The English-Speaking Union

News and Events

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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