A quarterly publication from The English-Speaking Union June 2010
The English-Speaking Union
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The ESU brings together and empowers people of different languages and cultures. By building skills and confidence in communication, we give people the opportunity to realise their potential. Worldwide, the members and alumni of the ESU support these objectives.
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Our vision is to provide people in the UK and internationally with communication skills, confidence and networking opportunities. We endeavour to see that the value of good communication as an essential attribute for individual, community and global development and understanding is publicly recognised and widely integrated into education and social policy.
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Welcome to the summer edition of dialogue. It has been a busy few months at Dartmouth House and in UK and international ESUs since the first edition of our new format magazine. This issue reports on the conclusions to our many annual competitions and scholarships, with commentary on the successes of new alumni and on the work of scholars currently enjoying or recently returned from their ESU programme. All of us who have contact with those who take part in our initiatives are struck by their enthusiasm, innovation and the opportunity they see to develop their skills and pursue their aspirations. Our educational work forms the heart of the English-Speaking Union and it is our ambition to increase its scope and reach both within the UK and internationally. It would be worth making a note about the impact of Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) legislation on home stays. Many of you will know that the application of new rules and procedures still has to be worked out, but in the meantime, we have had to accept that home stays for those under 18 have to be put on hold. I do very much hope that a sensible arrangement can be found to restore to some of our UK-bound scholars the experience of staying with a British family. Many of you will know that the governors have commissioned strategic reviews that are intended to increase our capacity as a charity. I am pleased to report that much of the groundwork has been completed and we can now begin the implementation. In particular, I point to plans to increase our charitable activities and to work in cooperation with other like-minded organisations as important outcomes from these reviews. The support we get from members and increasingly from alumni is vitally important to this work. Richard Oldham, as Chairman of the National Council of England and Wales, is leading a review of membersâ€™ attitudes. I have met with branch chairmen to discuss the early stages of this review and I hope that Richard will present a completed report at the branches conference in July. After the first edition of dialogue in March we heard a great many responses from members, partners and alumni. Most of the comment has been positive, but change is never without friction and we have taken into account the constructive criticisms that were put forward. Please continue to send your reactions and ideas so we can continue to improve the format and content of your magazine. See page 12 for some of the comments received so far! A final but important note is to thank most warmly those who have remembered the English-Speaking Union in their wills. The legacies we have received recently will enable us to increase our charitable work this year and next by giving opportunities to the future generation. Mike Lake Director-General
A quarterly publication from The English-Speaking Union June 2010
International Public Speaking Competition_04
Latest Events_23 From the Archives_40
IPSC Alumni Reunion_07 Election 2010_08 City Lunch Series_10
Feedback on our New Design_12 Great Debates_13
Buckingham Palace Draw_21
Jason on the BBC_14
From Around the Regions_42
George Washington Letter Auctioned_16
ESU MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS
ON THE HORIZON
Autumn City Lunches_18
Malta and Turkey Launches_18
International at Home_18 More Great Debates_20
CREDITS Managing Editor Hanna Cevik
London Debate Challenge_21
Editor Roberta Pearce Design The Click Design Consultants theclickdesign.com DIALOGUE 3
LEBANON WINS INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION 2010
1. The Constitutional Experience at Kensington Palace. 2. At the Globe workshop. 3-4. Watching a performance at the Globe, the technicalities of working in a 17th century theatre explained. 5. Bowling! 6. Next to the Millennium Bridge DIALOGUE 4
Moataz picks up his prize.
The ESUâ€™s International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC), in its present incarnation, has been running for 29 years. What started 50 years ago as a public speaking competition in England and Wales, became an international event when the Plain English Speaking Awards in Australia sent their winner to compete against our winner in London. The international contest has since grown to include more than 40,000 young people in 46 countries every year, with four new countries joining in 2010 alone. The appeal of the event is the opportunity it gives to practise and improve skills in public speaking and communication. The IPSC helps young people all over the world to realise their potential by developing their communication skills in
English, empowering them to give their opinions with confidence and connecting them to a network of alumni across the globe from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. English is the language of the internet, business, negotiation, sport, music and science. The skills this competition gives young people in the persuasive use of English opens doors to untold possibilities and prepares them to become leaders in their countries. DIALOGUE 5
The 80-plus participants enjoyed a week of activities including a constitutional experience at Kensington Palace, a tour of BBC TV Centre, workshops at the Globe Theatre with a tour behind the scenes and a performance of The Woman in Black at the Duchess Theatre, Covent Garden. On 21 May, morning heats starting at 8 am produced six finalists to compete at the grand final held at HSBC’s headquarters in Canary Wharf.
The 2010 competition was won by Moataz Elisrawi from Lebanon who spoke on the intriguing subject (for a boy) ‘Ooops, I’m Pregnant... Again’. The runner-up was Karen Kar-wun Chan from Hong Kong who spoke on ‘Human, Humane, Humanity’ and the Audience Choice Award went to Daniel Cullum from New Zealand who spoke on ‘1, 2, 3... Push’.
The ESU would like to thank HSBC Global Education Trust and Macmillan Publishers Ltd for their support of the competition and the hundreds of volunteers in all our international ESUs who have given up their time, to make the entire competition such a success.
Judging the grand final at HSBC were Bilal Mahmood, ESU Governor, Vince Stevenson, Director of the College of Public Speaking and Daniela Hale from HSBC Communications.
IPSC National Competitions: National Public Speaking Competitions were held in 47 different countries, including England and Wales (see p 39). The national finalists travelled to the UK for the IPSC final in May. The International Public Speaking Competition final was a fitting end to the public speaking calendar. We were delighted to see Ghana, Bangladesh, France and Iceland compete for the first time.
Iceland’s first ESU Public Speaking Competition was held in the new premises of the University of Reykjavík with support from the Indian and US Embassies.
In Pakistan, students from 45 schools in Karachi and two from Lahore and Islamabad participated in the national competition.
In its fourth year, the Public Speaking Competition covered all regions of Belarus, with preliminary rounds held in all major regional universities.
IPSC 2000 ALUMNI REUNION
This year we brought back participants from the 2000 International Public Speaking Competition to reunite, reconnect and remember ten years after their first meeting in London. The alumni were able to re-live aspects of their programme with this year’s students, including a trip to the theatre to watch a performance of The Woman in Black. The alumni who joined the competition for the week were from Bulgaria, Lebanon, Georgia, Argentina, Portugal, Romania, Mauritius, Brazil and India. On the evening of 20 May, the alumni gathered at Dartmouth House to enjoy drinks in the sunny courtyard, laughed, applauded and cringed as they watched the dvd of the 2000 IPSC final in which they had competed. Here’s what one alumna had to say about the experience:
“I could mention all the international friends, the fun rides and tours in London, the unique knowledge and momentum. However, these are the most-known aspects of this fantastic journey. For me, being part of the [IPSC] in 2000 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is happening until today. Personally, taking part in this event was, most of all, the chance to build a more fearless, adventurous and communicative personality. Once one has been up on a stage presenting one’s own words to a highly educated international audience, in a foreign language, facing other challenges in life becomes a much easier task. I don’t mean that this competition is a magic solution for the problems to come. It is, however, a self-confidence foundation stone which I can spot in all the situations in my life. And to the 2010 competitors, I say: ‘I do not know what the future holds for us, but I know what we hold for our future: more self-confidence and courage to face whatever comes’.” Isabela Caixeta, Brazil
On the evening of the General Election 2010, the ESU held a glittering party to mark the event and raise money for our educational programmes. Dartmouth House was full of people all anxiously waiting to find out the result of one of the most exciting elections in many years. More than 200 ambassadors, members, alumni and guests enjoyed a champagne reception, good food and dancing to the Big Swing, one of the UKâ€™s top swing bands, as they awaited the first returns. Lord Hunt of Wirral (Con.), ESU Chairman Lord Watson of Richmond (Lib Dem.), International Chairman Emeritus, formed a working partnership to host the evening. Lord Watson acted as quiz master for our Big Election Quiz. Many guests were still with us as Dartmouth House closed
1-2. London school children at our election day workshop.
3-5. The leaders proved equally popular with guests! 6. The Big Election Quiz
at 2 am and carried on watching the results until the even smaller hours next door at the Chesterfield Hotel.
thoughts on this and past elections with the students given the opportunity to ask questions.
The event was a great success and enabled us to welcome our loyal members but also reach out to a wider audience. Fabulous raffle prizes, the Big Election Quiz and plenty of bubbly provided by Tesco added to the atmosphere!
The outcome of the ballot showed the Liberal Democrats gaining a clear majority.
Election Day workshop Earlier on in the day, we invited students from secondary schools in London to see what they thought about the election. The students were welcomed by Lord Watson and Sir Peter Jennings along with the Speech and Debate staff. A ballot was held for the young people to express their own preferences in this election. Whilst their votes were being counted, Lord Watson and Sir Peter presented some of their
A workshop asked small groups of students to work on their own policy initiatives, which they then presented to the rest of the group as if they were the Prime Minister. Their speeches were well-reasoned, delivered with a lot of passion and they managed to engage with their audience – more than can be said for some of their professional counterparts! We would like to thank Tesco PLC, Leith’s at Dartmouth House and Perceptions Events Ltd for supporting this event. Thanks are also due to The Chesterfield Hotel, Fortnum & Mason, Shakespeare’s Globe and The Commonwealth Club for donating some wonderful raffle prizes. DIALOGUE 9
CITY LUNCH SERIES WITH A POLITICAL TRIO Continuing the tradition of Dartmouth House as a centre of excellence in open dialogue and respect for all opinions, we held our first City Lunch Series in Spring 2010, just in time for the General Election. We are very grateful to Lord Hunt and Lord Watson for securing such outstanding speakers for us.
The format of these lunches sees up to 40 members, partners and guests join us for a private lunch in the Small Drawing Room at Dartmouth House. During pre-lunch drinks, guests are invited to submit their question to our speaker on a card. Questions are then put to the speaker over coffee by the chair of the event. The lunches are designed to be short and to the point to allow guests from the business world to enjoy the occasion and the speaker without spending too much time out of the office. As such, they are an ideal opportunity for client entertaining. Bearing in mind that all of the lunches took place before the outcome of the General Election was known, it was interesting to note the speakers’ hopes and opinions. The first lunch was held with Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, on 24 February. He appeared relaxed as he answered the questions put to him by Lord Watson on such topics as the European Union, Northern Ireland, the economy and the role of the banks.
He even joked with our guests that “forces of darkness do not surround the Prime Minister as I surround the Prime Minister”. Lord Mandelson spoke about his time at the European Commission when, after brushing up on his French, he was pleasantly surprised on arrival in Brussels, to find that English is the lingua franca of the Commission. He answered the question “Why is the British public still so ill at ease with the European Union?” arguing that it wasn’t exclusively a British situation and that the public in other European countries felt the same. He also felt that this sentiment was subsiding. He went on to answer questions on Northern Ireland saying that the Irish people wanted peace, that their resolve was very strong and would not let the recent bombings affect the peace. On the question of foreign takeovers of British companies, Lord Mandelson reminded the audience of the importance of foreign investment in Great Britain. He added that we
wanted consistent investment and would not encourage quick profit making. He commented that the banks should be more accountable for their actions and be more prudent in their lending. In a light hearted conclusion to the Q&A session, Lord Mandelson said he could see a life after politics but was in no hurry to find out what it was. He emphasised how much he enjoyed politics and in particular, being in government. He explained that “government is a very stressful business where you seem to spend a lot of time defending yourself to journalists who have already written their own stories about you. Yes, politicians are different characters but are not as bad as they are portrayed in the press.” Our second lunch, in early March, featured Vince Cable, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Shadow Chancellor. Vince has become one of the most important commentators on the recession and is widely acknowledged as a voice of reason during the economic crisis. The guests were fascinated to hear his views on the current economic climate. He warned us that “it could take ten years to recover from the recession, which is longer than the life of the next parliament”. He expressed concern that whoever got into government this year would be “expected to turn the country around in four years. This would be almost impossible to do. The expectation of government is not realistic in economic terms”. Their long-standing working relationship was evident as Lord Watson posed questions to Dr Cable on issues including the recession, the role of banks, the economy in general and, fortuitously, how the Liberal Democrats would influence a hung parliament. Vince reminded the audience that “credit is central to business, yet bank lending to business fell last year”. The tax payer invested in the banks to save
our economy and enable them to lend. He insisted that he did not believe that money be handed out to all-comers but “unless good, viable companies can get credit, the recession and job losses will continue. The semi-nationalised banks have a legal as well as commercial obligation to help support the recovery of the British economy. The problem is the banks, including the semi-nationalised ones, are under pressure to boost their share prices”. He feared that in the case of RBS and Lloyds the reason is that the government wants to sell off its shares quickly. Dr Cable concluded by saying “of course the Liberal Democrats would like the opportunity to influence a hung parliament”. He said one of the reasons they were in politics was to fight for the opportunity to govern. Our third lunch in the series was with Andrew Mitchell, Shadow Secretary for International Development and a governor of the ESU. Andrew began by speaking to our guests on how the Conservative Party was preparing for the election. He stated that, in the Conservatives’ view, there was a clear choice; five more years of Gordon Brown or a chance of change. He went on to say that his role in the office for international development was one of the most interesting he had ever had. He reminded us that it is our duty to make the world a safer place through wealth creation and helping to stop conflict. Our Director-General Mike Lake chaired this Q&A session posing a wide variety of questions on the image of the Conservatives, the possibility of a hung parliament, how the Conservatives would help the country recover from his economic crisis. He also put questions to Mr Mitchell on how the Conservatives would work with the unions, their stance on biomedical research and how they proposed to invest in international development at a time when our own country needs investment.
On the question of whether the Conservative Party had done enough to change its image, he felt sure it had. He said the Conservatives were open to everyone in Great Britain and that they would do everything they could in the next 50 days to avoid a hung parliament. He light-heartedly recounted an email from a member of the public asking him that as he had been a banker and is now a politician, was he next planning to become an estate agent? Andrew answered the questions by outlining Conservative proposals for hospital twinning to encourage British doctors to work overseas and to receive accreditation for their work. He spoke of international organisations, such as the Red Cross, doing a brilliant job in helping poorer countries to help themselves. “Aid is a means to an end not an end in itself. We should encourage education in the legal system, property rights and budget support to enable everyone to get the best from the aid they are given”. He discussed the role of the English language as a global commodity bringing benefit to developing nations. He said that the Conservatives had no plans to break the unions but to work with them. In answer to the question of what role the armed forces would play with the new National Security Council, he said that a definite review could only be carried out if the Conservatives won the election. However, they did feel strongly that our armed forces should be looked after and if the worst happened we must look after their families. He also said that the NHS was fundamental to the fabric of Great Britain, and the Conservatives would be committed to improving it. It was clear that all our guests enjoyed the opportunity of sharing such intimate audience with all three of our speakers and the ESU is very grateful to them for giving us their valuable time. All proceeds from the lunches will go to ESU Education Programmes. DIALOGUE 11
FEEDBACK ON OUR NEW DESIGN We are now six months into our new design scheme, created by The Click Design Consultants, based in Norwich. Reactions have been coming in thick and fast. We want to reassure you that the ESU is retaining the calligraphic logo and the full name “the English-Speaking Union”. The now familiar roundel is a design device used to make our publications visually outstanding. The aim is to produce a look that members, alumni and partners of the English-Speaking Union find interesting and informative as well as inspiring an expansion of our charitable objectives. If you have any ideas for publications that your branch needs, please get in touch with The Editor.
From a member, London Region “As a long-standing member, I am delighted to read dialogue and to see the ESU restored to a thriving club with many opportunities to live up to its name.” From a branch Chairman “[dialogue] was discussed at our committee meeting yesterday. Everyone thought the first issue was first class which I consider very encouraging for you and your team in the editorial office!” From a Regional Officer “I have at last received my copy [of dialogue] - may I warmly congratulate you on the new format.
Inevitably I have few comments to make, not all mine but some from my regions’ chairmen also. 1. As it’s a quarterly perhaps a section on reports of public speaking heats from branches, including the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition final and International Public Speaking Competition. Branches could then choose to send these copies to schools. If public speaking is separated from branch reports into its own section it will impact more on membership and perhaps encourage use of it for publicity. 2. I have had varied comments about film and theatre reviews. There is so much on TV, in papers and other magazines about film we don’t need it. Theatre reviews not much good when we live so far away. Theatre and film date so quickly for a quarterly publication. In time books and poetry may be a better idea but that will be very time consuming unless readers do it.” From a member in Plymouth “It may be early days but I’m not very impressed by dialogue. I think it is too ‘arty’, not very well designed, full of wasted space, and quite difficult to follow. Having said that I am perhaps too old-fashioned in thinking that the format before was preferable and at least you knew where you were.”
From a branch Chairman “dialogue - which not all members have yet received - has several good features compared to the publications it replaces and further judgment is reserved for later issues to appear with more member/branch input. Dislike of the insipid strange comma (?) on the front and elsewhere. Hopefully this is not a new ESU logo by stealth? It reminds one of the Curry’s Electrical TV advert, very down market. Please preserve the current logo, please don’t confuse and degrade with several versions ( a la Green ESU). Some subjects are either inappropriate or difficult in a quarterly magazine, e.g. theatre and film reviews likely to be out of date on publication.” Eastbourne had some post-related difficulties which meant some members did not receive their copies of the new magazine. We hope this was a glitch in the mailing system and that this edition reaches all members safely and on time. In response to a few of the comments about reviews, the Editor would like to invite you to submit articles about local events, good restaurants or anything else you feel would be relevant to ESU members. The staff at Dartmouth House appreciate that not everyone is able to get down to the capital for theatre and events, and so we invite reviews from members around the UK.
