The English-Speaking Union of the United States: Education. Scholarship. Understanding.

News And Events

News And Events

The ESU Supports Immigrants, Asylum-seekers, and Refugees

Welcome back to all of our students, teachers and volunteers. Read the inspiring stories of some of our students here. 


For nearly a century, the English-Speaking Union has employed English as a catalyst to foster global understanding and good will through educational opportunities and cultural exchange.  The ESU is an inclusive organization, in the words of our founder Sir Evelyn Wrench,  "founded in no narrow attitude of race pride, in no spirit of hostility to any people."

In today's shrinking world dominated by dollars and digits, unprecedented migration and bloody national borders, the ESU remains committed to improving the lives of new immigrants to the United States.

Since 2013, nearly 1,000 recent immigrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers from 66 different countries have been welcomed as members of the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center. The Center provides a welcoming environment, resources and information to help immigrants improve their English to explore work and study opportunities, network, pursue citizenship, and acquire cultural fluency in order to participate fully in American society.

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Remembering Ann Cook Calhoun

Photo courtesy of Daniel Dubois/Vanderbilt

Ann Cook Calhoun, former ESU National and Branch Board member and distinguished Shakespeare scholar, died on August 13 in Nashville after a brief illness. She was 82.  She was a professor of English, emerita, at Vanderbilt University and held leadership roles in Shakespeare organizations around the world. Ann's charming and devoted husband, Gerry Calhoun, passed away by her side earlier the same day.

Please click here to contribute to the Ann Cook Calhoun Memorial Fund that will provide financial support for the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. If sufficient funds are raised, we will be able to reinstate the first-place winner prize to be attendance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art Summer Program in London. 

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Learning the Story and Future of English

News Photo

Twenty teachers, life-long learners, and ESU members have returned from an immersion into the story and future of English -- the ESU's new one-week TLab-UK course at historic Worcester College of the University of Oxford.

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Shakespeare as “Political Theater” Et tu, ESU?

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition and "Political Theater"
by Christopher Hodgkins

Now everybody wants into the act! Few people who follow the arts or just follow the news can have missed the controversy over the New York Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which had its final performance in Central Park's Delacorte Theater on June 18. The performance is acted in contemporary costumes, and Caesar—wearing a flamboyant suit and an orange-blond coif much like President Donald Trump's—seems to be slain in the American and not the Roman Capitol, meeting an especially bloody end in Act 3 at the hands of very modern senatorial conspirators. In response, some of the President's supporters—and some who simply think that this interpretation disrespects the Presidency and incited a recent attempted massacre of Republican Congressmen—have spoken out against the show, interrupted the performance, or even stormed the stage. Perhaps the producers provoked more audience reaction than they bargained for! And some people think that Shakespeare is irrelevant or boring . . .

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ARNIC Graduation and ESU Founder's Award Ceremony

On June 1, the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center celebrated the accomplishments of its members with a graduation ceremony hosted by the Open Society Foundations, financial supporters of the program, at their offices in New York City.

The Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), named for the program's key visionary and supporter, Andrew Romay, helps recently arrived immigrants improve their English through free ESL classes and conversation sessions and acquire cultural fluency through field trips, workshops and networking opportunities. Launched in January 2013, the ARNIC Program has served more than 800 new Americans.

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Teenager from San Francisco wins 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition

The three winners of the 2017
English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition
on stage at Lincoln Center in New York City
(l to r) – Third place winner Trevon Wainwright, First place winner Ogechi Egonu, and Second place winner Brandon Burk.


With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare's Othello, Ogechi Egonu from San Francisco, CA, a student of Jennifer Grimes at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, won the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the Mitzi Newhouse Theater stage at Lincoln Center in New York City with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Ogechi previously won the ESU San Francisco competition.

As the winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi received a full scholarship to the American Shakespeare Center Theater Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer. Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from the English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

The finalists were:

Chinyelu Mwaafrika - Indianapolis Branch - Shortridge High School
Mya Ison - Research Triangle Branch - Enloe High School
Lee Ann Bael - New York City Branch - Edward R. Murrow High School
Malenky Welsh - Greenwich Branch - ACES Education Center for the Arts
Judy Durkin - Los Angeles Branch - Santa Monica High School
Rutvik Ashtikar - Princeton Branch - JP Stevens High School
Padraig Bond - Albany Branch - Shenendehowa High School

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ESU Branches to Send 40 Teacher-Scholars to the UK for Summer Study

 

The Teachers Learning Abroad - TLab program has long provided American high school teachers the opportunity to continue their education at prestigious centers of learning in the United Kingdom.  This summer, 20 English-Speaking Union Branches will send 40 teacher-scholars to summer programs at the University of Oxford, Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, and the University of Edinburgh.

Summer 2017 represents a particularly exciting time for TLab teacher-scholars. Each teacher has selected and applied to a program of their choosing, and their ESU scholarship will cover all or portions of tuition, room and board and, in some cases, travel to the UK. Teacher-scholars will spend between two and three weeks in active study and will return home to begin a new school year invigorated and equipped to share their newly acquired teaching and learning strategies with colleagues and some 4,000 students.

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          Remembering Andrew Romay                         1922 to 2017

The Board and staff of the English-Speaking Union, with sorrow and sincere gratitude, remember the life and work of our beloved benefactor Dr. Andrew Romay, who passed away early this morning, February 10, 2017. 

Andrew Romay's favorite project was the program that is named for him, the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), and he wanted it to be his legacy for many years to come. Please support ARNIC today to honor Andrew Romay's memory and his wishes, donate here. 

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Announcing: New Study/Travel Courses in the UK for Teachers and ESU Members – at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Shakespeare's Globe, Oxford University and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon!

The ESU has expanded its study abroad programs: Teachers Learning Abroad - UK.  In addition to the time-tested British University Summer School scholarship programs for teachers, TLab-UK offers new week-long courses, created exclusively by and for the ESU, which are open to teachers across the country as well as ESU members and life-long learners. The new TLab courses provide affordable educational / travel opportunities, unique to the ESU's heritage.  Course descriptions are posted on the ESU website, but here is the list of TLab-UK course offerings for 2017:

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Announcing: Luard-Morse Scholars for 2017-2018

NEWBERRY AND RAMSAY WIN $50,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS
TO STUDY IN ENGLAND AS 2017 LUARD MORSE SCHOLARS

                              
                Mr. Leondre Ramsay                        Ms. Serena Newberry     

New York City: Ms. Serena Newberry, an English Education and Pre-Law major from Southfield, MI, a student at Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA, and Mr. Leondre Ramsay, a Political Science major and Community Development minor from Tallahassee, FL, a student at Howard University, Washington, DC, have each been selected as recipients of an English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholarship.  Christopher Broadwell, Executive Director of the English-Speaking Union, announced the winners, noting that each scholar will receive $25,000 toward a semester of study at any university their choosing in the United Kingdom during the 2017-2018 academic year.

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