you be reading this letter?

That's why I invite you to give to our organization this holiday season. Please make a gift – no amount is too small and will make a huge difference. We have a great year ahead and your support matters enormously.

I hope this holiday season is an exceptionally good and safe one and that the New Year brings you much health, happiness and prosperity.

May these days be filled with joy, peace, and hope!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

With best regards,

Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear ESU Community,

Thanksgiving is an opportunity to reflect on whom and what we are grateful for. In this spirit, we want to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful things you do for ESU. Our organization is vibrant, relevant and impactful because of you! In the video below, you can listen to a special Thanksgiving greeting from the entire ESU staff.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Warmest regards,
Karen & the ESU staff

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