ALREADY GOING GREAT! This spring, in association with expert partner organisations, the ESU ran the first two of this year’s series of Great Debates. These events give students the opportunity to attend debating workshops and to learn more about a particular topic. The occasion also includes a debating competition on topics drawn from the workshops. On 3 and 4 March, the ESU, in partnership with our good friends at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, organised the 5th Great Shakespeare Debate. The event is aimed at A-Level students, who are given the opportunity to engage in a series of stimulating debates and workshops on Shakespeare’s works. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust hosts the event every year at its facilities in Stratford. Twelve schools were selected to participate in the competition this year. To be eligible, the students had to electronically submit a video, in which they had to discuss one of four Shakespearian themes: love, ambition, appearance versus reality, or fate. Once in Stratford, two days of exciting workshops and debates yielded two teams for the final. Arguing the motion ‘This House Believes that performance inevitably limits possiblilty’, the students from Wilsons School and Ermysted’s Grammar School displayed an in-depth understanding of Shakespeare as well as excellent speaking skills. After what was a very close debate the team of Ewan Bruce, Jonathan Newhouse, and Joshua Ellis-Jones from Ermysted’s Grammar School were announced by the judges as the winners of this year’s Great Shakespeare Debate.
March also saw us stage the Great Pharmacy Debate, currently in its second year. It is organised by the ESU in partnership with the Museum of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain (MRPSGB). Following last year’s event, we were back in the Museum for what proved to be another brilliant day. This competition gives the opportunity to students who are studying for their GCSEs to critically discuss issues relating to science. During the day, participants toured the museum, they learned about old and new The team celebrate techniques used in winning the Great pharmacy, and Shakespeare Debate with their trophy, the debated a series of George Pragnall Prize, exciting topics, such and a thoughtful Will! as ‘This House Believes that all medicines in the future should be personalised’ and ‘This House Believes that cannabis should be legalised’. The teams from St Francis Xavier and William Farr Comprehensive School reached the final of the competition. Jack Culpin, Anya Green, and Chris Bridgwood from William Farr Comprehensive School won the final debate on ‘This House Believes that the government’s response to an imminent pandemic should always be a mass vaccination programme’. The continuing success of these events has led to the establishment of a Great Debates series. Earlier this year, we organised the Great Urban Challenges Debate in association with the London Transport Museum. In the next few months the ESU is partnering with three new organisations to run Great Debates on topics such as History with Historic Royal Palaces, Climate Change with the Royal Geological Society (with IBG) and Football with West Ham Football Club.
JASON ON THE BBC
Jason Vit, the ESU’s Head of Speech and Debate recently featured in BBC News Magazine. We include the article here together with feedback plus Jason’s top debating tips. BBC NEWS MAGAZINE by Rajini Vaidyanathan Published: 16 April 2010 When the curtain goes up on Thursday’s first televised prime ministerial debate, audiences will witness three men used to holding their own in front of an audience. But you don’t have to be a party leader to know how best to win an argument. Breathe deeply, back straight, shoulders out.
Mr Vit works for the English-Speaking Union, an organisation which runs debate contests between schools. One of the most important tips he passes on to his students is “know your subject” - which means knowing the arguments for and against their viewpoint.
The warm-up reads like preparation for an exercise class but one of the first rules of good debating is to have a relaxed pose and posture. “Confidence is communicated in many ways,” says Jason Vit, a debate coach. “How a speaker looks, walks and the first thing out of their mouth can make a huge difference to how they are perceived and the value which an audience ascribes to what they say,” he says. “Let’s have a heated debate” Debating is all about selling your ideas to an audience - it follows then, that if the salesman doesn’t look the part, he can expect the door to be slammed in his face.
Soap opera attention span
Always be yourself Projecting confidence is vital Listen to questions or points raised by other speakers Consider the attention span of the audience Make answers and points relevant Know your material
“Simply put, someone is always more convincing if they understand the alternatives and have still rejected them.”
While some people are debate naturals, Mr Vit says that with the correct training and practice anyone can hold their own in a high octane discussion. Working out the correct pace and delivery - not too fast, emphasis on the right words - is one way to improve one’s oratorical skills. Injecting a bit of personality into the proceedings is another, although Mr Vit only advises “genuinely funny” people to go down this path. A sprinkling of the wrong sort
Write down any important names or information
“Stance, voice, confident use of technical terms… enable people to fake confidence even when they are nervous,” he says. But faking it can only get one so far and there is more to debating than simply style over substance.
“An audience is more likely to support one speaker’s position over another speaker if they can demonstrate knowledge of the subject in question and an understanding of the alternatives.
of jokes in a debate can backfire in the same way a bad stand-up routine might. Another important consideration, often overlooked, is how long to take to make a point. Maintaining the audience’s attention can be tricky and Mr Vit suggests observing the length of TV ads, or the duration of a scene in soap opera, as useful guides in judging attention span. Holding people’s interest will be a big challenge for all the three leaders taking part in the prime ministerial debates. Much has been made of the fact that this is the first time British political leaders have agreed to participate in televised election debates, but they are no strangers to head to head sparring. Every Wednesday when Parliament sits they face each other at Prime Minister’s Questions, a tradition which dates back in various guises to 1881. But the formal strictures of such set-tos mask the fact that debate, in its loosest form, is something most people engage in almost daily. Football - the national game - is played against a backdrop of ceaseless debate between fans. The same goes for other national obsessions in which we are asked to take sides reality TV shows, the moral choices of soap opera characters. What is central to any line of debate is passion, says Mr Vit. Winning a debate is essentially winning an argument - the skill being able to defend a view, and to “appear to be right all the time, even when you are not”. Debates were held at coffee houses The importance of debate as a medium for self improvement and intellectual stimulation, within these shores at least, can be traced back to the coffee house debates of the 17th Century. It was in the coffee houses that writers, politicians, businessmen and scientists would discuss and share ideas. Underpinning this was the freedom it offered, in a democratic society, for people to air their views freely in public - and in the process coming up with a great idea or solution to a problem.
These days similarly passionate exchanges can be witnessed across the internet and, particularly, daytime TV. Talks shows hosted by the likes of Trisha Goddard and Jeremy Kyle have used the traditional debate format with a modern twist. There are still two sides appealing to an audience to agree with their viewpoint, but the subject matter is very different. “People are prepared to debate very intimate confessional topics, compared with the topics which would have traditionally been accepted for debate publicly,” says Paul Stenner, a professor at the University of Brighton.
to gesture with your right hand but not your left (lest your toga slipped), but that it was acceptable to leave the senate floor with your toga in somewhat more disarray than when you arrived!
Mr Stenner who has studied the emotional impact of talk shows such as Jerry Springer, says it can be viewed for good or bad. “Some people see this as a great advance, the cracking of the cold rationalist and stuffy and traditional approach but others would see it as a decline - hanging your dirty laundry in public.”
Within the Young Farmers movement we regularly have debating competitions and this will sometimes see 13 year-olds pitted against 26 year-olds. Although age and experience help, the confidence from knowing the subject, and what the oppositions arguments will be, nearly always wins out.
“It exercises our minds”, argues Ellis Cashmore, a professor of culture, media and sport. He argues that the appeal of television courtoom dramas and chat shows is because of the way they draw viewers into a discussion. “We are being put in the position of the judge or the jury. We’re being asked to evaluate arguments.
David Herbert, Northamptonshire
“People don’t usually watch a political debate or a Jeremy Kyle programme without forming some kind of judgement on it. The reason they’re so appealing to us is that we don’t just sit there passively - we engage in it.” The truth is that we like to watch debates as much as we like to take part in them and deliver a judgement, says Mr Cashmore. But for debate aficionados like Mr Vit, the real test comes when you are eyeball to eyeball with your opponent, under pressure. Comments from the BBC website
Megan, Cheshire Best advice I ever received was about dealing with difficult questions when speaking in public. Hold your breath for a long time until you pass out....... and when you regain consciousness the audience will have forgotten all about the original difficult question. Eric Clarke, Dublin, Ireland
Very insightful article I will definitely be taking points from this. Chinelo, Manchester This and other areas that are now thread through modern politics is exactly the problem. As long as you look right and sound right, you don’t need to actually do right. A better country over a better debater any day! Karl , Andover, Hants The other day on television there were what were called ‘debates’ but were really very poor question and answer sessions. Please, television people, if you call something a debate, let’s see one - a proper, formal, structured debate, not just a few politicians cherry-picking the questions from the audience that they want to answer. Answering random questions on stage doesn’t make it a debate. Louise, England
In Ancient Rome, senators and potential senators took classes in how to debate - including such niceties as how DIALOGUE 15
GEORGE WASHINGTON LETTER AUCTIONED AT SOTHEBY’S Due to an obscure connection with the Washington family through the 1st Earl of Dartmouth, the ESU found itself in possession of an original draft of a letter sent from George Washington to the Reverend Fairfax. Thomas Fairfax, 6th Baron Fairfax of Cameron (October 22, 1693 – December 9, 1781) was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Baron Fairfax of Cameron and of Catherine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway. Fairfax administered his vast Northern Neck Proprietary – a Virginia land grant dating back to 1649 – from his wilderness estate at Greenway Court, Virginia. Various place
names in Northern Virginia and West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle are named for him—most notably Fairfax County, Virginia. Fairfax was the only resident peer in colonial America. In 1748, he made the acquaintance of George Washington, a distant relative of the Yorkshire Fairfax family, who was then a youth of 16. Impressed with Washington’s energy and talents, Lord Fairfax employed him (his first job ever) to survey his lands lying west of the Blue Ridge. The letter is due to be auctioned at Sotheby’s in New York on 18 June – proceeds will go towards ESU programmes.
PHILADELPHIA March 6th 1793 Dear Sir, I have been favoured with your letter of 17th last and beg you to be assured that nothing was ever further from my thoughts than taking amiss yr not coming to the road to see me the day I passed by your house on my return to this City. – As an unequivocal proof of this fact I have only to assure you that I should have not have been found there if you had come out to it – for it was not until I was opposite to your house that I sent the servant in, without making any halt myself, being in a hurry to meet and do business with the Commissioners of the Federal District of George Town before Mrs Washington should come up that we might proceed some miles on our journey which we accordingly did that afternoon. – Motives of friendship and respect were all I had in view by sending in to know how you did, as I was about to leave the county and had it not in my power for the reason just mentioned to call upon you myself for that purpose. –
I thank you for your kind condolence on the death of my nephew. It is a sad loss I sincerely regret; but as it is the will of Heaven, whose decrees are always just and wise, I submit to it without a murmer. – Before I conclude, permit me to ask if anything is done, or likely to be done in the case of Savage. – I am extremely anxious to see all matters in which I have had any agency brought to a close although the issue thereof should be unfavourable before I quit the stage of life. My best respects in which Mrs Washington unites are presented to Mrs Fairfax and your family and I am – with much esteem and regard Dr Sir Yr most obedt & affect G Washington
ESU HEADS TO EDUCATION NORTH The ESU has spread its wings into the professional exhibition arena! Packing the car full of our newly printed brochures and a healthy supply of journey nibbles, Katherine Plummer, Head of Education Programmes, Gillian Parker, Head of Cultural Programmes and Head of Marketing and Communications, Hanna Cevik travelled up to man the ESU stand at the Times Educational Supplement’s two-day exhibition for education professionals, Education North. The event was held at the Manchester Central arena, formerly known as the GMEX, in the beautiful old Manchester central train station. Head of Speech and Debate, Jason Vit joined Gillian for the second day of the exhibition. Whilst the event itself was focused on early years and Special Educational Needs, we found that the experience of exhibiting at a professional, targeted fair was worthwhile and really informative for the future of the ESU. The publications we used were newly designed and created to show the full range of ESU programmes in a dedicated document. With our updated mission statement we found ourselves talking to many teachers, students and local education authorities about the possibility of them taking part in ESU programmes across the board.
ON THE HORIZON â€“ Inside We bring you details of events that are due to happen as we are about to go to press. A full report will appear in our next issue, and will be available online, but we want to share the excitement of the moment with you now.
National Mooting Competition_18 Autumn City Lunches_18 Debate Academy_18 Malta and Turkey Launches_18 International at Home_18 More Great Debates_20 London Debate Challenge_21 Buckingham Palace Draw_21 Browne Lecture_22
NATIONAL MOOTING COMPETITION
MALTA AND TURKEY LAUNCHES
The ESU-Essex Court Chambers National Mooting Competition is only days away from finding a winner for 2010. The semi-finals are held at Dartmouth House in the morning, followed by the grand final at the Royal Courts of Justice in the late afternoon. The winners and finalists are invited to a drinks reception at Essex Court Chambers following the announcement of the winners. At the time of writing we don’t yet know who the semi finalists will be, but this year we have received several emails complimenting the very high quality of the entrants evidenced in an extremely challenging moot on trusts law in round three.
As this issue of dialogue goes to print, we will be launching two new international ESUs. In late May and early June the ESU welcomes Malta and Turkey into the ESU. Both launches will be attended by delegations of over 40 ESU members from the all over the world who join the committee’s of ESU Malta and ESU Turkey to support them in their launch ceremonies. ESU Malta’s launch reception will take place in the residence of the British High Commissioner and the launch of ESU Turkey will be held at the British Consulate in Istanbul. Dartmouth House staff will support both launch committees during their celebratory programmes.
This competition is one of the toughest and most important moot competitions in the country and we all look forward to some outstanding speeches on the 24 June. Guests are welcome to come and watch both the semis and the final by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
AUTUMN CITY LUNCHES Following our successful City Lunch Series in the spring with Lord Mandelson, Vince Cable and Andrew Mitchell (see page 10), we are planning the Autumn City Lunch Series. The theme of three lunches to be held in October/November will be ‘A Reflection on the Election’. Our three speakers will be political commentators, looking back at the extraordinary General Election results and commenting on how the coalition government is working. Dates and speakers to be confirmed. For more information contact Jo Wedderspoon on 020 7529 1550 or email@example.com.
INTERNATIONAL AT HOME On 9 June, the ESU will hold its summer International at g Home with special guest of honour HE Mr Mehmet Yi˘it Alpogan, Ambassador of Turkey to the Court of St James. A full report will appear in September’s issue.
DEBATE ACADEMY From 23 to 26 July, the Speech and Debate team will be running the 10th Debate Academy. The four-day residential course, for which we will be returning to Oakham School this year, is aimed at students between the ages of 14 and 18 who wish to develop their debating skills. This course caters for all levels of experience, from complete beginners to advanced speakers. Students participate in workshops, run by some of the most experienced debating coaches in the UK and internationally, speak in debates, receive valuable feedback from their mentors, and socialise with students from the UK and abroad. We are aiming to make this year’s Debate Academy bigger and better than ever before, with over 120 students and staff expected to attend.
CAN YOU HELP?
The ESU runs three summer seminars giving individuals across the world valuable scholarships equipping them with communication skills, confidence and networking opportunities. The first is the Shakespeare Study Course is held in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. The programme gives those studying English Literature or Shakespeare at university or post-graduate level around the world the opportunity to immerse themselves in a week of plays, lectures, discussions and workshops devised and delivered by Shakespearean experts in Stratford. A scholarship to the course would allow the scholar to draw on the unique resources at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the Shakespeare Institute to facilitate their research and studies. The course is supported by classes with members of the RSC including actors and voice coaches bringing Shakespeare as ‘text’ and Shakespeare as ‘theatre’ into dialogue. “I feel absolutely inspired and enthusiastic about studying Shakespeare. My learning will now posses a personal touch because of the wonderful experiences throughout the course and all the nice people I met there. It was really great to meet people from different parts of the world and make friends with them and be a member of a united and enthusiastic group”. Natalia Zhloba, Belarus. The second summer seminar is the Globe Cultural Seminar for Teachers: Shakespeare and His Stage, held in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe. This one-week course provides up to 30 teachers from 30 different countries with insights into the crafts involved in creating a production for the Globe Theatre. Teachers of English and Theatre for whom English is a second language will work with Globe Education staff to explore creative and practical approaches to teaching Shakespeare creatively in the classroom. The seminar considers how Shakespeare is translated both in terms of performance and classroom curricula across the world.
“The sessions we attended during the seminar highlighted the rich and multiple lines of meaning opened up by the Shakespearean text in performance and introduced us to various exercises and methods that can be used in the classroom to demonstrate that. Such practical approaches to teaching Shakespeare would be particularly useful for my students, as most of them will become teachers of English in the public school sector.” Stella Achilleos, Cyprus Third is the International Relations Conference. This conference, held in Mansfield College, Oxford, deals with a variety of issues relating both to international relations and to Britain’s international role in the world today. The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Global Challenges’. The conference also offers a unique opportunity to make individual contacts with people from various fields, cultures and backgrounds. “I think I will remember this conference as one of the turning points of my life.” Berfu Guven, Turkey. Crucially, places to the summer programmes are awarded on the merit of an application. If an applicant is successful they are given a scholarship place which includes course fees, accommodation, meals, theatre trips and excursions. Each place is worth £1,000. We are looking for funding for these prgroammes this year and for the future. With the support of the ESU members and the ESU branches across the UK, we can continue to provide these invaluable opportunities for people across the world to realise their potential. If you would like to support any of the seminars, please get in touch. Your contribution can remain anonymous, alternatively, we would like to invite you, as a sponsor, to come and meet the people who benefit from your generosity. Contact Jo Wedderspoon for more information, 020 7529 1576 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MORE GREAT DEBATES!
