News And Events

A Message from the Southwest Virginia Branch President

A few years ago, my wife and I toured South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. We had a wonderful time, but the matter which I wish to mention is not the animals or the scenery but rather the people and the use of the English language. 

We learned that there are eleven official languages in South Africa and at least seven unofficial dialects are also spoken. In Botswana, there are five official languages, and in Zimbabwe, there are eight. But what allows these people to converse with each other is English. In each of these countries, their students must learn English, and much of the business, government, shopping, and entertainment is conducted in English. The English language allows these diverse people to talk to each other and enables us to speak to them. 

Today, English is the second most popular language in the world, with an estimated 450 million native speakers. It is also the shared language of many whose native tongues are not widely known. Almost a quarter of the globe's population – perhaps 2 billion – can understand English. 

The English-Speaking Union aims to unite and empower people of different languages and cultures by building skills and confidence in communication in English. We also explore the richness of the English culture, whether it be literature, art, music, government, or history. With branches in the United States, the United Kingdom, and over 50 countries around the world, the ESU carries out a variety of activities such as debating, public speaking, and student exchange programs. The ESU also runs conferences and seminars and offers scholarships to encourage the effective use of the English language around the globe. 

With our Branch's goal of discovering and celebrating the durability and flexibility of the English language, our officers and Board of Directors will continue to provide our members with myriad activities that bring us together. 

Please join us. 

Bob Habermann


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The English-Speaking Union

Southwest Virginia Branch

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The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

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