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The English-Speaking Union of the United States was created to fulfill a mission. It was formally organized in the United States in 1920, two years after the establishment of its counterpart in Britain, the ESU of the British Commonwealth, and arose from the conviction of its founder, Sir Evelyn Wrench and a group of like-minded American and British friends, that maintenance of the close personal and national ties forged during World War I was necessary for the preservation of peace.
Sir Evelyn Wrench
The ESU has been led by world-renowned visionaries, perhaps one of the most notable being Sir Evelyn Wrench, founder of the English-Speaking Union of the United States in 1920. His great hope was to use the shared language of English to forge strong bonds of camaraderie between people of all nations and backgrounds. Today, the English-Speaking Union of the United States has flourished into an organization spanning the United States, providing much-needed services to immigrants, students of English, and those looking to fulfill Sir Wrench’s mission.
The earliest beginnings of the TLab SSE program initiates with an American elementary school teacher visiting England for a month “as a guest of the British society.” Selected and funded by Philadelphia Branch.
Established by the ESU of the Commonwealth, the Walter Hines Page scholarship was named after the Honorable Walter Hines Page, American Ambassador to the Court of St. James's during World War I. A precursor to the TLab scholarship, the Walter Hines Page scholarship offers British and Argentine teachers the opportunity to explore and exchange educational ideas in America. Scholars travel to the USA to study an aspect of education which is relevant to their own professional interests and development.  Page Scholarships are sponsored by the ESU of the Commonwealth and ESU Argentina.
The official founding of International School Boy Fellowship, a landmark ESU program. This program laid the foundation for what came to be known decades later as the Secondary School Exchange (SSE) program.
Creation of the ESU Books-Across-The-Sea Program, in which loans of British books are arranged to libraries and schools throughout the US. They are also circulated widely to individual members. Ambassador books are those that are representative of the life or history of the donor country and exchanged between the ESU in the US and the ESUs of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and India. Many of these books are gifts from the publishes. 

Books Across the Sea began with 70 books exchanged between the US and Dartmouth House. Tom Wolfe, Grace Paley, John Updike, and David Culloch.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Prince Philip served as the President of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from 1952 to 2011, during which time the English-Speaking Union of the United States had 14 Chairmen serve the joint purpose and pursuits of the organization. Among notable events, ESU hosted Prince Philip and her Majesty the Queen for luncheon events held at the Waldorf Astoria in both 1957 and 1976.
In 1957, the British University Summer School (BUSS) was established. This program a landmark ESU program. This program is one of few scholarships which provide high school teachers with dynamic continuing education through summer study at prestigious British centers of learning – Oxford University, Shakespeare's Globe in London and Edinburgh University. The program was renamed TLab: Travel and Learn Abroad in 2018.
A generous gift of a portrait painted Furman J. Finck of Sir Evelyn Wrench was gifted the the ESU. Finck also painted a portrait of Eisenhower, which was gifted to Dartmouth House. Both paintings remain in prominent display at each house respectively.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
"At one of the very last meetings I had right after the War, with Sir Winston Churchill and myself included, there was a sort of a round table discussion for the future of most of us.  All wanted to rest, but without exception there was expressed the feeling that only in every possible movement that would keep the English speaking peoples allied – only in this way – could the much broader conception of  keeping the UN working, and so on, be accomplished. In time of war, the union between the two peoples was something to stand as a model for all future coalitions, and I wish now we could translate it all into NATO.  But I say this just to assure you of my very deep and abiding hope that not only will the money be coming in for your program, but I would like to see us grow. I believe that there is great work to be done, and various other organization are trying to do some of the same things.  So long as we are pulling in harness together and in the same direction, we will get certain satisfaction of doing our part, not just as citizens of the United States, but of the world, trying to make of the ESU a base on which this larger campaign can be more effective."
From his address to the ESU National Board of Directors meeting
New York June 2, 1964
The ESU is represented as a non-governmental organization at the United Nations, with Mrs. Benjamin Mahler appointed as a volunteer observer.
The ESU Librarian Travel Grant is established, with the purpose of such funds being used to bring British librarians to the US for a month of travel and professional appointments. Hospitality was provided by the ESU of the US.
Sir. Winston Churchill
In 1965, former President Dwight Eisenhower recalled a past conversation with Churchill when he spoke about his American heritage.

“My mother was American and my ancestors were officers in Washington’s army, I am myself an English-speaking union,” Churchill reportedly said.

