The English Speaking Union was founded in Great Britain in 1918 and in the United States in 1920 as a result of the bonds established between the two countries during World War I. It is a non-political, non-profit, world-wide educational and philanthropic organization. Its mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. The National Speakers Program provides lecturers to the various branches throughout the United States on history, the arts, language, literature, current events, etc. The ESU provides a platform for gifted speakers from a wide variety of backgrounds, including journalism, government, teaching and the arts. There is currently a network of 68 branches. The national Chairman is former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder.
Our local Monroe chapter is 24 years old. It was founded by Jane Hayden in 1986. As a member, you will have the opportunity to hear world-class speakers, such as Oliver Everett, the Queen's Librarian Emeritus at Windsor Castle, and Dr. Elliot Engel. Bringing speakers of this caliber to our area has a direct influence on our quality of life; for example Dr. Engel has spoken at a number of our area schools.
We also support an annual Shakespeare competition for high school students throughout the region. Students perform selected monologues and sonnets and the winner is provided an all-expense paid trip to New York to participate in the national Shakespeare competition.
In addition, our branch has participated in the Books as Envoys program with its Ambassador Book Awards. The Ambassador Book Awards are presented annually to those authors whose works best represent American life. The publishers of these books usually then donate them and they are shipped to ESU's around the world as "literary ambassadors" of American culture. Each of the books donated by our chapter has a bookplate stating that it is a gift from our Monroe branch. We are paired with the ESU branch in Anjou, France. The books we send them become part of the American literary holdings in a local English-language library.
We hope you will join with us and support and enjoy our programs.
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.