Debating at a previous event.
The Great Climate Change Debate is the product of a new partnership with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), and will take place on 22 June. Following the Green ESU programme, this Great Debate will be a forum for students to learn more about and critically examine issues surrounding climate change. The RGS (with IBG) is organising a series of workshops for the students in their historic venue in South Kensington. Participants will then put this knowledge to good use by discussing topics inspired by the environment in their debates. Students will be from Years 7 and 8 (11-13 year-olds), as part of an effort made by the ESU to engage students of all ages in debating. On 5 July, a team from ESU Speech and Debate will take over Hampton Court Palace with a large group of sixth form students for the Great History Debate. This will be the latest in a programme of themed debate days which are supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation. The students will have lectures and discussions led by the experts at the palace and then engage in debates on some of the historic themes with which Hampton Court Palace is connected. As well as the banqueting hall, which we will use at the start of the day, the students will have the chance to debate the great questions of
Tudor history in the rooms of the palace where they will be surrounded by the extraordinary history of the venue. Also in July, the ESU Speech and Debate team will be working with the Youth Learning Zones from some of the countryâ€™s top soccer clubs on the Great Football Debate. Bringing primary school pupils together from across London to discuss and debate issues surrounding sport and soccer, we hope to get the students arguing (constructively) on the terraces. Another highlight of the day will be an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Wembley Stadium complex. The day already has very strong interest and is looking like being one of our biggest Great Debate days yet. As with all programmes, ESU staff and our student mentors will be on hand to run the debates and offer feedback and guidance to the participants to help them improve their oratorical skills while the experts from RGS, the palace and football clubs will be able to help enhance their understanding of the issues. The benefit of this programme is that it helps teachers and students to realise the value of debate as a way of understanding complex issues in any field from history and politics to sport and science. We are all looking forward to these events and hope that we may be able to organise one at the Tower of London in the future (in part so ESU staff can judge the debates while wearing armour!)
BUCKINGHAM PALACE GARDEN PARTY The ESU is pleased to announce that the following members will be joining the Director-General and other guests at that venerable occasion, the Buckingham Palace Garden Party. Alan Collinson (Taunton) Rosemary Ellerbeck (Plymouth) Sarah Hatton (Salisbury) Louise Jeffreys (Salisbury)
The reserves are: Margaret Poulter (Southend-on-Sea) Michael Porter (Hastings 1066) Congratulations – and enjoy!
Staff applaud Mike making the draw in the less-thansummery Dartmouth House courtyard
Rosamond Raymond (Guildford)
2009 winners Bishop Justus High School, Bromley.
LONDON DEBATE CHALLENGE The London Debate Challenge is the flagship outreach programme of the ESU. Currently in its 8th year, this competition brings together students from London’s maintained secondary schools. The process starts early in the spring term each year, when representatives from each borough start organising local competitions. Throughout April and May each borough organises a competition for schools in its area, in order to select the team that will represent them in the pan-London final. The ESU supports the boroughs by providing workshops, teaching resources and judges for their competitions, before hosting and organising the finals days. The pan-London final will be held on 1 July at Dartmouth House. Teams from more than 45% of London boroughs will compete for the title of London Debate Challenge Champions. Throughout the day, the students engage in prepared and unprepared debates, with the aim of reaching the grand final. As the borough coordinator from Tower Hamlets puts it, “the LDC is a brilliant experience for the pupils as it gives them the experience of debating in a prestigious location, against their peers from other boroughs.” This competition would not be possible without the generous support of the ESU London Branch. For more information on the London Debate Challenge please contact Kallina Basli, 020 7529 1594 or email@example.com. DIALOGUE 21
LORD BROWNE SPEAKS Lord Browne, former Chief Executive of BP, was a world-renowned industrialist whose private life led to his downfall.
John Browne will be talking about his new book Beyond Business, An Inspirational Memoir from a Visionary Leader at Dartmouth House on 28 June. Lord Browne of Madingley was, despite his small stature, a colossus of business, as he reminds us in his book. Once described as “the greatest businessman of his generation”, he was appointed chief executive of BP in 1995 and went on to transform the company into Britain’s leading business and a global giant. Beyond Business – a reference to his rebranding of BP as “Beyond Petroleum” – charts his 41-year career with the oil group, 12 of them as chief executive. He lays bare his unhappiness and admits he made mistakes but the book serves as an attempt to vindicate himself and restore his reputation after it had been so roundly trashed in the wake of his shock departure. The question on people’s lips when he comes to Dartmouth House will perhaps surround the events which led to Lord Browne’s resignation in 2007 from the company he had worked in for 40 years, 18 months earlier than he had originally planned. In an industry which is notoriously macho, John Browne felt compelled to keep his sexuality secret. However, after his relationship break-down with Jeff Chevalier and Browne’s refusal to keep supporting him, his former lover sold the story of their four-year relationship to a newspaper. Lord Browne often blames the media frenzy on his initial false declaration married with the classic combination of ‘sex and power’. Before his final months at BP, Browne was at the top of his game – voted industrialist of the year for six out of seven years. He transformed a middle-ranking British company
into a major global force, through a series of takeovers and daring deals, such as the largest ever foreign joint venture with Russian oligarchs, TNK-BP, overseen by Putin and Blair, in new oil-rich territories. He was also at the forefront of tackling climate change – breaking ranks with the rest of the oil industry in a pioneering speech in California in 1997, and withdrawing BP from the Global Climate Coalition, which had been set up by oil companies as a counter-lobby group to the environmentalists. In these candid memoirs, Browne admits that his loneliness, arguably exaggerated after the death of his parents, drove his obsession with BP which he often described as his ‘family’, openly admitting in his book “I became increasingly aware of the all-consuming action of being at the helm of BP and the emptiness of my private life.” In the moving chapter of his book that covers the most difficult episode of his life, Browne writes: “My work with BP had consumed more than 40 years of my life. After I resigned, that part of my life had been severed... For some time I looked at my career with BP with distaste and dissatisfaction. It was hard to take a balanced view of the era that had occupied more of my life than any other.” Lord Browne will be speaking on his book Beyond Business at Dartmouth House on 28 June, 7pm. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing. Tickets (£8 to include a drink) are available from Gillian Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7549 1564.
PROGRAMMES â€“ Inside News and reports from the educational, cultural and international programmes that the ESU runs from Dartmouth House.
School Mace National Final_24 Queen Caroline at Kensington Palace_25 Armonico Consort: Dido & Aeneas_26 Secondary Exchange Scholars Chosen_26
Glasgow Hosts Schools Mace International Final_34 Lindemann Scholarships Decided_35 Discover Your Voice In Primary Schools_36
Chilton Art History Lecture With Sothebyâ€™s_26
5O Years of Public Speaking Competition Celebrated_38
Two New Recruits To Dartmouth House_27
From the Archives_40
Clergy Award Outcome Awaited_27 Book Award Winners Share Their Knowledge_28 New Style Debate Comes To London_29 Record Entry For Travelling Librarian Award_30 University Mace Win For Scotland_31 Spreading The ESU Word In Ghana_32
L – Malvern College make their case. R – Winners Hasan and Ed with their certificates.
SCHOOLS MACE NATIONAL FINAL The Schools Mace national final for England was held at Dartmouth House in April. Six teams took part in the final, each representing a different region of the UK – having won their regional competition. At the final contestants had seven minutes to deliver their speech after which the audience had an opportunity to ask questions in the floor debate. The first debate of the evening was on the motion ‘This House Believes we should adopt a school voucher system’, with the team from Kesgrave High School in proposition and the team from Malvern College in opposition. Both teams presented strong, passionate arguments on a topic as close to their hearts as education. After a quick break, the teams from Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School and the Royal Grammar School from Newcastle discussed the motion that ‘This House Believes that criminals, once released, should be allowed to change their identities’. The second debate was
equally engaging with witty exchanges between the two sides and interesting questions from the audience. The motion ‘This House Believes we should have set election dates’ was discussed in the final debate of the evening by the teams of Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys in proposition and Lancing College in opposition. In the lead up to the election, the teams produced a very high quality debate, with several thought-provoking ideas about our political system. The team from Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys, consisting of Hassan Dinjer and Edward Schwitzer was announced as this year’s Schools Mace National Champions for England. Congratulations to them! See page 34 to see how they did in the international final in May.
QUEEN CAROLINE AT KENSINGTON PALACE
The ESU is working with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) as part of the Great Debates series. Young people have the chance to come to one of the HRP properties and learn about the building and the important periods of its history through lectures and activities, complemented with debates about the major historical questions and issues which the palace explores. The first of these was a Constitutional Experience with the International Public Speaking Competition participants and the second event is planned with Hampton Court where students will be debating the King’s Great Matter, exploring the nature of monarchy and power. Our collaboration with HRP was marked by a lecture on Queen Caroline given by Lucy Worsley. By day, Lucy is Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after The Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace State Apartments, the Banqueting House in Whitehall, and Kew Palace in Kew Gardens. By night, she spills the beans on the Georgian court and particularly how it must have been seen by the royal servants and courtiers. This has been beautifully captured in her new book Courtiers, The Secret History of Kensington Palace based on the 45 characters depicted on the King Grand Staircase at Kensington Palace, painted by William Kent in the 1720s. Her lecture ‘Queen Caroline: Kensington Palace’s First Queen of Hearts’ looked at Britain’s most under-rated queen consort. Fat, funny, a German immigrant, quick to laugh and to cry, she preferred discussing philosophy to taking part in court ceremony.
Set in the King’s Drawing Room at Kensington Palace where many of the Queen’s adventures unfolded, and complemented by Lucy’s passion for the subject, the audience was able to get a true sense of the story. The familiarity with the various characters with which the audience was left at the end of the lecture could only be derived from Lucy’s unending knowledge, detailed and intimate descriptions of Queen Caroline and the courtiers. Like her book, the evening was threaded through with the stinging witticisms of 18th century observers as well as the tragic circumstances in which Queen Caroline often found herself. Lucy explained the tremendous and moving trials of Queen Caroline’s life and how she overcame them with stoicism and dignity. With emotion, Lucy described the Queen’s final hours where she suffered at the hands of primitive medicine, laying bleeding for ten days before her final breath. Lucy Worsley is a thoroughly entertaining and an undoubtedly knowledgeable individual. Her book is highly recommended as it is wonderfully readable and her ability to incite empathy into these delicious characters is outstanding. Highly worth the read. Lucy will have been on BBC1 on 17 May, presenting a programme called ‘King Alfred ... the Great?’ and also on ‘The Curse of the Hope Diamond’ on Channel 4 on 7 June. Both programmes should be available to watch again.
ARMONICO CONSORT: DIDO & AENEAS
SECONDARY EXCHANGE SCHOLARS CHOSEN
In March, the Armonico Consort filled Dartmouth House with the sounds of opera. Dido & Aeneas is an opera in a prologue and three acts by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell to a libretto by Nahum Tate. The first known performance was at Josias Priest’s girls’ school in London in the spring of 1689. The story is based on Book IV of Virgil’s Aeneid, and recounts the love story of Dido, Queen of Carthage and the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair at his abandonment. A monumental work in Baroque opera, it is remembered as one of Purcell’s foremost theatrical works.
The interviews for the 2010-11 Secondary Schools Exchange scholarship were held on 18 March. Fourteen scholars will depart from the UK for three term scholarships and two will go for two terms. We are so pleased at the continued popularity and success of this scholarship which has been running since 1954. This year’s applicants were from the broadest range of backgrounds yet with interests covering a spectrum from languages to rowing.
Armonico Consort is, at its heart, a highly talented vocal ensemble staging a wide range of programmes in atmospheric settings such as Dartmouth House. Armonico Consort brought this performance to life and provided the audience with a fresh musical experience. Artistic Director, Christopher Monks is the driving force behind Armonico Consort’s success and has established an education programme now reaching out to tens of thousands of young children across the country. Performing on a harpsichord, Christopher led five singers and a group of Baroque Players to deliver a beautiful evening of music.
CHILTON ART HISTORY LECTURE WITH SOTHEBY’S Just as the George Washington Letter goes to sale in Sotheby’s New York, Sotheby’s Chairman in the UK was giving a Chilton Art History lecture on ‘Collectors and Collecting Since 1945’. James Stourton primarily discussed how collecting has altered internationally encompassing the changes of taste and the rise of Modernism but he also examined the changes in the purpose of collecting from being a private pleasure to a public service.
In August, we will run the usual briefing day for them with alumni from recent years returning to give an honest and helpful assessment of the things the departing scholars will find useful, and perhaps most importantly, what they will be tempted to take, but never use! Then, in early September, we will welcome the US scholars to the UK, as they arrive in London ready for their year at a school somewhere in the diverse counties of England and Wales. The whole group will get together again for a Thanksgiving dinner party later in the year. Briefing days are always a joy for ESU staff as we get a chance to see the change in the scholars we sent last year, and how this programme genuinely does change lives. We will bring you more news and an update on the most recent alumni in September.
Joining Sotheby’s in 1979, James has since written several books including Great Collectors of Our Time: Art Collecting since 1945 and Great Smaller Museums of Europe and frequently writes on the history of collecting. The ESU Chilton Art History Scholarship sponsors a student on a Christie’s Education Course. The award is designed to help fund part of the fees for either the one year Christie’s Course or for the MLitt Programme (awarded by the University of Glasgow). Options for both courses are either “Early European Art: Antiquity, Middle Ages, Renaissance”, “Fine and Decorative Arts: Renaissance to 1960” or “Modern and Contemporary Art: 1860 to present day”. Janice Hussain is the current recipient of the scholarship.
TWO NEW RECRUITS TO DARTMOUTH HOUSE Election Night Party has set the tone for a successful future at the ESU!
Our newest members of staff take up two vital roles at Dartmouth House. Steven Nolan joins Speech and Debate as Programmes Officer. Steven is an Irish law graduate, who most recently worked with the headquarters of Fianna Fáil, one of the parties which is in government in Ireland. He is an accomplished debater and public speaker and has spent the last few years coaching and adjudicating competitions around the world. He has responsibility for our university competitions, including the John Smith Memorial Mace and the ESU Essex Court Chambers National Mooting Competition, as well as overseeing the Debate Squad and implementing our new universities training programme. His dance debut at the ESU
CLERGY AWARD OUTCOME AWAITED The American Memorial Chapel Travel Grant is offered to a member of the clergy of the Episcopalian, Roman Catholic and Free Churches and can be used for travel anywhere in the United States. The late Lord Baillieu, who was Chairman and Deputy President of the English-Speaking Union for 19 years, was closely associated with the American Memorial Chapel. Built in St Paul’s Cathedral, this commemorates the British and American servicemen and women who gave their lives during the Second World War.
We are also pleased to welcome Narissa Nelson to our permanent staff as a Database Administrator. She has an Information Technology Master’s degree specialised in business information systems. She has joined us as an expert in information management from successfully designing, analysing and managing to help us build the function and purpose of our database and use of information. Her most recent information management research and project ‘Shared Drive - Exploring the information sharing needs of a small medical department’ gained popularity within a Nutrition and Dietetics Service at the University Hospital Bristol Foundation Trust in 2009 and has been accepted for the Medical Informatics 2010 International Congress in South Africa this September. She has 10 years of charity volunteering, IT and administration work experience in Trinidad and Tobago and the UK, so Narissa appreciates the opportunity to develop a system purpose-built for the ESU and is excited to learn, administrate and manage our database to continually improve membership relationships, communication and support for our programmes.
