February Happy Hour: An Ancient and Global History of the Book
Wednesday, February 7, 2024 at 4 PM (ET)
An Ancient and Global History of the Book with Professor James Raven
Sponsored by the ESU Central PA Branch
As James Raven writes, "perhaps we think we know what a book is—it has a cover and a spine and it's usually printed. It might be illustrated and it's usually read, although sometimes not all the way through. But over many thousands of years, books have come in many different material forms and have served many different purposes. What, in fact, is a book? In this richly illustrated talk, Professor Raven takes us from the earliest inscribed shells, stones, and clay tablets through to knotted strings, buffalo hides, illuminated manuscripts, printed codices, and the modern digital age. This global journey invites comparisons between materials such as papyrus, silk, bamboo, and plant leaves, and explores different ways of creating texts by writing, painting, imprinting, and digitizing. In review of all this, he asks what will happen to the book in the future and challenges us to think about wider sensory aspects of the reading experience. This ESU Happy Hour is sponsored by the ESU Central PA Branch. ESU Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and the public. Registration is required. Please register here.
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January Happy Hour: Potatoes are not Irish with Dr. Robin Sinclair
Wednesday, January 17, 2024 at 6 PM (ET)
Potatoes are not Irish, Tomatoes are not Italian, Tea is not English or Why We Play Bagpipes at 9/11 Memorials with Dr. Robin Sinclair
Potatoes are not Irish, tomatoes are not Italian, tea is not English, or why we play bagpipes at 9/11 Memorials. Between the 15th and 17th centuries, European sailors traversed the globe in search of riches, glory, and new trade routes to East Asia. Historians refer to this period as the Age of Exploration, or the Age of Discovery. During this time, European explorers made daring voyages that changed world history. These discoveries caused ideas, technology, plants, and animals to be exchanged around the world. This ESU Happy Hour is sponsored by the Nashville Branch. ESU Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and the public. Registration is required. Please click here to register:
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Chairman's December Newsletter
A Message from Chairman Dr. Quinn Peeper
As we gather with loved ones to celebrate the joyous holiday season, I extend my warmest wishes. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Reflecting on the past twelve months, our ESU community reached remarkable milestones that truly defined our commitment to bringing people together, forging friendships and unlocking opportunities through the power of the English language.
This past year was punctuated by four national 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.
ESU Gala, Photo by Joy Malone
In October 2022 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 canceled twice due to Covid. Her Royal Highness' visit was among the proudest moment in the ESU's history.
2023 National Shakespeare Competition Semifinalists
The ESU National Shakespeare Competition made a triumphant return for its 40th edition to Lincoln Center in New York City – an inspiring step forward after the challenges posed by the pandemic. Your resilience and dedication made this event not just another competition, but a celebration of the enduring power of Shakespeare's words and the profound impact of this venerable ESU program on generations of students.
In July we also embarked on a successful National Patron Tour – a long-standing tradition of engaging our most generous members through cultural enrichment and unforgettable adventures. The transatlantic crossing aboard Queen Mary II, and tour in and around London allowed us to immerse ourselves in the cultural tapestry that binds us together. Such experiences enrich our understanding and strengthen the global connections fostered by the ESU.
Members of the ESU Board on board the Queen Mary II
In October, the Annual General Conference in Kansas City, MO, was another resounding success, bringing together members from around the country for a weekend of substantive discussions, social and cultural activities, and warm camaraderie. This event exemplified the strength of our community and the meaningful connections forged during these gatherings.
Tour of the WWI Museum at the Annual General Conference
I want to thank you for your invaluable contributions to these remarkable milestones. It is through your collective dedication and unwavering support that the ESU continues to thrive.
Looking ahead, I am thrilled to announce more exciting endeavors.
On June 20, we will mark ten years since the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center became an integral part of the English-Speaking Union. Over the past decade, ARNIC has become the centerpiece of our immigrant programs. It is a beacon of hope and opportunity for new immigrants, offering resources and support to rebuild their lives in the U.S.
ARNIC students at the 2023 potluck
The theme of this special evening will be "A House of Immigrants: Celebrating Ten Years of Impact and Immigrant Success" – a tribute to the program's founder and benefactor Dr. Andrew Romay's dream to create a welcoming home for newcomers to America. To honor his vision, we will host this year's event at the ESU House, highlighting its warm and supportive environment. The event will include the graduation of the new cohort of ARNIC students as they embark on the next chapter of their journeys.
The evening's program will also recognize the many of you who have been part of the Center's success. Awards will be presented including the ARNIC Alumni Award for exceptional dedication, resilience and contribution to both their community and their chosen field; a Volunteer Award honoring those among you who have selflessly given their time and expertise; and a Partnership Award acknowledging the collaborative efforts that have enriched the ARNIC community.
