In just a short week, we start a new program year at the English-Speaking Union. With this letter, I invite you to renew your membership, and if you are not a member yet, to join our organization.
The past two long years of pandemic isolation posed extraordinary challenges to both our Branch and National programs. And yet, thanks to our members' loyalty and support, our work continued – from the virtual National Shakespeare Competition, to the online Happy Hour and Evelyn Wrench lectures, to the remote English classes and conversations for our immigrant students.
You stayed with us during the hard times.
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.
You, our members, are the English-Speaking Union. Your support enables the ESU's nationwide activities that will be back in person this year:
Your membership dues also underpin your Branch events – stimulating speaker programs, holiday receptions, special luncheons, film presentations, book discussions, and myriad activities that make participation in the ESU so rewarding.
I would be remiss, though, if I don't also invite you to join the ESU National Patron Program.
The generous membership gifts of the ESU National Patrons bolster some of the ESU's most revered programs, such as the ESU National Shakespeare Competition, the Secondary School Exchange, and the Evelyn Wrench Speaker Series.
More importantly, since up to half of the Patron membership gifts go back to the Patron's Branch, it strengthens Branch activities and programs, too – from sponsoring a TLab Scholar, to sending a student to the National Shakespeare Competition, to supporting your local charities, to hosting in-person events for the first time in over two years.
And we all know how important strong Branches are for the ESU's future.
Our National Patrons enjoy special benefits as a recognition of their elite status. Patron privileges, including discounts and exclusive events in the U.S. and the U.K., make joining the ESU National Patron Program even more worthwhile.
Let me mention just a few highlights.
The 2022 Annual General Conference in Charleston, South Carolina, November 11-13, will give us an opportunity to spotlight our Patrons' contributions and thank them for their support.
The traditional Patron Reception will be especially memorable. It will feature acclaimed author Susan Sully, who will share with our Patrons her passion and curiosity about Charleston's unique architecture and design traditions. A signed copy of her latest book, The Allure of Charleston, will be our thank-you gift to the ESU National Patrons.
We are also bringing back the National Patron-exclusive tours. The first will be an once-in-a-lifetime voyage through Elizabethan England in the summer of 2023 that will celebrate the ESU National Shakespeare Competition's 40th anniversary.
Dear friends, a new membership year starts on July 1 and I sincerely hope that you will renew and even upgrade to National Patron status, if you are not already a Patron.
And remember: whether joining as a regular member or a National Patron, you will be part of a venerable organization that for a century has pursued the noble mission of expanding minds, strengthening friendships and expanding opportunities through the power of the English language.
I look forward to your support and participation.
With best regards,
Dr. E. Quinn Peeper