It was agreed that the monies remaining after the project was completed should be given to the ESU to hold as a separate fund which acknowledged the American Memorial Chapel as its source. The net income was to be used to enable the exchange of clergy between the UK and USA for educational purposes. This programme began in the spring of 1968 with a visit to the USA by a British clergyman. The aim of the grant is to foster understanding and the exchange of ideas between clergy of all denominations, in this country and in the USA. Applications for this year’s grant close on 21 June with interviews taking place on 15 July. For more information on the grant, or an application form, please contact Kate McCulloch at the English-Speaking Union on 0207 529 1568 or email@example.com
Suhashini Thomas received the ESU Book Award in November 2009
BOOK AWARD WINNERS SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE
Hinglish, a strict no no in BPOs! Hinglish may have unofficially become the language of urban India but it is a strict no no in business process outsourcing (BPO) as Indian English expressions often tend to create problems for international customers and confuse them, an award-winning book says. “British customers don’t understand some of the expressions in Indian English. This can cause confusion and sometimes amusement. You need to be aware of what Indian English expressions are in your speech. Then you need to adapt to the customer’s style,” write Barry Tomalin and Suhashini Thomas in International English for Call Centres. “In talking to British customers you need to avoid the Indianisms wherever possible and substitute standard British English expressions. If you can improve your use of grammar, it will improve your image vis-a-vis the British customer. However, it won’t normally affect comprehension,” says the book which won the Highly Commended by the Duke of Edinburgh English-Speaking Union Book Award in 2009. The authors, who have practical experience of working in call centres and training call centre personnel, believe that Indian BPO representatives lead in keenness and commitment to the job but still need support in matching their communication skills with UK customer requirements. “When you use Hinglish with people on the phone or face to face, they don’t realise you are using Hinglish and neither do you. They just think you are speaking funny or in an uneducated and ignorant fashion,” the book, published by DIALOGUE 28
From the Financial Express, New Delhi Posted online: May 13, 2010 New Delhi
Macmillan, says. “Indian English isn’t always understood on the international stage. The reason is that Indian English is affected by interference from Indian mother tongues. Although Indian English is a variety of English, just like US or British English, it isn’t yet recognised internationally. Since the customer (in BPOs) is king you have to adapt to the international variety used by the customers, not the other way round.” According to the authors, the key differences are in vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. Another drawback call centre executives have is irritating intonation coupled with terrifying speed which can be overcome by getting rhythm, pitch and intonation right. “Rhythm describes the way words are grouped together to create a unit. It’s made up of stressed and unstressed syllables or words grouped together to create a sense of harmony between them and in the sentence. We absorb these rhythms as soon we learn to talk and unconsciously we are listening out for them. When we hear them we feel reassured. When we don’t, we feel uncomfortable.” A simple technique called ‘Leave a beat when you speak’ can help one speak more slowly, the book says. “When you are delivering a call centre script, divide the text into ‘rhythm groups.’ Then leave a short pause at the end of each rhythm group. Just a beat or two to allow the listener to catch up.” Pitch is also another important factor. “English in the Indian subcontinent is sometimes spoken at a very high pitch. This can be very irritating for international English customers, who are used to a more modulated tone of voice,” the book says.
NEW STYLE DEBATE COMES TO LONDON Some of the sharpest university students in Europe, Asia and North America tackled a new style of debating in March.
The London Australs tournament – held at the School of Oriental and African Studies, with the finals at Dartmouth House – challenged debaters to move past their normal British Parliamentary debating format and tackle “Austral-Asian” style instead. University students on the British debating circuit almost always compete in the British Parliamentary style, which sees two government and two opposition teams (with two members each) cross swords. On the other hand, Austral-Asian debating, common in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, has only two, three-member teams arguing over an issue of political or social importance. Jason Vit, Head of Speech and Debate says that, by supporting the tournament, the ESU aimed to help broaden the repertoire of university debaters in Europe.
“Different debating styles require different mental and verbal skills,” he says. “With London Australs, we gave competitors the challenge of tackling something new as well as the opportunity to grow as debaters. By mastering a new style, debaters can become more versatile, flexible and sophisticated.” The tournament attracted 40 teams from around the globe and featured motions on a range of social and political issues – from welfare being made conditional on passing drug tests to lifting the moratorium on commercial whaling, and from the US pulling out of its military alliance with Israel to media relaxing its restrictions on the reporting of suicide. Jason says the ESU was committed to encouraging people of all ages to undertake debating in its various popular formats from around the world so as to foster a diverse and cross-cultural exchange of views.
“Debaters from Asia and Australia commonly compete in the British Parliamentary form of debating,” he says. “It’s much less common for British debaters to compete in non-British styles of debating. This tournament was aimed at making a small step to bridge that divide.” Aspects of “Austral-Asian” culture were also made part of the tournament – including a wine and sushi evening and an Australian-style barbeque.
RECORD ENTRY FOR TRAVELLING LIBRARIAN AWARD
The tournament winners – Alex Worsnip, Alex Just and Lewis Iwu – successfully negated the motion ‘This House Believes that gendered categories in artistic awards such as the Oscars should be abolished’ against runners- up Tom Hosking, Daniel Warents and Sam Block. There was also an English as a second language (ESL) section of the tournament. This was won by Filip Dobranic, Manos Moschopoulos and Milan Vignjevic, who successfully opposed the motion ‘This House Believes that governments should subsidise failing newspapers’ against runners up Ali al Khatib, Rob Honig and Lars Duursma. Best speaker awards were made to Alex Just and Simone van Elk (top ESL speaker). More information about London Australs can be found on the tournament website www.londonaustrals.com or by contacting the ESU Speech and Debate team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year’s Travelling Librarian Fellowship attracted a record number of candidates. Previous winners have led innovation and change in their various library and information fields and the panel faced a difficult choice when selecting the 2010 Travelling Librarian, who will spend two weeks liaising with colleagues in the US on reciprocal programmes and in exchanging ideas. The panel was delighted that the ESU was able to fund a second deserving librarian this year, and so two awardees were chosen. Jo McCausland has worked in a variety of roles related to public library services and David Clover, Librarian at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, will be travelling to the US in the autumn. Jo McCausland is passionate about customers being at the heart of service provision. Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire, Swindon, Sheffield, York, Birmingham and now Manchester have benefited from Jo’s enthusiasm in taking up the challenges and opportunities for modernising services and developing relationships with those they serve. Working for the excitingly named Department of Transformation at Manchester City Council, she is particularly interested in developing a workforce model to support a repositioned/ revitalised public library service and will be exploring innovative library models in the US.
Lewis, Alex and Alex lift the (chocolate) cup DIALOGUE 30
David Clover admits to having no background in Caribbean Studies before taking up his post in 2003. He now organises annual conferences and chairs panels for others involved in the subject and is on the committee and has edited the newsletter of the Society for Caribbean Studies. David has established networks for UK colleagues and is keen to develop links with the US as well as developing strategies for collaborative projects, including the digitisation of resources. Their reports will be available online when they return.
L – Alternative uses for the mace. Top R – Best Speaker Eoghan Casey talks with chair of the judges Kenneth Barker. Bottom R – Celebrations in the Scottish camp.
UNIVERSITY MACE WIN FOR SCOTLAND The international final of the John Smith Memorial Mace was held in the Siambr Hywel in Cardiff on 30 April. This final debate of the competition, on the motion, ‘This House Believes that religious institutions should not be exempt from any anti-discrimination legislation’, was contested by the four national champions – Glamorgan for Wales, Cambridge for England, King’s Inn Dublin, for Ireland and Edinburgh for Scotland. After a long deliberation the five person judging panel, chaired by Kenneth Barker of Baillie Gifford, returned a split decision with a majority in favour of Edinburgh. This is the first time Edinburgh (or Scotland) has won the international final since 1999. The judges awarded the best individual speaker prize to Eoghan Casey of the King’s Inn team, who spoke second on the opposition. Over the course of the four national competitions, almost 200 teams had
taken part and debated more than 60 different motions covering every field of debate from politics and international relations to ethics, philosophy and morality. For the first time the Scottish competition was held as a one day event and attracted a very strong international judging pool as well as providing a fantastic social in the Glasgow University Union after the final. The Irish competition managed to attract almost a third more teams than last year thanks to the tireless work of the two national convenors, Ruth Faller and Gregg O’Neil and this increase included a significant number of novice teams. In Wales, the win for Glamorgan was the first for the university and it was only the second time in the history of the Welsh Mace that Cardiff did not take the title.
The English Mace proved to be a genuine tour-de-force of debating prowess with some extraordinary performances from some very strong teams as well as a challenging pre-released debate about global trading blocks. This is the oldest competition of its kind in the world and remains one of the most prestigious with former winners occupying exalted positions in government, business and the media as well as creating some of the ESU’s most committed and active alumni. Thanks to the continued support of Baillie Gifford, the ESU is able to keep the cost of entering the Mace low and still support all of those who take part in the international final. We are, as always, indebted to the support of the debate community, some of who are currently students and others now in the world of work, who give up their time to help judge and organise the competition. DIALOGUE 31
SPREADING THE ESU WORD IN GHANA In mid-March, Bryn Gough, Discover Your Voice mentor, and I flew to Accra the capital of Ghana. We were there to launch the Ghanaian national public speaking competition, train high school children in public speaking skills and to develop the ESU presence in Ghana. Background to the ESUs work in Ghana In October 2009, Eugenia Appiah of Essence Communications, based in Accra, approached the ESU regarding the International Public Speaking Competition. Essence Communications runs a very successful Spelling Bee competition in Ghana which feeds into the Scripts Spelling Bee for primary schools in the US. The International Public Speaking Competition works with high school students and therefore complements their Spelling Bee for primary schools. Not only is the competition now running through our partnership with Essence in Ghana but we are also working with them to start an ESU International Spelling Bee competition. DIALOGUE 32
Meetings and Partnerships The weekâ€™s programme was very successful and serious steps were taken toward establishing the ESU in Ghana. Eugenia and I met with Moses Anibaba, Director, British Council, Ghana to discuss not only the ESU but also potential partnership opportunities. Moses was very supportive of the ESUâ€™s work and said that the British Council would be delighted to partner with us on a number of initiatives. The British Council has also very kindly offered to host the national public speaking competition final in Accra. We also met with Nicholas Westcott, the British High Commissioner, who was incredibly supportive of our efforts to establish an ESU in Ghana. He not only agreed to assist us in this process but also kindly accepted to be the guest of honour at the public speaking competition final.
Throughout the week, we had a number of meetings with the team at Essence regarding the establishment of an ESU in Ghana, our other international programmes and the overall aims and objectives of the ESU internationally.
• The students in Ghana are soon going to be very good at public speaking, watch out IPSC!
• Malaria tablets aren’t so bad after all – however don’t rely on Discover Your Voice mentors to remind you to take them.
Essence has done a fantastic job publicising the IPSC and managed to get more than 10 schools involved in 2010, their first year. During the week, Bryn and I trained over 60 students from 11 schools in the skills of public speaking, how to write a speech and how to deliver a speech ready for their national final at the beginning of May. The students were incredibly receptive to the training and got really involved in the workshops. They also enjoyed watching the international finalists from last year’s competition on DVD. The winner of the competition in Ghana travelled to London in May to join more than 80 students from 45 countries to compete at the international final. What Did we Learn in Ghana? • There is incredible enthusiasm for our education programmes in Ghana and it is the first step towards greater ESU presence in Africa. • People in Ghana smile a lot, have a great sense of humour and love to dance – even on breakfast TV!
• Snails can come in many sizes, including jumbo and apparently they make good soup and kebabs hmmm…
• Peanut-butter soup is actually quite tasty. What Was the Most Memorable Event? Dancing with Ohema Mercy (Ghanaian gospel singer) on breakfast television when they were on an ad break – turns out that was a mistake, they weren’t on an ad break and my comedic dancing was broadcast to the whole country – at least they won’t forget the ESU in a hurry! Finally... I would like to thank Eugenia, Josephine and all the Essence team for looking after us so well. Bryn and I had a fabulous experience in Ghana and our programme was very well put together. I would also like to thank Bryn for taking the time to come out and for his support throughout the teaching programme. Annette Fisher, Head of International Programmes DIALOGUE 33
GLASGOW HOSTS SCHOOLS MACE INTERNATIONAL FINAL
Ed & Hasan triumph, seen here with all the finalists.
The Chapel of Glasgow University was the pleasant setting for the International Schools Mace final. It is always wonderful to be able to hold important events in fantastic venues and Glasgow University was very generous in providing this one free of charge. The Schools Mace competition is the largest of its kind in the world with teams from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland competing to become the national debate champions in their own country and getting the chance to represent their nation abroad. The contest is open to students aged 15-18 and is a proving ground for some of the best university debaters of today as it will be for the best of tomorrow. Almost unique among debate competitions for this age group, the topics are released in advance and the students have time to research and prepare. For the competitors, this is a mixed blessing as it allows them to explore many of the interesting aspects of each debate but also means that the judges have very high expectations on the knowledge and understanding of each student.
The English champions this year were from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and both students are also members of the England national debate team who reached the World final in Qatar this year. They faced the Welsh champions, Ysgol Friars and debated the topic; ‘This House Believes the United Kingdom should abandon its nuclear weapons programme’. Also fighting for the international title were the Irish and Scottish teams from Castleknock Community College and The High School of Dundee, respectively. Their motion was ‘This House would introduce a sin tax on tabloid newspapers’. All eight young people gave outstanding performances deftly melding questions of morality and public good with cold rationality and practical reality. The audience was lively and engaged (many of them having just come from a debate training day organised by the Glasgow University Union). It was satisfying to return to Scotland for this rotation of the international final and it was only after a long and difficult deliberation that the judges awarded the win to the England champions, Edward Schwitzer and Hasan Dindjer of Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, adding to the multiple wins Habs have achieved over the years.
LINDEMANN SCHOLARSHIPS DECIDED
Donna is currently completing her scholarship at Stanford University in California. Daniel in Washington.
The ESU professional development scholarships are not always as visible as our other programmes but they are just as valuable to the participants involved. The Lindemann Trust Fellowship was established under the will of Brigadier Charles Lionel Lindemann who directed that his residuary estate should be used to provide income for the provision of Fellowships in the Physical Sciences to be awarded by the English-Speaking Union on behalf of the trust. Brigadier Lindemann wished to assist men and women with outstanding potential to become distinguished scholars or teachers in their chosen field. Last year’s scholars are currently in the US and have sent interim reports of their experiences. Daniel Burnham is at the University of Washington, Donna Wilton is at Stanford University and Martin Shotter is at the Quantum Processes and Metrology Group at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, outside of Washington DC. All three scholars have commented on how valuable their fellowship has been. Donna says, “Since arriving at the beginning of January, I have been exposed to a vast range of chemistry and new technologies. The facilities, technical expertise and support within the Trost group and the Chemistry department as a whole, are excellent. Professor Trost has a strong commitment to training and I have been encouraged to continue to learn by keeping up-to-date with current literature and by attending classes and seminars given at the university. Our bi-weekly group meetings are also excellent opportunities to learn about the chemistry that is being conducted within the group and further afield, and to discuss the challenges being faced.” She concludes by saying “the Lindemann Trust Fellowship has
provided me with an incredible life experience and I have really enjoyed meeting and sharing knowledge with a vast range of people both in and out of the laboratory. This is a fantastic opportunity that has greatly benefited both my personal and professional development.” Martin Shotter says that “the group provides an excellent base for the research which I am conducting; I have been made to feel very welcome here... I would like to thank the Lindemann committee for the opportunities and experiences that this Fellowship is providing.” Daniel is working in a chemistry department and had previously been based in physics departments. He says, “Both the academic and social culture of the US, having up until then worked mainly in the UK, were large adjustments but are now providing some of the best experiences of my life. Leaving my PhD studies behind in a relatively small group and moving to work within a body of over 20 people with a broad interdisciplinary knowledge base has been a fantastic opportunity providing many new challenges. Without exception I have, and still am, learning new things or skills each day.” He continues, “the award has also permitted me the funding and time to write up two journal articles describing some work from my PhD. Without the funding and associated freedom the knowledge within these papers would not have reached its potential audience.... my personal skill set is developing enormously both inside and outside of academia.” The interviews for this year’s scholars took place on 20 April and three fellowships were awarded to Timothy Craggs, John Biggins and Themis Prodromakis. DIALOGUE 35
The young pioneers of Queenâ€™s Park Lower School, Bedford, back row: Teacher Sandra Campbell (left) and Sayeqa Islam (right).
DISCOVER YOUR VOICE IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS
Some of my happiest memories of a long and varied career in education are of those three years early on when I established a succession of action research projects in primary schools in Dorset. Their purpose was to examine the extent to which the structured involvement of parents in their childrenâ€™s school curriculum could influence achievement. The findings aroused much media interest at the time, and convinced me that the greatest educational gains were to be made in the early years when children were young and particularly receptive. Had the pay levels in the primary sector at the time not been so miserable, I might cheerfully have abandoned my chosen career route and changed direction, but it was not to be.
Fast forward an eternity to the branch heats of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition earlier this year, and as I listened to the eloquent presentations of the competitors, composed and confident, I recalled the sea of young faces from all those years ago and wondered how an experience like this might have helped them prepare even better for their lives ahead. I later contacted ESU at Dartmouth House to set up a Discover Your Voice workshop at Queen’s Park Lower School, Bedford, with a delightful group of twenty 8-9 year olds, plus their teacher Sandra Campbell. We were there to participate in a whole day programme organised by the Discover Your Voice team, which aimed, by the end of the day, to have every child participating in a public speaking presentation. And what a fabulous day it was. Games and activities during the morning introduced the main concepts of speaking in public including developing the theme, maintaining eye contact, and style and presentation skills. Gradually, from a starting point where the subject matter of every (very brief) presentation was left for the child to decide (i.e. Boys: football, Manchester United, football, Wayne Rooney, football, Ronaldo, football etc. Girls: My family, Art, Seurat – Yes! Really!), the organisers cunningly kicked the ball into touch and introduced more worldly topics, which all present seemed to adopt with no less enthusiasm than before. Sometimes the class was split into small groups of three or four and assigned a subject or task to prepare and present. On other occasions, volunteers would be called for – there was never a shortage – who then had virtually to think on their feet. In one stunning example we all had to imagine we were on a doomed aeroplane which only had a single parachute. Each volunteer had to make a sales pitch as to why he or she should get the parachute. However, they were not destined to be themselves, but celebrities! So the likes of David Beckham (inevitably!), Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsey, Hagrid from Harry Potter, James Bond, and HM The Queen no less, locked horns for the dubious privilege of effecting an early exit from the plane. Sad to say The Queen didn’t make it – but nor did the rest apart from James Bond, who, following a brilliantly improvised speech, won a landslide victory in the subsequent vote. No coalition discussions here! The clincher was his intention to summon one of his super helicopters to rescue the lot – no fools these youngsters! With the children at lunch, we adjourned for sandwiches and were joined by the school’s visionary head teacher Anne McCormick, and most of the other members of staff, all of whom were very interested in what was going on. Kallina and Sayeqa described and reviewed the plan for the day to much enthusiasm from those present.