This celebration will allow us to showcase the program's profound impact not only on the lives of its beneficiaries but also on the dedicated volunteers who have contributed to its success. A formal announcement will be going out soon and I welcome all of you to join us in commemorating a decade of transformative support, resilience and the shared journey of building successful lives in the U.S
2023 ARNIC Thanksgiving
In the spring, we eagerly anticipate a joyous reunion and celebration of the ESU Luard Morse Scholarships community, an event that promises to be a testament to the lasting impact of education and cultural exchange. This celebration will also mark the capstone of a fundraising campaign aimed at bolstering the Scholarships endowment. Your support will be pivotal in bringing us closer to this goal, and I am confident that together, we can make a lasting impact on the lives of aspiring scholars.
In April 2024, the National Shakespeare Competition will once again take center stage, bringing forth a new wave of talent and passion to Lincoln Center in New York City. After a brief hiatus, five ESU branches are rejoining the competition. And in even more exciting news, I am delighted to announce that for the first time ever, we are planting the flag of the competition in three new states, allowing students in these regions to embrace the beauty of Shakespeare's words. This expansion embodies our commitment to making the transformative experience of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition accessible to even more young minds across the nation.
The ESU 2024 National Patron tour "Palladio and Shakespeare in the Veneto" will take us on a journey through time and literature as we explore some iconic places that served as the backdrop for Shakespeare's most important plays. Our Italian host, art historian Count Stefano Aluffi-Pentini, founder and CEO of A Private View of Italy, will offer us an unparalleled experience.
Thanks to Count Aluffi-Pentini's long-time friendships with the families that own some of the residences designed by Andrea Palladio, our group will have unparalleled access to private villas and hidden treasures scattered across the picturesque Veneto landscapes. Participants in "Palladio and Shakespeare in the Veneto" will have the extraordinary opportunity to meet a couple of these owners who, as stewards of a remarkable heritage, will graciously share their insights, stories, and family legacies, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the journey. I hope some of you will join us on this extraordinary voyage. For more information about the tour and how to sign up please contact Rossana Ivanova at email@example.com, (862) 224-4244.
As I extend warm holiday wishes to you and your loved ones, I want to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation to all of you who make up our ESU community.
To the members of the ESU National Board, your unwavering support and guidance have been the bedrock of our success. Your commitment to our mission is truly inspiring, and I am grateful for your wisdom and dedication.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to our ESU Branch leaders, volunteers and members who generously give of themselves to make our programs and initiatives flourish. Your passion and tireless efforts are the driving force behind the impact we create, and it is an honor to stand alongside such a dedicated community.
Lastly, big thanks to the ESU staff – your tireless work behind the scenes, your dedication and commitment to excellence are the gears that keep the ESU engine running smoothly. I am grateful for the professionalism and enthusiasm you bring to your roles.
Dear friends, as we stand on the threshold of December, a month steeped in tradition and a spirit of giving, I am reminded of the profound significance of the holidays. It is a time when time-honored traditions come to life, and we find joy in showing appreciation and support for what's important to us. In the spirit of these festive traditions, I invite you to make a gift to ensure the continued impact of the English-Speaking Union.
Just as we come together to celebrate the holidays, let us also unite in support of the values and mission that bind us as a community. Your generosity, whether through financial contributions or active participation, plays a crucial role in fostering global understanding, goodwill and opportunity through the power of the English language. Your continued support will ensure that our organization continues to thrive, making a positive difference in the lives of individuals and communities.
Wishing you a season filled with the joy of shared moments and the satisfaction that comes from supporting what truly matters.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
With best regards,
Dr. E. Quinn Peeper
The English-Speaking Union
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December Happy Hour: The Dark Secret Behind Charles Dickens' Christmas Tales with Andrew Halls
Wednesday, December 13, 2023 at 5 PM (ET)
The Dark Secret Behind Charles Dickens' Christmas Tales with Andrew Halls
When Charles Dickens died, a child famously asked if this meant Father Christmas would die, too. Such was the power of Dickens' grip on the popular imagination, the Christmas season almost seemed his own creation. Dickens inspired millions with visions of a glowing, holly-strewn celebration, rich in sentiment and good cheer, underpinned by recurrent themes of memory, loss and redemption. These Christmas tales held secrets, dark secrets, personal to their author, too. In this talk, Andrew Halls explores Dickens' Christmas Books and Christmas Stories, showing that some of the most beloved tales of 19th century England and America contain unsettling insights into the mind, motives, and desires of one of the most popular, most known - and yet most hidden - novelists in history. This ESU Happy Hour is sponsored by the Cleveland Branch.
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