News And Events

Message from the President

Dear Members and Prospective members,

Unless you are a new member who joined the ESU since April 1st of the year, members are kindly asked to rejoin beginning July 1st, the ESU's fiscal new year. The dues remain the same, $52/Single, $75/Couple. The fees are a small price to pay to support local and National philanthropies which are aimed at leveraging the ESU mission, both here and around the world. The ESU "Expands minds, Strengthens friendships, Unlocks opportunities – through the use of the English language." Where our youth is concerned,

"The English-Speaking Union believes every child should be able to make their voice heard. We believe that the ability to progress and to thrive in life relies on oracy – speaking and listening – skills, which are not currently a prominent part of the school curriculum. Our debate, public speaking and cultural exchange programs help young people to engage with the world, to speak more confidently and to listen to and understand different points of view. These skills improve young people's attainment, emotional intelligence and social skills, helping them to live their lives to the fullest."

Imagine that your Branch helped launch a young woman from Charlottesville High School, from a field of 16,000 contestants, who came in second in the National Shakespeare competition. Compliments of National, she has received a full scholarship to participate in the Staunton Virginia, intensive Shakespeare drama training center in Cedar City Utah, home of the famous Utah Shakes Festival. This achievement represents what will surely be a life-changing opportunity for this drama student.

The Branch's Teachers Learning Abroad (TLAB) winner, a local high school teacher, will be studying in July at Oxford University with her peers from other parts of the United States. Imagine what energy and new perspectives she will bring to her classroom.

Now also consider the variety of educational and cultural opportunities offered to our members this past year. These included a Black-Tie Kick-Off function last October featuring an edifying look at the science behind the art of Leonardo DaVinci from UVa. Art Professor Francesca Fiorani. And, who can forget the Port Wine history and tasting conducted by your Branch President. There followed in December an enchanting "Old World" Christmas at the home of Board member Marijke Ford. February brought us the experience of our High School Shakespeare winners competing at the Blackfriars Playhouse for the chance to go to New York for the Finals. After the snow thawed in March, we gathered for our "Mystery Movie" night and Hospitality Committee buffet at St. David's Church. In April, members were treated to an elegant and inspiring A Capella performance by Central Virginia's Early Music group, Zephyrus. The program season ended at the home of Bonnie Matheson, where, following a brief AGM and election of Officers and Board members, we were treated to the President's Pimms Cup, a Shakespeare recitation by the Branch's Shakespeare winner, a toast to honor Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Jubilee year on the throne of England. Once again, our diverse, interesting, well-traveled, well-educated members enjoyed a grand time in each other's company.

I hope you will consider joining. One can join from the Home Page (www. by clicking on the Membership Tab and pay by credit card, or send a check to NYC HQ. The ESU fiscal year begins on July 1st, so please join and/or renew in July. If you would like more information, feel free to contact me at  Give us a try. I have found the ESU most rewarding for over twenty years.


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The English-Speaking Union

Charlottesville Branch

Welcome to the ESU

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.

To find out more about our programs click here.