In the afternoon, we got down to business. The group was divided into teams, who were then invited to self-select worthwhile subjects for the team speech. Sayeqa ran through the duties of the chairman, the speaker and the questioner. I thought “they will never remember all that!”, but the frenetic activity as the teams dived into corners and set to work set me straight. Very thoughtful topics soon emerged, like banning smoking, preventing wars, the use of drugs, freedom of religion and animal cruelty which were written on the flip chart as the groups set to work. Finally, each team came forward: there were some amazingly erudite presentations considering their ages and the short amount of time they had to prepare. At the end, they were all on a high – just look at the final group photo. The plan now is to roll these activities out internally to other classes and groups, and next autumn the head teacher aims to interest other local lower schools in taking part, perhaps working towards an inter-schools competition - so we could well be called in to action again soon. On a practical level, from the beginning we made it clear to the school that the branch would meet the discounted cost, as well as lunch. In return we are rather pleased that we were able to facilitate a training programme which was absolutely first class, enthusiastically received throughout by children and teachers, and clearly achieved its objectives. The team who came to deliver the workshop were excellent teachers, and perfectly attuned to the young group. This article is dedicated with grateful thanks to the memory of our branch member Joan Reeves, a governor of Queen’s Park Lower School, who introduced us to this excellent school but who died unexpectedly before she could participate in the event itself. Tony Wood, Chairman, ESU Ouse Valley
Discover Your Voice sessions are available at a 50% discount if booked and paid for by an ESU branch. For more information, contact Kallina Basli on 020 7529 1550 or email@example.com DIALOGUE 37
1. Best Speaker Sam Ward with Kate Adie.
2. Best Chair Gemma Rate. 3. The winning team, from Bourne Grammar with the judges. 4. Outstanding Personality Patrick Heard. 5. The winning team from 1977, Amanda Bergstrom, James Raven and Karen Garwood. 6. Best Questioner Madeleine Whelan. 6
7. Runners up Bishops Wordsworthâ€™s with Kate.
5O YEARS OF PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION CELEBRATED Competitors and spectators alike were able to enjoy the spectacular setting of Lincoln’s Inn, bathed in early summer sunshine at this year’s Schools’ Public Speaking Competition final. The interior was equally striking though the beautiful surroundings of the Old Hall provided the speakers with a challenging environment in which to perform. The hard surfaces meant projection and tone were key and our teams all had a chance to practise before the competition started. Encouraged by an enthusiastic audience, including school supporters and branch organisers, the teams battled it out in front of the judges, Kate Adie, Sue MacGregor and Roger Tilbury. This year is the 50th anniversary of the competition which was inaugurated by John Williams and Michael Anstey of the Brighton branch. We were pleased to welcome Elizabeth Williams, wife of John Williams and her children Jill Moss, Richard Williams and granddaughter Clare Moss. The competition has produced many alumni of note including Rory Bremner, Michael Crick, Sandi Toksvig and DIALOGUE 39
Anita Anand. Within the audience we also had the 1977 winning team from The Gilberd School, Colchester, consisting of Amanda Bergstom (neé Ward), James Raven and Karen Garwood. We can only speculate on where the winners of this year’s competition will be in the future. Bourne Grammar School from Lincolnshire, winners of the North East Regional final, emerged victorious. The team consisted of brother and sister duo Patrick and Katharine Heard as speaker and chair, ably assisted by Simon Mariner as questioner. Patrick was also voted “Outstanding Personality” by the audience and was pleased to accept his award from Kate Adie. The whole team will be invited to the ESU Buckingham Palace awards ceremony later in the year along with their coach Richard Cave. Bishop Wordsworth’s School, South West winners, were runners up with a team consisting of Jamil Mustafa (chair), James Simpson (questioner) and Sam Ward (speaker). It was a hectic day for the school as they had a different team in the England final of the Schools’ Mace, held later that day at Dartmouth House. Sam Ward was also awarded Best Speaker for his speech entitled ‘English Libel Laws are Stifling the Freedom of the Press’. He will be invited to take part in the International Public Speaking Competition in 2011. The other individual prizes were awarded to Gemma Rate of Peterborough High School (East winners) for Best Chair and Madeleine Whelan of Burgess Hill School for Girls (South East winners) for Best Questioner. The other schools participating in the final were Moreton Hall School (North West winners), Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Glantaf (Wales
winners), St Paul’s School (London winners) and Cheltenham Ladies College (Midlands winners). Reaching the final is a huge achievement in itself and all teams should be congratulated, both on their success in the earlier rounds and on performing so well on such an intimidating and stressful occasion. The ESU would like to thank the branch organisers for their dedication and hard work during the earlier rounds and Lincoln’s Inn for so generously supporting this event. Entries for next year’s competition will open in June. A celebratory dinner followed the final of the Public Speaking Competition, to mark the 50th anniversary of the competition. We were delighted to be joined by Elizabeth Williams and her family and teams from the ’70s, ’80s and 2000, including James Raven and his triumphant 1976 colleagues from The Gilberd School, Colchester. Meriel Talbot, Director of Branches and Membership and Roger Tilbury, Head of the Public Speaking Committee, hosted the dinner, which was enjoyed by all. During coffee Roger invited the alumni to speak for a few minutes about what taking part in the competition meant to them. It was obvious, from listening to what they said, that the work of the ESU has played a very important part in launching their careers. Several alumni expressed an interest in becoming more involved in today’s ESU by joining as full members and offering their services as judges for the competition.
FROM THE ARCHIVES THE URGENT TASK OF CONSERVING OUR NATURAL RESOURCES Like the rest of the world, the ESU has been hoping for international action on climate change. A new idea? apparently not. In the January 1921 edition of Landmark, Sir Leo Chiozza Money, politician, journalist, author and campaigner for free trade and the redistribution of wealth, predicted that the world’s natural resources would be depleted by ever an increasing population within 100 years. Roosevelt, acutely aware of the problem set up a Conservation DIALOGUE 40
Commission, dissolved shortly afterwards due to cuts in the US economy after the war. A British Dominions Royal Commission was also set up, and again never re-established. Money said “the British Empire, like the United States, is for the most part left to haphazard, unorganised, uncoordinated development by private interests which consider nothing but the immediate gain of individuals in a hurry to get rich”. Landmark reported that 1 in every 11 inhabitants in the US owned a car. The UK was way down the list with only 1 in 110 owning a car. Evelyn Wrench worked out that there would be 4 million cars in the UK if we followed the US lead: “what a nightmare of a thought! There are many conservative Britons who are grumbling about the motor menace and charabanc curse on our country roads. They should read the American statistics and give thanks for their good fortune”.
BRANCHES â€“ Inside The UK branches of the ESU provide a stimulating range of events and programmes often inspiring ESU DH to turn local endeavours into national ones.
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South Wales Region_49
North West Region_63
South West Region_49
South Region_53 South East Region_54
BRANCHES Editorial I am delighted to report that membership is buoyant and enthusiastic. Branches are holding full and varied ranges of events and also extremely worthwhile scholarships and sponsorships.
OTTO DEUTSCH: A LIVING WITNESS
One of the most important annual branch events is the branches conference which this year is a one-day conference to be held on Friday 30 July here at Dartmouth House. I do urge as many of you as possible to come as it is a great opportunity to meet other members, share views and make friends. The day will be full of discussions, talks, exchanges of ideas, workshops and presentations. Lunch, including wine and coffee, will be served in the courtyard. At the end of the day we take the short journey to the Royal-Overseas League for a reception in their garden overlooking Green Park, followed by dinner. Lord (Jeffrey) Archer is our guest speaker and he will also sign copies of his latest book. Accommodation at the League is available for those who would like it. We have had many requests for guidelines on aligning branches’ fundraising efforts with our charity aims and programmes and these will be issued soon. Above all, may I say how much we appreciate you, the members, and your support. Please do not hesitate to contact me any time you like. Meriel Talbot Director of Branches and Membership
Time, the ultimate leveller, has reduced John Demjanjuk1, 89, to a senile husk of a man, but he is still deemed fit to stand trial in Germany for the World War II murder of 27,900 Jews . This is almost certainly the last time that an alleged war criminal from the Hitler era will face justice, in this existence anyway. Here in Southend, another octogenarian is also keenly aware of the passing of time. Otto Deutsch is 81, and growing more tired and frail with the passing days. He should be putting his feet up. “There is a place in a home in London waiting for me, but it’s not time to go there yet,” he says. Instead
Otto, from Surbiton Avenue, has chosen to spend his twilight years on an urgent, exhausting mission, as he pounds Europe, talking to any audience who will give him an ear. For most of his life, Otto has been an ordinary working man who in no way stood out in a crowd. But passing time has cast him in a new and increasingly significant role. The term living witness now defines his whole being. Otto, the son of a pastry cook, spent his early childhood in Vienna. German was his language, Austria his country. His very surname meant ‘German’. But Otto is Jewish, and the years of his childhood were also the years in which
the Nazi party grew to power. He saw at first hand some of the atrocities inflicted on fellow Jews. In July 1939, his mother queued all night to procure him a place on a train out of Vienna. He left for England and never saw his father, mother or beloved older sister again. They perished in the extermination camp of Maly Trostinec. Otto was a player in the greatest tragedy of 20th century Europe. “I don’t necessarily remember what happened last week,” he says, “but what I saw 70 years ago - it’s as if I can see it it in front of me now. The signs going up in our district in Vienna, reading Juden Verboten (Jews forbidden). Jewish people being made to scrub the streets, being rolled in horse dung.” Photographs record that era, as this terrible saga developed and grew steadily bloodier. But the events were also observed by the eyes of a small boy, who watched from the sidelines. No photographic record can match the power of his words as he recalls what he saw. One incident in particular still gnaws at him. Otto’s father had a close friend, Kurt Fillip. “They came from the same
place. They shared a trench together in the First World War. They came to Vienna together, they married at the same time, they chose to live as neighbours, their wives cooked together. His son was my best friend. But my father was Jewish, and Kurt wasn’t. It was Kurt who smashed down our door, dragged my father out of bed, and took him away. “That was the last time I ever saw my father. His oldest, closest friend did that to him. Why? How?” That was the nature of those times. Yet not all Otto’s tales are about human depravity. He talks fondly about the kindness of the Ferguson family ‘Uncle Jim and Auntie Nell’ - who adopted him in England. “They were strong Christians, and taking me into their home was a way of expressing their Christian faith. Yet they never tried to convert me from my own Jewish faith.” Otto’s years in Morpeth, Northumberland, were happy, despite the war. He has his own way of paying tribute to the people who looked after him. The boy raised in the German language, who thought that English was “an impossible blather, blather” when
Otto’s passport from the Third Reich
John Demjanjuk, 89, a retired car worker at a factory in Cleveland, Ohio, is accused of being a guard at Sobibor between March and September 1943 when the gas chamber killings took place. He is charged with being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews.
he first heard it spoken, can now deliver English sentences in a perfect Geordie accent. Otto enjoyed his school days in Morpeth. When he left school, his foster parents found him a job at the local newspaper, the Morpeth Herald. Then came the day when Uncle Jim called him into the front parlour. “I knew that this was something big. The front parlour was out of bounds except for times like funerals, weddings, or visits from the vicar.” Uncle Jim showed him a letter from the International Red Cross. “Until then, I had always dreamt of going back to Europe after the war, and finding my family. But that letter ended all hope,” he says. His father, mother and sister had all been shipped east to Maly Trostinec, on the last trainload of Jewish people out of Vienna, After that the gauleiter of Vienna was able to report that Vienna was “Jew free.” Maly Trostinec wasn’t even a prison camp. It existed simply as a slaughter machine. “They didn’t bother with gas chambers. My family would have just got off the train, and been shot,” says Otto. “The ditches had already been dug.” Soon after this dispatch from hell, Otto, having lost his blood parents, had to say goodbye to his adoptive parents as well. The fostering period only extended to the age of 15. He returned to London. He worked as a printer. After the war he took advantage of his fluent German, and became a courier, guiding tourist parties in his old homeland. Then, in 1972, came what Otto regards as his second great break, his arrival in Southend after a long period of personal unhappiness in London. The idea of the sea has always enticed him. “In Vienna, we were in the middle of a DIALOGUE 43
landlocked country. When my mother told me I was going to England, I was very excited. England was an island. I was going to see the sea for the first time.” Now he was finally living in a seaside town, even if “you had to stand on a ladder on the balcony of my flat with a pair of binoculars to see the sea.” He has remained in the same flat in Southchurch ever since. Although he has never married - “I was wedded to my work” - he also developed an extended family of friends through the Southend synagogue. “It’s funny,” he says, “because when I first landed in England, it was at Harwich. I was an Essex man from the start.” Outwardly, it looks like a quiet life and career, at least since he arrived in England. But quiet is not a word that will appear in Otto’s obituary. Parallel to his ordinary working life, at first almost imperceptibly, Otto started to embark on a cause. “I’ve talked to schools, Townswomen’s’ guilds, university students. Public speaking was something that came quite easily to me, because of my courier experience.” Invitations to speak have risen steadily, but Otto is keen to stress “I am not on an ego trip.” He has, he says, just got “a story to tell”, and “a simple message about tolerance and equality.” But perhaps these endeavours have done something for him, personally, as well. This mission has helped to re-acqaint him with his past. At the age of 75, he finally made the full, ceremonial commitment to the Jewish faith when he was bar-mitzvahed (normally a ceremony conducted at age 13). Over in Germany, John Demjanjuk remains in denial of his past, and will almost certainly go to his grave in that state. Some have questioned the value of prosecuting a decrepit 89-year-old, DIALOGUE 44
on the edge of death, for crimes committed almost 70 years ago. But Otto Deutsch has no doubt that the trial should proceed. “Justice has to be done, however long it takes,” he says. “There has to be a verdict. What Demjanjuk did has to be proved in a court of law, and go on the record.” In any case, why should John Demjanjuk be allowed to rest in peace? To judge from Otto Deutsch, it’s not a privilege bestowed on the surviving victims of the Nazi era. If Demjanjuk bears a burden of heavy guilt, these blameless survivors carry a corresponding mantle of duty. They have to shine a candle into the future. They have to instruct the generations to come. They have to tell our children what happened, so that it never happens again.
It is why, in his eighties, the sweet-natured Otto Deutsch has become a driven man. “I must continue. Sometimes it’s a strain. I feel tired. I don’t walk well. It’s becomes a great effort. But I have to remember that I am one of the youngest of the survivors. Soon there’ll come a time when there are none of us left. There will be books and videos to record what happened, but nobody who saw these things with their own eyes. As long as we’re alive we are on a mission and we must fulfil it, we must.” Otto is happy to talk to local groups. He can be contacted on 01702 463793. Tom King, Chief Features Writer, The Echo (South Essex) With grateful thanks to The Echo
At the Netherlands border, the gateway to safety, the train moved through the customs barrier in stages, carriage by carriage. “You could hear the sounds of welcome from the Dutch side,” he says. “The children on those carriages were singing.”
Otto Deutsche still possesses the passport that took him to England in July 1939. Running down the middle of the document is a crease. That crease represents a dividing line between life and death. Otto, along with other ‘kindertransport’ children, had been placed on the train to freedom and safety by his mother. She waved goodbye to him from the station platform in Vienna. His sister, Adele, ran alongside the train as it steamed away, laughing. “I never saw them again,” he says.
Some of the children hadn’t made it though. “The SS guards were checking for the slightest flaws in passports. Some children were turned off the train. None of them would have survived.” Otto’s turn came. He handed his passport to an official. “The man began to crumple it in his hand. Without that passport I knew I could go nowhere. There was no future.” Then, for some reason, the Nazi official stopped his act of destruction. He stamped the passport and handed it back to Otto. “I will never know why he did that. Perhaps he had a son of hs own. But because of what he did, I was able to cross the border, to where there was freedom, and singing.”
WHY NOT BOOST THOSE FLAGGING NUMBERS?
Full marks to the Board of Governors for initiating a review of the ESU. Moving forward to develop new approaches, maintaining our reputation as experts in the field of speech and debate, education scholarships and cultural programmes, and creating a legacy for the ESU is key to continued success. The ESU faces similar challenges to thousands of charities, public sector organisations and even some of our most venerable national institutions. Searching, and sometimes awkward, questions need to be asked for the organisation, so it is good to know that we have a Board and a DG willing and able to tackle them. We ‘foot soldiers’ should not avoid becoming involved though, especially as the DG has been throwing down a few challenges recently. One of these, central to UK branches, concerns the dwindling membership numbers, which are now fewer than 6,000. A strong membership is important because our local knowledge and individual interests provide the basis for the ESU’s engagement with local communities, forming the roots which provide a firm base for growth and development of our programmes and scholarships. An ESU without members would surely be a poorer and less well-balanced organisation.
