News And Events

The Baroness Thatcher and the ESU

The English-Speaking Union of the United States notes with sadness the death of The Baroness Thatcher.  Lady Thatcher was a good friend to The English-Speaking Union because, as she said,

"I am a staunch believer in the English-Speaking Union and the ideals for which it stands.  There is simply no other group that does the same good work in bringing together the English-speaking peoples." 

Her connection to The English-Speaking Union of the United States began in the 1960s when, as a young back bencher she made a tour of several American ESU Branches.  Her tour included the Houston Branch where she met for the first time and was introduced at the dinner by George H.W. Bush.  She would remark later that that early tour helped form her impression of America and its people.

She served as Vice-President of The English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from 1975 – 1990.

In 1991, The English-Speaking Union of the United States awarded her its first Founders Award at a ceremony at its headquarters in New York City.  The Founders Award was created to honor an individual who exemplifies three primary interests in the organization's founder, Sir Evelyn Wrench, namely, to foster ties between Britain and America, to cultivate international understanding and friendship and to promote the mastery and extended use of the English language.

In 1998, then ESU of the US Chairman William R. Miller, CBE asked Lady Thatcher if she would agree to allow the US organization to initiate a lecture series named for her and modeled on the very successful Churchill Lecture mounted by the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth since 1974.

Lady Thatcher not only agreed to lend her name to the series but also delivered the inaugural lecture in 1999. Click Here to read her inaugural speech.  She remained involved and supportive of the series throughout its subsequent speakers Sir John Bond, Sir Martin Sorrell and Sir Martin Sullivan.  She wrote personal letters to each of them thanking them for delivering the lecture named for her.  The Margaret Thatcher Lecture Series continued The English-Speaking Union of the United States' commitment to provide a platform for gifted speakers from a broad spectrum of fields from journalism to politics to history and the arts.  Lady Thatcher herself was an outstanding exemplar of the ESU's goal to effect change through the power of the spoken word.


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