He was the Chairman of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from 1921-1925.
Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowships are established to fund overseas research grants. The grants support UK citizens to conduct research at global institutions. The Fellowship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for professionals to expand their horizons by researching a pressing issue with the global leaders in that subject, anywhere in the world.
With the dedication and financial support of the ESU Washington DC Branch, a prominent statue of Sir Winston Churchill is erected in the nation's capital. Alongside this statue, the Branch also buries an ESU time-capsule.
The Luard Scholarship is established. The first Luard Scholar selected by the Luard Fund Selection Committee is granted to Phillip H. Cole, Jr. of Wilberforce University who spent his junior year at Reading University in England. The Luard Scholarship is established as a scholarship for a “negro” student at a British University, sponsored by the ESU Lucy Dalbiac Luard Fund. The proposal had been discussed with Drs. Rosenhaupt (National Director of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship Foundation), Frank Snowden, Jr. (Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Howard University), and M. D. Kennedy (Professor of History at Morehouse College). The scholarship is the first of its kind in the nation.
The English in Action program, which aims to help English language learners gain fluency and confidence in conversational English by pairing them with tutors for conversation sessions is established by the New York City Branch. Efforts are made to develop the program in New York City before expanding it to the ESU Branches.
Establishment of the International Public Speaking Competition. The International Public Speaking Competition brings together outstandingly articulate young people from all over the world for a week of public speaking competition and international cultural exchange with the ESU of the Commonwealth in London.
The National Shakespeare Competition is founded by Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE. The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12. Since 1983, the competition has engaged more than 360,000 young people. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU Branch communities participate each year.
Lady Margaret Thatcher
On December 7, 1999, at a sold-out gala dinner in the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, Lady Thatcher delivered her speech "The Language of Liberty: The Inauguration of the Thatcher Lecture Series," to standing ovation. 
In gratitude she was bestowed the first English-Speaking Union Founders Award.
Margaret Thatcher herself inaugurated the Thatcher Lecture Series in 1999. The lecture program showcases speakers of exceptional caliber, fostering exploration of the imaginative and insightful contribution of The English-speaking people with the World.
Marie Dora Thornburg OBE
Marie Dora Thornburg OBE dedicated her personal and professional life to forging global understanding and vigorously advanced the work of the English-Speaking Union of the United States through more than 50 years as Member, Regional Chairwoman, Delegate to the ESU International Council, National Board President and President Emerita. A National Board Member from 1989 to her passing in 2017, Doe, served as an ambassador representing the organization to its members across the country.
Her passion for establishing peaceful common bonds across international boundaries was instrumental in establishing the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center at the ESU.
Pat Schroeder
A former Chairman of the ESU (2009-2013) and longtime Congressional representative for the state of Colorado (1973-1997), the Honorable Pat Schroeder has shown her tireless support for women’s rights as a leader of the Congresswomen’s Caucus and the chair of the Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families during her time in the House of Representatives.
The ESU is honored to host Hon. Schroeder at the “Leadership: Implementing Sir Evelyn Wrench’s Vision” panel discussion for the 2021 ESU Annual Conference.
The Ambassador Book Award was presented annually from 1989 to 2011 to important literary and non-fiction works that contributed to the understanding and interpretation of American life and culture. In 2009, Nobel Laureate, and critically acclaimed author Toni Morrison was presented with the award for her outstanding contribution to literature.
Dr. Laurence C. Morse
As a student at Howard University, he was awarded the 1971-1972 ESU Luard Scholarship to spend his junior year at The London School of Economics. As an alum of the program, Dr. Morse became closely involved in the ESU including being a member of the National Board of Directors from 2003 to 2009. In 2009, for the 40th anniversary of the program he led a drive to strengthen the Luard Endowment, himself making a major gift. In gratitude for his generous support of the ESU Luard Scholarship Program, by a resolution of the ESU Board of Directors in September 2012 it was renamed the ESU Luard Morse Scholarship Program.
For spearheading the endowment fundraising of the Luard Scholarship, as well as making a significant personal contribution, Dr. Laurence C Morse's name is incorporated into the programs title, hereby know as the Luard Morse Scholarship.
The ESU’s Middle School Debate Program was established with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and in partnership with Claremont McKenna College. From the time of its inception, it has grown exponentially to serve the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas, providing opportunities for students in grades 5-8 to harness their skills in argumentation and public speaking. There is also an explicit focus on building learning and teaching skills for teacher debate-coaches and judges of the debate competition.
Princess Anne, The Princess Royal
Her Majesty The Queen is Patron of the ESU of the Commonwealth and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal serves as President, having succeeded her father, His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who retired in 2011.
Through the generous support of Andrew Roay, The Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), is established. The center is committed to improving the lives of recent immigrants by providing resources and information to help them improve their English, assistance in exploring work and study opportunities, networking, and acquiring cultural fluency so that they may participate fully in American society.
Dr. Andrew Romay
Dr. Andrew Romay is the benefactor of the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center, established in 2012. Romay survived both Communist imprisonment and Nazi concentration camps before immigrating to the United States as a refugee in 1956. Dr. Romay's experience as a new immigrant to this country and his subsequent professional success inspired him to assist new immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the New York City area.
TLab, Travel and Learn Abroad, is established as an expansion upon the then 60 year old British University Summer School (BUSS) Program. This now expanded program offers one-, two-, and three- week educational programs for teachers as well other life-longer learners. The program has had over 2,500 participants since its inception, and has hosted scholars at such esteemed institutions as University of Oxford, Shakespeare's Globe, and The University of Edinburgh.
Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE
Elected Chairman of the ESU National Board of Directors in 2015, Ambassador Paul Beresford Hill CBE is an integral part of why the ESU continues to flourish. Under his careful watch, the ESU has enjoyed a great expansion of its educational programs as well as the continued evolution of its two Endowment Funds, the Evelyn Wrench Speaker Endowment Fund and the National Shakespeare Competition Endowment Fund. He has led (and continues to lead) the organization safely and securely through the COVID-19 pandemic, a grand feat for which we applaud him.