So, what can we do to help? There are 37 UK branches, although the London Region accounts for nearly ¼ of the total membership by itself. Of the remaining 36 branches, 21 have 100 members or more. Eleven branches have less than 70 members, and five of those support less than 50. With few exceptions, every branch is situated within or close to large towns or cities, so why do so many of us struggle to raise numbers? There are a multitude of answers to that question, of course. Branches are run by volunteers, most of whom can spare a limited amount of time, which is usually applied to keeping things ticking over rather than to leading a concerted recruitment campaign. Also, unfortunately, organisations like the ESU suffer from the growth paradox: a good, lively programme of interesting activities will attract a healthy membership generating a steady flow of new members; however, a strong programme is more likely to materialise if the branch has a healthy membership to start with, and good attendances at events will attract high quality speakers which in turn will bring in more members! How does one square this particular circle? With difficulty, naturally, but there are things we can do. Throughout the branch network there undoubtedly exist many excellent ideas for recruiting new members, and we need to share these so we can learn from each other. To get us started I offer some
well tried examples with which we have had varying degrees of success over the years. However, the most effective ideas are often the simplest. Not all will suit every branch; what is most appropriate to an individual branch and its catchment can only be determined by you and your colleagues. Widening the circle Do you have a particularly interesting speaker coming next month? Don’t waste the opportunity – invite extra guests to come, over and above those regular friends of existing members. Many local press publications will run a classified listing for free – or invite the press themselves. Remember that the revenue you gain from events goes directly into the work of the ESU – so keeping your costs to a minimum benefits not only the branch but also the work of the organisation as a whole. Dedicated recruitment events Coerce existing members to suggest three or four non-ESU contacts each (members are generally well-connected), and host a small promotional reception for those who respond to your invitation. Market the event by drawing attention to some noteworthy ESU activity with local appeal. The key to successful press releasing lies in promoting the achievement of a winner/recipient of a scholarship or accolade and not the ESU itself. However, this leads to a greater public awareness of your work DIALOGUE 45
in the area and thus a more receptive audience for your subsequent events. Local publicity Publicise your annual programme or individual event through advertising fliers posted in libraries, retirement centres, adult education venues, and public places. Regularly release details to local radio stations, and place an occasional advertisement – not just in the local press, but also in publications with a more restricted circulation such as parish magazines, as they will often produce an effective payback at minimal cost! Good press releasing Release information to the press both before and after events. Be persistent: your hit rate will improve with time. Once the press starts to recognise your name or the name of the ESU you will see them taking more notice. Always offer press a place at the event for free and allow them to bring their own photographer – but make clear that you can send photos afterwards too. Get online Recruit a willing member to be the dedicated IT “secretary” to beef up your ESU branch web pages with regular contributions, photos, and a programme of events. Aim to improve the interest quotient of the offering and keep the site up to date by sending regular updates to Kate at Dartmouth House (firstname.lastname@example.org) about what to delete and what to keep. The facility is a great – and free – marketing tool. Just quote your own exclusive web address on all your publicity material and the silver-surfer readers will take care of the rest! Branch websites are
found at www.esu.org/branchname you can check by looking at the URL (in the address bar at the top of the page). Breadth of work What about making more of local school opportunities? Inviting sixth formers and their teacher (for free!) to hear a speaker relevant to their studies is an excellent way to open up contacts with schools not currently involved in public speaking or debating activities. Remember to mention the other programmes that the ESU offers students and school-leavers to them on the evening and have publicity lying around at the event. SSE and the parliamentary internships are both amazing opportunities and life-changing experiences. Once they’ve had contact with the ESU they are much more likely to continue to be interested. Trap your audience! Do you have a university nearby? With 115 universities in the UK and less than 40 branches, that is hard to believe that you do not have one nearby. Creating a university link can prove productive in many ways, but in the context of this article even a limited access to some of those students, staff and physical resources could boost the attractiveness of the branch to prospective members. Tony Wood Chairman, Ouse Valley
LONDON REGION Members of London Region recently enjoyed a most interesting visit to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, where we were guided by a delightful octogenarian pensioner in his full regalia, visiting all the halls, the chapel and museum and entertained throughout with a fund of stories. Several of us also attended a drinks reception at Kensington Palace with an excellent talk by Lucy Worsley – Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces – called ‘Queen Caroline: Kensington Palace’s First Queen of Hearts’. A brilliant lecture and fascinating to visit this famous building and to walk around both the Palace and it’s grounds. Sadly, our scheduled talk by Sir Ian Blair in conjunction with Dartmouth House had to be postponed due to the volcanic cloud which stranded Sir Ian in India! Hopefully this talk will be scheduled for later in the year. Our AGM is to take place in June at which the talk by our guest speaker, General Sir Mike Jackson, will be followed by lunch. Visits are planned to Fulham Palace, Lord’s Cricket Ground, and the Government Art Collection, and a lunch and matinee of Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe, an event which has become annual in our programme and which is always over-subscribed. So plenty to look forward to!
SOUTH WALES REGION Cardiff Having skilfully avoided organising any events which would have clashed with the falls of snow earlier this year, the branch launched its 2010 programme with a Literary Lunch on 19 February at the new Cardiff City Stadium, now home to both Cardiff City Football Club and The Blues, the regional rugby team who previously occupied Cardiff Arms Park. Sir Christopher Meyer was our speaker and he expertly used the subject of his talk, ‘Getting Our Way: 500 Years of Adventure and Intrigue the Inside Story of British Diplomacy’, to both entertain and inform his audience. This talk was followed by a dinner on 15 April at which Guy Walters spoke on the subject of his latest book, Hunting Evil. This too, was a well received talk with the accounts of his research for the book being of particular interest. The new location for these events has been most successful and has allowed the branch to cope with the welcomed increase in numbers, now around 150, attending these occasions. The Welsh Schools Public Speaking Final was held in Cardiff Bay on the 3 March. Six schools from around Wales – the furthest travelling from Flintshire and having to stay the previous night – assembled, thanks to the good offices of the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly, in what used to be the Assembly’s debating chamber until the Senedd was built next door. There were elements of passion, humour, knowledge, maturity, and skill in all the presentations, with the accolades going to those speakers who were able best to combine them all. The President of the
South Wales Branch, Captain Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards, and the Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan, Mrs Kate Thomas, presented the awards, with the winning team being Ysgol Gyfun Glantaf.
activities. The previous year had proved surprisingly successful, and possibly the Trust has been benefitting from “staycation”.
The branch’s next events are a Summer Garden Party on the 24 June at Sir Geoffrey and Lady Inkin’s home at Castle upon Alun - a location both well suited to, and well acquainted with, such events, and there will be another Literary Lunch, this time with with Lord Hunt, on 17 September.
In February, our chairman, Tony Williams, introduced John Hutchinson FRCS, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Bristol Hospital, who gave a presentation about his work in Zambia operating on children with spinal deformities. He spends time in Zambia each year with a charitable organisation and ESU Bristol is very pleased to be able to support him financially in his work there as part of our local scholarship work. He plans to use our donation to set up an education bursary for a student nurse to work in his unit.
SOUTH WEST REGION Bath and District The annual Gala Lunch in April at Lucknam Park was attended by 45 members on a beautiful sunny day which showed off the parklands, gardens and setting of this hotel and spa at its best. One couple was confined to Cairo by the volcanic dust and they were conveniently balanced by a further couple who never got to Bermuda! Canapes and drinks were served before lunch, at which the guest speaker was Dame Fiona Reynolds, Director General of the National Trust, who had leapt on a train from Swindon to arrive in good time. Dame Fiona has been at helm of the National Trust for over eight years and she has presided over the move to the Swindon headquarters at Heelis, a purpose-built and environmentally-efficient building close to the railway station. Dame Fiona’s address was a review of the philosophy of the Trust’s founders and its post-war expansion. She spoke of the balance between conservation and preservation, and she explained the new policies of the Trust which involve giving the properties more decision-making and opening up to more family-friendly
In March, Sir Robert Worcester, chairman and founder of MORI polls (and a Governor of ESU) addressed members at a supper at the Clifton Club. A delicious meal was followed by a talk on ‘The Current Political Scene’ which gave us an insight into how polls are organised. Sir Robert then showed great skill in answering a wide range of questions. Tony and Tricia Williams enjoyed Sir Robert’s company at their table during supper.
(L - R) Tricia Williams, Tony Williams, Sir Robert Worcester
Guy Walters, author of Hunting Evil spoke to us mid-April - a former journalist with The Times, Guy is now an author of war-time thrillers and historical fiction. Guy spoke about the research he does for his books – Hunting Evil entailed interviewing ex-Nazis who escaped after the war and others who tried to bring them to justice – altogether a fascinating subject especially for those of us who lived through that era. Cornwall
Commander Layland takes questions
At their meeting on 12 February, branch members learnt that virtually all the country’s 761 harbours and ports have civilian Harbourmasters whilst just three have Queen’s Harbourmasters (QHM) who are serving officers of the Royal Navy. In a well presented, eye-opening talk Commander Steve Layland explained that the naval dockyard ports of Portsmouth, Faslaine and Plymouth were of such strategic importance that it was imperative for naval vessels to be able to enjoy priority over all other shipping. Hence the need for Royal Navy control and co-ordination of these busy waters. Steve related how the interests of the different port users within the Plymouth estuaries including the Navy, tankers, other merchant shipping, cross-channel
ferries and a multitude of pleasure craft had to be considered and reconciled. His overriding objective was to ensure the safe and unimpeded passage of naval vessels – and indeed, if necessary, he had the power to close the port to all other traffic – whilst allowing other shipping activities to operate as freely as possible. His job was to coordinate the needs of all the users of the port and to ensure that everyone was as happy as possible! What came across was the complexity of the port’s management under numerous committees all headed by the QHM, assisted by his 50 strong staff. His responsibilities also include matters such as pollution prevention, environmental protection and the dredging of the different channels in what is the largest dockyard port area in Western Europe. Devonport Dockyard is crucial to employment in Plymouth but its future is uncertain. Commander Layland pointed out that only Devonport has the capability to carry out the three-yearly refits of our nuclear submarines and so this work, at least, is likely to continue. He also stressed how important it is for him to get out onto the water himself so when he can he acts as pilot for the larger naval ships. The number of questions, which continued over coffee afterwards, showed how much interest this talk generated.
Exeter and District
Barbara Parry, with John Grey and Patrick Clancy. John has just been voted our next branch President, whilst Patrick is the current President.
Exeter Chairman Laurie Burbridge with Prof McInerney
For our first meeting of the new decade, we welcomed John McInerney, Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Economics whose subject was ‘Where is Agriculture going? – Groping, coping and hoping’. For the last 30 years there have been 300,000 farmers in the UK but they have seen their contribution in the economic market fall dramatically. There is a great feeling of uncertainty today but farmers continue to manage the current situation in difficult circumstances, ever hopeful that the current situation will improve. Having illustrated his talk with graphs and figures, he concluded that farmers must embrace multi-functional
agriculture, look for ways of adding value, diversify and look for subsidies for improving the environment. We must accept change in farming - 60% of farmers are now part-time and have an additional form of income from an alternative source.
Exeter, it was organised by Tony Williams, Chairman of the Bristol branch. Teams from Cornwall, Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Taunton, Plymouth and Salisbury competed and the standard was particularly high. The winning team was from Bishop Wordsworth Grammar School from the Salisbury branch, who went through to the national final in London on 23 April.
some beautiful paintings of the jungle and its exotic flowers. In doing so Jack Chalker captured for posterity a picture of life at the limits of human endurance, where his survival depended on a genius for improvisation. His paintings, many of them tiny, were concealed in such places as pieces of bamboo and a hollow table top. He has recently published a book, called Burma Railway in which he has written a gripping commentary to accompany his artwork. It was a very moving illustrated talk.
Kate Adie with John Cathcart and Charles Scott-Fox.
In February, we were delighted to welcome Kate Adie for a return visit. Author and broadcaster, a familiar figure to us all, she spoke on My Love Affair With Danger. She entertained us with many stories of her dangerous escapades as a War Correspondent, told us of droll situations where she was hidden in a wardrobe for four hours to keep her out of harm’s way but confessed that mostly, reporters are shielded from danger and although appearing to be in the front line, are generally some way behind. She concluded with a very lively question and answer session and was forthright in saying we should all stand up and be counted and voice our concerns and anxieties and not just sit back and complain and do nothing. The South West Regional final of the Public Speaking Competition was held on 6 March at Exeter School. It was a very successful event, enjoyed by a good audience of contestants, supporters and ESU members. Although it was held in
Helena Chalker, Elizabeth Stanley and Jack Chalker
In March we were privileged to have as our speaker, Jack Chalker. As a young art student, Jack was looking forward to taking up the post-graduate scholarship he’d recently won to study painting at the Royal College of Art. Instead, his call-up papers arrived, and the Second World War swept him away on an adventure which was to culminate in the nightmare of three years labouring on the Burma railway. Here, his talent as an artist and illustrator found an unexpected and at times gruesome outlet, chronicling not only the misery, squalor, savagery, heroism and fortitude of the prison camps, but also the horrific reality of the diseases which attacked them, the wounds their guards inflicted, and the genius for improvisation with which the medical staff saved whatever lives they could. At the same time, he produced
Laurie deep in conversation with Sir Bernard Ingham
In April, we celebrated our Annual Dinner when Sir Bernard Ingham, journalist and former press secretary, spoke on ‘Life with the Lioness - what Margaret Thatcher was really like’. He gave a fascinating and entertaining insight into this great lady. Transparently honest, pretentious, risky, she was the outstanding prime minister of the 20th century. She had a very good brain, tailor-made for politics with an outstanding memory and incredible stamina. She worked closely with Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev and during her term of office saw the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Sir Bernard considered it a privilege to see those three in action in a decade that changed the world. DIALOGUE 49
He felt Thatcher’s outstanding achievement was to raise the profile of the United Kingdom in the world, bring inflation under control and conduct an orderly society. She loved an argument, had great moral courage, would not follow the herd, did not want to be loved, but found it sufficient to be respected. He concluded with his view that television is bad for politics and he would never have allowed her to take part in a political debate. What matters is policy not presentation.
The Summer Party in June will be held in Lukesland Gardens, which is set in 24 acres just north of Ivybridge. The season will end on July 5 with the AGM followed by an address by Martin Mulloy, ESU Director of Charitable Activities ‘Thoughts on the future of the ESU in the 21st Century’. Finally, I should like to pay tribute to Muriel Harrison, who has done a marvellous job filling in as Acting Chairman, combined with all the other work she has to do for the ESU. The Plymouth branch is very grateful to her.
Plymouth and District In January, there was a very successful New Year party at the home of Tom and Jill Rogerson at which about 20 people were present. Also in January was the Annual School’s Public Speaking Competition which was won by the boys from Devonport High School who went on to the finals at Exeter in March. The February meeting was addressed by Joseph Louei, the owner of the Astor Hotel, in Plymouth, where we have our monthly meetings. His subject ‘A Small Boy from Persia’ was a very interesting account of his life brought up to date. In March we were addressed by Barbie Thompson, a local historian, on the subject ‘Mill Prison: a century of captives and captors’. To celebrate St. George’s Day in April, we had a very successful lunch party at the Notter Bridge Riverside Restaurant near St. Germans.
Taunton and District For its March meeting, the branch was immensely privileged to have Peter Speke, the great, great nephew of John Hanning Speke tell us about his ancestor’s quest for that geographical holy grail of the Victorian age; the source of the Nile. It came alive, because since inheriting the family estate in Somerset and returning to England from Canada, Peter has taken such a close personal and enthusiastic interest in his illustrious forbear, collecting together, for example, artefacts that accompanied the explorer on his travels. He had decided against bringing the spears and the gun, but he did have with him the heavy brass sextant that was used for surveying and a throne of the Kabaka of Buganda. We followed Peter as he took us through the amazing journeys of the three men who simultaneously were on the trail of the source, each of whom was convinced he had found it. It all started in 1854, when John Speke, with his trekking skills and physical stamina already honed by ten years’ service in the Indian Army and expeditions in Tibet and the Himalayas, went to Zanzibar hoping to set off into
the African interior alone. Forced to find partners, he started with a practice expedition into Somalia, where he was ambushed and captured by natives. Used as spear target practice, he was pinned to the ground by his thighs, but nevertheless contrived to escape and, with eleven wounds, ran three miles for help. Stroyan, one of his companions, was killed and Richard Burton, the other, escaped with a spear wound through his face. The quest had not got off to a good start, but Peter Speke had his hearers riveted. Told he would never walk again, John Speke returned to England, but by 1857 he was back in Zanzibar and off with Burton into the interior with an invaluable and faithful African slave called Bombay. Although the principals developed an intense dislike for each other, they did discover Lake Tanganyika, which Burton as the senior, claimed to be the source, but as illness prevented them from trekking round it on that occasion they could not actually confirm the claim. Speke gathered from some natives that there was another lake to the north and so with Bombay and without Burton he found Lake Victoria Nyanza and surveying it from Somerset Hill, he was convinced that this was the source, but he had not the time to prove it either. In 1860, the Royal Geographical Society sent him back and with James Grant, an old friend from Indian days. They found a great river flowing out of the northern end of Lake Victoria over the Ripon Falls (26 July, 1862). Again, short of time (they had been delayed by three kabakas whose territory they had passed through), they made directly for Gondokoro on the Nile to the north, and thus did not follow the river all the way when it turned to the west
There they met Samuel White Baker and his girlfriend (a slave he had bought), who had navigated up the Nile from Egypt, and was surprised and a little disappointed to find two Englishmen who had come from the source. The generous-hearted Speke told him that he had heard of another lake to the south west and so Baker traced the river to Lake Albert Nyanza, which naturally he claimed to be the source. And so the scene was set for a great RGS debate in Bath in 1864 where Burton and Speke were to appear in person and the three sources argued out. But it was not to be: Speke died in an accident whilst our shooting partridges the day before and so it was left to H.M. Stanley to confirm that Lake Tanganyika is the source of the Congo, and that the White Nile flows into and out of Lake Albert from Lake Victoria. Thus a decade later, Speke’s claim was vindicated. Although John Speke’s premature death at the age of 37 robbed him of the confirmation of his claim, his name lives on with honour. When Peter Speke and his wife visited Uganda privately in 1967, the lone guard at a remote frontier post immediately recognised the name and saluting them said, “May you see what he saw.”
