The English-Speaking Union of the United States (ESU US) is a non-profit, non-political, educational service organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community.
Headquartered in New York City, the ESU US implements programs through a network of 70 Branches throughout the United States. We share a common mission with International ESUs in 52 nations, with whom we work to advance our mission through education and exchange programs.
The ESU was launched in London on 28 June 1918 on the initiative of journalist, Evelyn Wrench together with sixteen friends, with the aim of promoting closer ties between English speaking peoples from around the world. Former Prime Minister A. J. Balfour addressed the first public meeting of the organization. It is notable that in April 1921, Winston Churchill became Chairman, as the previous Chairman - Lord Reading - departed to become Viceroy of India. Churchill remained Chairman until 1926. As early as 1920 the first scholarship exchange programs were launched in several U.S. branches.
The Kentucky Branch
The Kentucky Branch of the ESU was chartered in 1923 by local business and civic leaders. In the 1960's Mr. Josh Everett personally took upon himself the task of expanding the organization in Kentucky and served many years in that leadership role. Notable branch presidents included Mr. Barry Bingham, Sr. and later Mr. Keith Runyon, Forum Editor for the Courier Journal. In 1960 Norman McKenna was the first scholar sent by the Kentucky Branch to study in the United Kingdom. Dr. McKenna served as Branch President from 1992-94. Since 1960, over 450 Kentucky teachers and college students have been awarded scholarships.
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.