SOUTH REGION Salisbury and South Wilts
Polina at the Academy at the Great Western Hospital, Swindon.
Continuing our Nurse Work programme, Polina Musajeva from ESU Latvia has arrived safely at the Great Western Hospital Swindon to begin her three week stay. She is fully qualified in Genetics and Obstetrics and will benefit from a programme specially tailored for her.
Scholarship Programme and Visiting Professor at City University, London. Dr Hollis guided us through the changes in Britain’s attitude and influence caused by the election of the “New Labour” Government, the 9/11 attack on America and the invasion of Iraq. She covered the series of events and their complex consequences with complete mastery of her subject and in a style which was both informative and entertaining. In March, we were particularly pleased to welcome recently retired ESU Director-General, Valerie Mitchell. Her address was in effect a ‘state of the union’ report outlining the progress and achievements during her fifteen years in office, and optimistically assessing the future of the ESU mission. Gill Prior, in her vote of thanks, paid tribute for the many years of guidance and leadership given by Valerie Mitchell.
ESU Latvia had arranged extra English lessons for her before her departure which, together with her medical understanding, will enhance her benefit from the programme. Polina will visit ESU Salisbury who, together with ESU Bristol, Exeter and Brighton, support her scholarship. This collaboration between UK and overseas ESU branches is in its 14th successful year in promoting understanding through the use of English. A full report of her stay will appear in the next dialogue. In February, Dr Rosemary Hollis spoke on the subject, ‘Britain and the Middle East in the 9/11 era’. Dr Hollis was formerly Head of the Middle East Programme at Chatham House and then Director of Research there. She is currently Director of the Olive Tree
SOUTH EAST REGION Brighton and Hove and District Our spring early evening lecture was a great success, pulling in an almost capacity audience, who enjoyed drinks at the bar before settling down to listen to local historian Geoff Mead speak on the ‘Twittens and Byways of Brighton’. To those who, like myself live well outside this city, it was something of an eye-opener in that we had not associated Brighton (a relatively modern city after all) with so many visually intoxicating tucked-away twittens – landscapes yes, but not twittens perhaps. Mr Mead’s boundless zest for his subject was contagious, prompting some, no doubt, to go and explore for themselves. And all of it encompassed a narrow zone around the Steine area. Now we are all looking forward to our summer evening lecture. It is apparent that 6.30 pm that hits the spot – other branches please note! Canterbury and East Kent In February, the branch held a joint event with the King’s School King’ s Society in the Old Schoolroom, a name which belied its assets, being equipped with all the latest high-tech equipmentideal for our speaker Oliver Everett, previously Librarian to the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. ‘The Royal Treasures’ delighted the audience with the very erudite speaker giving many and entertaining stories behind the works of art. The evening finished with wine and nibbles. Our thanks go to Oliver Everett for coming down to Canterbury, and to King’s for their hospitality and help in making the evening so enjoyable.
The Right Reverend Christopher Herbert outside the cathedral in Canterbury
In March, we held two events. In the lead up to Easter we invited the Rt Rev Christopher Herbert PhD, a well-known speaker and medieval scholar, to come and lecture to us. The ESU and the Friends of the Cathedral in Canterbury combined and the previous Bishop of St Albans explored the subject of ‘The Cross through the Centuries – a changing and developing image’ from the early stone crosses to the modern renderings of Chagall and Aitcheson. This was held in the International Study Centre in the Precincts. A large audience attended and the lecture inspired some interesting questions based on faith and some of the famous images created through the centuries. We are very grateful to the Dean and the Friends and our speaker for helping to make the evening possible in such a prestigious venue.
It is with regret that we report the death of Nicolette Bremner. Canterbury and East Kent branch Chairman. Ann Peerless represented the branch at her funeral on Thursday 29 April. Nicolette was a loyal member and supporter of the local branch, always ready to support events when she could and help at times like thanksgiving. We shall miss her quiet contribution. Our May event was in the medieval barn at our President Amanda Cottrell’s. This was followed by the Annual General Meeting in the upper senior common room in Rutherford College, University of Kent on 15 May. Coffee and the AGM were followed by talks from Kent scholars, and lunch. Eastbourne As always it has been a busy time in Eastbourne. St George’s Day brought with it a wonderful dinner at the Langham Hotel where Heather Woodward of the National Trust spoke on one of the greatest Englishmen of all time and local boy, Winston Churchill of Chartwell.
Canterbury Chairman Amanda Cottrell DIALOGUE 52
On Saturday 20 March the ESU Canterbury and East Kent were privileged to have the use of the Archbishop’s Palace in Canterbury by kind permission of the Archbishop and Mrs. Williams for a coffee morning with the local Branch of Seeds for Africa, a charity started in the University of Kent. We saw many members that we had not seen for some time, which was so nice. The ancient setting was very peaceful and a magnificent backdrop for such an enjoyable event. The coffee and scone makers were kept very busy!
We were enthralled by Liz Gregory’s address to the branch on her Fleet Street days and the AGM was well attended at The Devonshire Club.
Ian Herbert, Cambridge educated, is a trustee of the Mander and Mitchenson Theatre Collection and frequently visits the USA campuses as a visiting lecturer. He started the magazine Theatre Record in 1981 as a critics review of critics. Margaret Burgess took early retirement from Guildford Technical College and became Surrey Advertiser theatre critic. David Strange, Director of Music at ESU Eastbourne
As is now tradition in Eastbourne, we are a branch of ‘firsts’ and we have become the first branch to appoint our own resident Director of Music. David Strange is a graduate of Queen’s University, Belfast and of The Royal College of Music and he currently holds the post of Head of Strings at St George’s College, Weybridge. Following his recordings at Oxford University in June we will welcome a quartet of his students to provide a backdrop to our 4 July garden party. Publication of our book Brighton: A wander along the Twittens and Byways of a Regents’ Resort is scheduled for later this year and the authors are indebted to branch member Liz Gregory for her outstanding research on historic Sussex recipes. The branch also welcomes submissions from ESU members nationally for our scholarship fundraising book on The History of Afternoon Tea. Anyone wishing to submit a recipe for inclusion in this book can submit this to email@example.com. Guildford Members of the ESU together with Friends of the Yvonne Arnaud held a joint meeting where Ian Herbert and Margaret Burgess were in conversation with BBC broadcaster Jeff Thomson in a session called ‘A Collection of Critics’. Jeff Thomson discussed with them how critics assessed a production.
Ian Herbert started going to the theatre five days a week but has got wiser. Travelling a lot he was impressed with the keenness of East Europeans. He stressed performers do read criticism and that it cannot be objective. There may be extremes of opinion but one must be consistent in one’s prejudices. Two of his favourite critics were Tynan and Hobson. He remarked about the humourless modern ‘in your face’ theatre such as 448 Psychosis by Sarah Kane and mentioned upcoming playwrights Richard Bean and Roy Williams. Unlike music criticism with plays you often had several performances to attend before doing your write up. Margaret Burgess also stressed criticism has to be subjective and constructive. Find a critic who reflects your taste such as Charlie Spencer. The old playwrights such as Terence Rattigan, Noel Coward, George Bernard Shaw and JB Priestley are still popular. She amusingly said that critics must stay sober, conscious and stay to the end. It is wise to never read or talk to other critics, do it straightaway and reflect your immediate reaction. Do not talk down to audiences or get technical and realise directors do not get as well known as performers. She stated that in the US critics can ruin a show, unlike the UK where it can survive and still run e.g. Don’t Dress for Dinner. Her remark about modern plays was that they often included political points.
The next meeting on Thursday 17 June welcomes Lady Antonia Fraser. For more details and to book please ring 01483 449669. 1066 (Hastings)
Katy Moore (left) & Helen Goddard with Michela Morley
At a luncheon in the new Station Plaza site of Sussex Coast College, some 30 members heard a talk about Pestalozzi International Village, Sedlescombe, given by Helen Goddard and Katy Moore of the Pestalozzi Education Department. The Pestalozzi Village was originally founded in 1959 to provide an education for 40 child victims from war torn Europe, and it was named after the Swiss philosopher, Johann Pestalozzi, who believed in educating the head, the heart and the hands. In 1997, Pestalozzi decided to focus on a two-year education programme so that young people would not become alienated from their home communities, and it now provides a unique two-year scholarship programme for bright students from poor backgrounds in Africa and Asia to complete the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in the UK. This ensures that the move to the UK is worthwhile, equipping young people who had limited opportunities in their home countries to gain the necessary DIALOGUE 53
qualifications for progression to higher education and returning home to play a leading part in their own communities.
Chairman Roger Tilbury, who helped prepare a training handbook and DVD for schools.
Today, Pestalozzi provides scholarships for 30 youngsters (16+) from Nepal, India, Tibet, Zambia and Zimbabwe, to study the IB for two years at Sussex Coast College. The students learn about British culture and help to share their cultures too. They are all encouraged to take part in local activities and these include volunteering at St Michael’s Hospice and doing placements in local schools to teach children about their countries.
We had hoped to start the year with a talk by Barry Shears entitled ‘Creating Art in Venice.’ Unfortunately the weather was against us and we had to postpone this event to next year. In March, we enjoyed an illustrated talk at the Barley Mow by Jenny Habib on her experiences as ‘An Architect in Pakistan’. After her fascinating insights as a female practitioner in a male dominated profession, Jenny gave us her perspective on the current political situation in this troubled country.
The Village welcomes visitors both to meet the students and to see how the place works. The Branch is sponsoring the university entrance exam fees for six students and Michela Morley, Hon. Branch Treasurer, handed over a cheque for £660. West Sussex
Lydia Wooley and Helen Mansell speak to the group of their experiences in Sri Lanka
Our spring programme opened with the National Schools’ Public Speaking Competition heats for local schools at Edes House in Chichester. A strong field of seven teams showed us how standards have improved during the past few years, not least due to the efforts the organiser, former branch DIALOGUE 54
The spring weather blessed us in April when we were the guests of committee member Peter Blencowe and his wife Anna at their lovely house and garden in Walderton for our popular pre-lunch drinks party. Two of the recipients of grants from our Branch International Scholarship Fund, Lydia Woolley and Helen Mansell, told us of their experiences in an orphanage in Sing Buri, Sri Lanka. This inspired us all to make generous donations to the fund after warm thanks were expressed to the youngsters and to Peter for his hospitality. Twenty members were booked on our coach tour to the Bristol and Bath areas during the last week in May. We looked forward to visiting some of England’s grandest estates as well as enjoying the comfort and cuisine of The Swan Hotel in Wells.
MIDLANDS REGION Worcestershire The branch has been fairly quiet for the last two months, apart from the regional heats for the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition, which were completed despite some inclement weather. The
arrival of spring at last meant that a group of members was able to go on a delightful tour of some North Herefordshire churches on 13 April conducted by Tim Bridges who as usual was very informative. The countryside looked lovely in the sunshine and lunch at the Talbot at Knightwick made it all a very pleasant outing. The annual AGM was held on 14 May at 14 College Road, Malvern, the home of our Chairman, Sonia Chance. The branch was disappointed at the decision of Dartmouth House to cancel, this year, the visit of the usual group of foreign students , who come for a couple of days at the end of the International Public Speaking Competition. There is always an interesting evening reception when members can meet the students and hear their views and also listen to two or three of their presentations, and we hope this can be revived.
EAST REGION Cambridge Welland Valley Beginning with a sherry reception, followed by an excellent lunch taken in the Main Hall of Fitzwilliam College, the scene was set for members and their guests to enjoy the Fitzwilliam College Cambridge Annual Lunch and a talk given by our President and a former Master of the College, Professor Brian Johnson entitled ‘Can Computers Fall in Love?’ Professor Johnson regaled us with facts, questions and answers relating to computers in our every day life, from mobile phones to cars, radio, TV and real mega-computers. The whole session was interactive in as much as all the Professor’s questions required answers from the audience; nobody was going to snooze at this event. After a very lively question and
Professor Brian Johnson asking the question ‘Can Computers Fall in Love?’
Peterborough High School Girls and Judges being presented with the winners cup: (L-R) Gemma Rate (Chair), Anna Sidebottom (Questioner), Rachel Laurence and Professor Bill Forster, OBE, (Judges), Alexander Finnis, Mark Jefferies (Judge), Emily Morgan (Speaker).
Ben in acting mode
answers session our Treasurer Mr. John Hindle proposed a very well constructed vote of thanks, totally in keeping with the spirit and humour of the afternoon.
spotted a book entitled Shakespeare on Toast and immediately bought a copy to read on the journey home. Could the author be a suitable candidate as guest speaker for our Annual Shakespeare Lunch? Phone calls, e-mails flew in all directions and the writer and actor Ben Crystal agreed to be our speaker for this event.
first time through to older audience members who love Shakespeare and want to learn something new.
Following two branch heats held in Cambridge and Uppingham our branch final took place by courtesy of Rutland County Council in Oakham Castle, a very fitting location for the 50th anniversary branch final of this event. Two schools from Cambridge and three from Uppingham took part and the winning team was Peterborough High School for Girls. At the East Region final at Culford School, Peterborough won the team prize and also won the Best Speaker and the Best Questioner prizes. Peterborough High then went on to The National Final at Lincoln’s Inn where Gemma Rate took the prize of Best Chair and the whole team competed strongly. The branch is most grateful to Cambridge University Press for their continued support, and also to Hambleton Bakery for their sponsorship of refreshments. After the Branches Consultation Day held at Dartmouth House in January our Chairman was waiting at St Pancras Station for a train home and
Ben Crystal brings the bright words and colourful characters of the world’s greatest writer wonderfully to life, offering the key to understanding Shakespeare’s plays and unlocking the difficult bits. Shakespeare on Toast is a fun guidebook that takes us beyond a mere introduction and into exciting territory as a manual to finding Shakespeare’s own voice. His talk is less of a talk and more of a performance. Ben makes sense of Shakespeare by putting him back into context. It includes an exploration of Elizabethan theatre and what a trip to the Globe Theatre to a Shakespeare play in 1600 would be like, a master-class on the poetry style in which Shakespeare wrote, and a look at original pronunciation (the accent Shakespeare would have spoken in). It’s also relevant for all ages - younger people experiencing the Bard for the
Colchester & North-East Essex
Matias Marimbo (second from the right), Geraldine Watson and students from Colchester English Study Centre
Matias Marimbo, winner of ESU Chile’s literary competition, gave a thematically categorised presentation on the awesome topic of ‘Latin American History and Culture’ at the Assembly Rooms, Dedham in the afternoon of Sunday 28 February. He made reference to works of art, which illustrated his talk, appealing to different interests. DIALOGUE 55
The event drew an audience of 60 people, including East Region secretary Margaret Furst, raising £220 for sponsorship of competitors in the forthcoming International Public Speaking Competition. Having concluded his talk with a question and answer session, Matias was continuously approached as he mingled over tea. Remarkably sumptuous cakes were generously provided by local members and guests, under the renowned stewardship of Janet Edwards. Among those in attendance were international students from Colchester English Study Centre, one of whom, German attaché, Andrea Stohr, found the presentation covered all the key aspects of Latin America she herself had studied. Branch Chairman Geraldine Watson thanked Matias for his thoughtful contribution to the activities of the branch and raised the audience’s awareness of ESU activities in general.
branch. Joe addressed the topic ‘We Learn Nothing from History’, dealing especially well with questions posed, while Jacob and George helped to underline their school’s rise in this competition. Both competitions hold their UK finals on 23 April in London. We wish our teams the best of luck! James Raven, Professor of Modern History and ESU Colchester branch President gave an illustrated talk on the ‘History of the State Lottery’ at the University of Essex in the evening of Thursday 15 April. Far from being a modern invention, we learnt of the attraction to fortune-seekers over hundreds of years. Branch Treasurer David Watson thanked James for his enthralling presentation, attended by a small but fascinated audience.
Nevertheless, spectacular crowd and battle scenes and split screen images all recreated the epic nature of the battle which, accompanied by the wonderful music, led to us spending a most exhilarating and enjoyable evening. Our grateful thanks go to Ron Truss and Una Corderoy as this was the last concert to be arranged for us by them before they moved to Yorkshire. Hertfordshire
The regional final of the Schools Mace Debating Competition took place at Colchester County High School for Girls on Saturday 7 March. Members of staff from Dartmouth House, including newly appointed Steven Nolan shared in the adjudication of the event, which demonstrated a consistently high standard, leaving ESU members optimistic about young people’s articulation skills and assured of the value of the organisation’s contribution. From a pool of 11 schools, Kesgrave High School from Ipswich was triumphant.
Probably most of us did not receive any cards, red roses or chocolates for Valentine’s Day but we did feel we had received a special gift when we attended the Gala Concert at the Royal Festival Hall on that day. The Philharmonia Orchestra performed for us the most delightful selection of music and, although we were a little disappointed that Jennifer Pike, the youngest ever winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year in 2002, was indisposed, Anna-Liisa Bezrodny nobly stepped into the breach at very short notice. Consequently the programme was only slightly altered and greatly enjoyed by us all.
Jacob Hewes, Joe Chroston-Bell and George Bryce represented Philip Morant School and College, Colchester, as chair, speaker and questioner respectively at the East Region final of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition on Saturday 20 March, attracting support in numbers from the
In April, we attended another very special event at the Royal Festival Hall when the Philharmonia Orchestra presented a live screening of Waterloo, Karl Grune’s 1928 epic film, featuring the UK première of Carl Davis’s specially composed soundtrack. Since the film was made from the German
point of view many of us were forced to revise our history lessons learnt at school, as it would appear General Blüchner had far more to do with the winning of the Battle of Waterloo than the Duke of Wellington did.
Nigel Rogers with Annette Fisher at the Belvedere Restaurant
The branch final of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition was held at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys on 25 February. Five schools took part and Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet, were the winners, closely followed by Haberdashers’ Boys. Lewis Colson from Haileybury College was awarded the Best Personality Shield. The shields, prizes and certificates were presented by Sir Simon Bowes Lyon, our Patron. The East Regional Officer, Steve Roberts, was also present and we thank him for his support. Queen Elizabeth’s School took part in
the regional final at Culford School on 20 March and the team performed well but Peterborough High School for Girls represented the East Region in the national final on 23 April. In March, we had a branch visit to Verulamium Museum, St Albans. This was not well attended, but those who came enjoyed it very much. We later went to the Six Bells, St Michaels Street, for an excellent pub lunch. The St Georges Day lunch was postponed to 27 April when we were lucky to have Annette Fisher, Head of International Programmes, as our speaker. The lunch was at the Belvedere Restaurant, St Albans and was most enjoyable; weather, venue, food and especially the talk by Annette were all excellent - her knowledge and enthusiasm were uplifting and stimulating. She spoke freely about her job at Dartmouth House and answered many questions on that topic. She also gave considerable information regarding ESU Albania , in view of the fact that the branch is hosting Miklovan Gjonaj , a 20 year-old chemistry student from Tirana University, in July. Chairman Nigel Rogers is hosting a lunchtime reception, at his home, for Miklovan on Saturday 10 July. Committee members are hosting Miklovan during his fortnight’s stay; other events not yet arranged will be detailed on the ESU Branches website www.esu.org/hertfordshire and in the Hertfordshire branch’s newsletter in June.
Norfolk Island in 2000 to attend “the Worldwide Gathering of Norfolks and Norwiches” of which there are more than fifty worldwide. Along with her talk and slides she brought many books of interest pertaining to Norfolk Island. We now at least know where it is but rather a long way to go for one’s holiday!
Mysterious Green Man’ whose face can be found on many buildings from churches, buildings great and small and even pub signs. His talk covered the fascinating history of the green man and we saw that many of them lurk in East Anglia.
In February, we also held the branch heats of the Public Speaking Competition with five teams taking part. The winning school was Thetford Grammar School who went on to the East Region final where they acquitted themselves well with their chairman taking the Best Chairman award.
Loyal ESU members who enjoy the opulent shopping at Fortnum & Mason on London’s Piccadilly turned out in force in February for the visit of Beverley Aspinall, Managing Director of this famous 300 year old establishment. Unfazed by a double-whammy of her computer-based PowerPoint presentation failing to open plus the collapse of the venue’s audio system, our speaker set about delivering a captivating off-the cuff talk about the history and future plans of this most prestigious of corner shops.
In March, Denis Collen told us about ‘My Part in the History of the Norfolk Constabulary’. Denis joined as a police cadet in 1965 and became a constable in 1967, finally progressing to superintendent. It was interesting to see the many changes in the policing boundaries during his time and the reorganisation of the force he helped establish together with the introduction of IS/IT. Our speaker for April was Geoff Worton, who latterly worked in adult education in Hampshire and after retirement, went off to Papua New Guinea as volunteer teachers working in many of the remote areas of the country. His talk was on ‘The
Norwich and Norfolk June Marriage was our speaker at our February lunch. Her talk was entitled ‘Norfolk Island, South Pacific. From Penal Colony to Tourist Destination’. Both June and her husband are Blue Badge tourist guides. They visited
Five years into her appointment, following a lengthy and successful career with the John Lewis Partnership, she described how she had restructured the management from several tiers to just two in order to clarify lines of accountability, had identified and removed non-core business for profitability, and then completely renovated and redesigned the store to attract and hold an enlarged customer base. Those members whose careers had been in industry or business recognised immediately a classic success story most worthy of study by aspiring senior managers in business schools. What an inspiration she is for young people with an ambition to forge a career in retailing.
to the post by an excellent team from Peterborough High School, who took part in the national final at Lincoln’s Inn on 23 April. See page 38 for a full report of the national final. Coached by teacher Kim Webster, the Westcliff girls qualified for the regional final when they won the Southend heat in January, beating off stiff opposition from other local schools. Beverley Aspinall poses with Dr Tony Wood, Chairman of the Ouse Valley Branch
The branch winners of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition, Stowe School, were unsuccessful in the regional heats, but the school’s speaker, Imran Momen, deservedly won the Best Personality award with the type of dramatic and flamboyant presentation we rather anticipated from his earlier appearance. He certainly left his mark on the event! Imran would certainly have identified with our lunch guest in March - Peter Kyle, Chief Executive of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. An experienced and articulate speaker, his talk was laced with the occasional delightful frisson of theatrical gestures one might anticipate from someone with his background and included a brilliant dissection of the power, the beauty, and indeed the inconsistencies of the English language. This could hardly have been more appropriate for an ESU gathering, and he quoted many examples of Shakespearian phrases in common use today which are rarely recognised as such. His preparation had clearly been extremely thorough, but we only realised how thorough when he invited Ben, one of our guest sixth formers from a local school, to join him in a humorous scripted exchange between a modern media reporter (Peter Kyle) using 21st century language and issues, DIALOGUE 58
Ben responds to Peter Kyle
interviewing Hamlet (Ben) who responded in Shakespearian dialogue. Just as occurred in the Bard’s time when actors were first given their scripts backstage with little chance for a read-through or a rehearsal, so was Ben – but he performed brilliantly, bringing the house down with a round of thunderous applause. A potential young recruit for the Globe perhaps?
Southend has not held heats for the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition for many years and so the branch is extremely proud of the girls’ achievement in their “maiden” event. Suffolk
Southend on Sea
Katrina with some of the artifacts she brought with her
Basma Osman, Hannah Taylor, Alex Finnis, Gemma Woods, judges Professor Bill Forster, Rachel and Mark Jeffries
These talented girls from Westcliff High School are the very excited Runners up team in the East Region final of the ESU Public Speaking Competition for Schools in this 50th anniversary year of the competition. The event was held at Culford School, Bury St Edmunds. Westcliff was pipped
From Russia with Love as the song title states, and that is what Katrina Rowland showed so clearly in her talk on her homeland which she gave to the Suffolk Branch of the ESU on Wednesday 17 March. Born Katrina Kirilenko in 1926 in Ukraine, she recalled her early isolated village life, which was so rudely shattered, when in 1941 Germany declared war on Russia. A short time later the Germans arrived in their village and ordered all the young people of 14 years upwards to assemble. They were ordered to return the next day equipped and prepared for a long journey.
Katrina then described her journey so vividly that it was possible to picture her experiences in the mind’s eye. The young people left their village and families behind, as they set off on foot for their journey through Eastern Europe to Germany. Strangely they were allowed to take farm animals with them, some had chickens with their feet tied and carried over their young owners shoulders, others drove pigs, while Katrina was given the family cow as a comfort, and provider of milk for her journey. It was to take over two and a half months of walking through many lands of forests, rivers and mountains to the final destination: slave labour in Germany. Her cow was her constant companion until the descent from the Carpathian Mountains, where it gave up the struggle, and after a tearful farewell, was left in a field to graze. Katrina’s adventures were so many that it would take volumes to write of her adventures during her long, long walk. The rather astonishing thing that she had to say was that she had looked forward so much to this venture, which enabled her to leave her isolated life and that the Germans had given her the opportunity to see places, architecture and people she would never otherwise have seen. Katrina’s journey into slave labour ended in Bavaria in southern Germany where she remained until she came to England in 1950. Throughout her talk she kept her audience spellbound but what shone through was her courage, endurance and obvious love of life, and her great love for her adopted land of Great Britain where she has lived for 60 years. Whilst these few words hardly scratch the surface of the life of this truly wonderful lady, it can be said that it was
our greatest pleasure and privilege to have her share these memories with us. Spring has sprung, the grass is riz, Harveys Garden Plants centre is where we is
encouraged to greater efforts by Roger, each trying to turn our gardens into something with Capability, to which Mr Brown would have been proud to put his name.
NORTH EAST REGION Lincolnshire
John Shepherd in Roger Harvey’s plant shop
Or rather was where we were when the Suffolk branch of the ESU visited the nursery and gardens, and the acclaimed Orchard Room in Thurston, which received the Suffolk Food and Drink Award 2008, having been voted the Best Informal Dining Venue. Roger Harvey, the owner, gave a most interesting talk on how he had established his nursery, beginning with his great interest in Hellebores, which is one of his specialties. Roger is a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medallist, and a garden designer of high repute, who has developed the various off-shoots of his business so that he can now offer courses which vary from cookery, to a Complete Chicken Day, all aspects of gardening and design, as well as his professional speaking engagements.
We were delighted to hear that team from Bourne Grammar School who won the Lincolnshire round of the ESU Schools’ Public Speaking Competition and the regional finals in Leeds, then went on to win the national finals (see page 38 for a full report on the national final). This is the first time a Lincolnshire school has achieved such a high level of success. The team made up of Katharine Heard, Patrick Heard and Simon Mariner is to be congratulated on such an excellent result. By the time this issue of dialogue is published, the branch will have held the annual general meeting and also the literary lunch (Saturday 15 May). This year the guest speaker is Sue Shephard, the award winning TV producer, director and author, whose latest book is The Surprising Life of Constance Spry. A report on both of these events will be included in the next magazine.
Having partaken of a most enjoyable lunch in the Orchard Room, we also voted it good value for money. We then hurried home to our spades and hoes,
NORTH WEST REGION
(L-R) Jeanne Pumfrey, Chairman of the North West Region, James Barralet cellist and Mike Lake
On 29 April, members of the North West region welcomed Mike Lake to lunch at Inglewood Manor Hotel in Wirral. Prior to lunch, the audience was entertained by cellist James Barralet, an ESU music scholar whom the region sponsored to attend the Summer Music School at Prussia Cove in 2009. After lunch, in an excellent address, Mike outlined his vision for the future of the ESU and answered members’ questions. Liverpool and Merseyside Highlights of a busy 2010 programme included Baroness Williams of Crosby who enthralled a joint ESU/ Athenaeum Club Literary Lunch with sometimes hair-raising and often hilarious accounts of her political career extracted from her autobiography Climbing the Bookshelves. A spellbinder! Gripping in another way was the history of ‘The Seven Streets of Liverpool’ by the well known local historian Christina Clarke. Such was the interest in her talk that we were honoured by the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead.
Guest of Honour Baroness Williams of Crosby signs a copy of her autobiography Climbing the Bookshelves with (l-r) Chairman Hilary King, President HH Elizabeth Steel and the President of the Athenaeum HH Judge John Morgan
Winners of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition St Mary’s College, Crosby pictured with (l-r) Keith Butcher branch organiser, Chairman Hilary King and adjudicators Patrick Waite, Iris Caulfield and HH Elizabeth Steel.
Branch members came out in force to support the Schools Public Speaking Competition won after several heats by St Mary’s College Crosby. Matthew Foulkes from St Mary’s was judged the Outstanding Personality of the final receiving the Molly Merivale Trophy presented in memory of a much loved member of the branch.
Memorial Chapel Travel Grant. A lively and informative report of his studies in California was the highlight of the April lunch.
The Liverpool and Merseyside branch supported the vision of the ESU with a range of sponsorships. Austin Oloku from Nigeria is the first student to be awarded the ESU/ Liverpool Hope University scholarship to support his postgraduate studies in business. Austin is a delightful young man who, in a recent article on the University web site said, “the ESU is an excellent organisation and it has given me the opportunity to meet many top people from Liverpool and beyond.” Austin particularly relished his Christmas dinner at the Anglican cathedral where His Honour Judge John Morgan proved ‘The Law Was An Ass’ in after-dinner anecdotes of his career. Reverend Gerard O’Shaughnessy was the recipient of the American
St Francis Xavier College participated in the Great Shakespeare Debate with branch sponsorship. A successful fundraising lunch was held at the towering Panoramic Restaurant in Liverpool and enabled us to contribute to the Lord Mayor’s Charity. Mid-Chesire The Mid-Cheshire Branch hosted the North West regional final of the Schools’ Public Speaking Competition on 20 March at The Grange School, Hartford. Four schools competed and the winner team was from Moreton Hall, Oswestry with St. Mary’s College, Liverpool taking the runners-up prize. Standards were very high and it was a most enjoyable afternoon. The winning team represented the North West in the national final at Lincolns Inn on 23 April.
REGIONAL DIARY LONDON REGION
SOUTH WEST REGION
Contact: Don Miller, 020 8540 6754 unless otherwise noted.
Wednesday 23 June at Shakespeare’s Globe
Lukesland Gardens Contact: Sue Hoskins, 01225 482944
Lunch and Macbeth
Thursday 22 July at Dartmouth House
Contact: Chris Taper at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01208 863867
Talk by Lord Gilbert, followed by lunch
SOUTH WALES REGION Cardiff Contact: Derek Morgan, 01656 669129 Thursday 15 April Literary dinner with author Guy Walters
Exeter Meetings in the Duckworth Suite, Exeter Golf & Country Club, Topsham Road, Exeter, unless otherwise stated. Contact: Ann Armstrong, 19 Bossell Park, Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0DX, 01364 642839 or www.exeteresu.org. Lunch meetings £18, supper meetings £22 (non members asked to add a voluntary donation of £3). Talk only, £3 Wednesday 23 June, 6.30 pm AGM followed by supper meeting, 7 for 7.30 pm, with speaker Ben Bradshaw MP
Plymouth Talks at the Churchill Room, Astor Hotel, Plymouth, unless otherwise noted; £2.50 includes tea/coffee (school students free, college students £1). Good two-course, pre-talk supper available at 6pm, £12. Contact: Jill Rogerson, 01752 847113
Monday 5 July, 7.15 pm AGM followed at 7.45 by ESU Director of Charitable Activities, Martin Mulloy on ‘Thoughts on the Future of the ESU in the 21st Century’
Sunday 29 August, 1 pm, £15 ‘A Taste of Africa’. Lunch at the home of Valerie Aiscough. Tickets in advance only. Closing date for ticket applications - 20 August.
Eastbourne Contact: Charles Beal, 01323 439100
Sunday 4 July, 12.30 for 1 pm at Chatsworth House, Horam, £10
Meetings at 11 am at The Rose and Crown, Harnham (coffee from 10.15 am).
Independence Day Garden Party. By kind permission of Douglas and Jane Mitchell
Contact:Louise Jeffreys, 01722 336118
SOUTH EAST REGION Brighton Hove and District Meetings 2 pm for 2.30 at The Hove Club, 28 Fourth Avenue (opposite Hove Town Hall). Contact: Arthur Collins, 01273 307335 or email email@example.com Tuesday 21 September ‘The story of the Old Ship Hotel’ by Jackie Marsh-Hobbs, guide and local historian. Followed by AGM
Canterbury and East Kent Contact: Valerie Ainscough, 174 Old Dover Road, Canterbury CT1 3EX, 01227 471180 or 819037. Tickets are non-refundable and must be booked and paid for in advance (cheque to ‘ESU’). If you require tickets to be sent please enclose a SAE
Saturday 18 September, 3.30 pm at 32 Denton Road, Eastbourne, £6 Afternoon tea by kind permission of Jimmy and Diane Stuart. Our speaker will be James Cottam the branches university scholar to the Global Young Leaders Conference in Washington DC and NYC Thursday 14 October, 12.30 for 1 pm at the Langham Hotel, Eastbourne, £18 Lunch. Jane A Green will speak on ‘Cruising with the Stars’.
Guildford Unless otherwise stated, events held at Merrist Wood Golf Club, Holly Lane, Worplesdon, 12.30 for 1 pm. Tickets, to include two course lunch and coffee, are £16 (non-members asked to contribute a further £2). Drinks not included. Contact: Colin Hall, 01420 489689
1066 (Hastings) Luncheon meetings at the new Hastings Technical College Building, Station Plaza, entrance opposite the station, 11.30 am for midday, £11 (non-members £12). Contact: Michael Plumbe, 6 Swan Terrace, Hastings TN34 3HT, 01424 713737
West Sussex Meetings normally at 1.30 pm with lunch available from noon at The Barley Mow, Walderton, Nr Chichester. Contact: Branch Secretary Elizabeth Brooks, 01243 378900 Saturday 19 June, 7 pm at Lordington Park, near Chichester Midsummer Concert and Buffet in aid of the Branch’s Overseas Scholarship Fund Tuesday 13 July, 12.30 pm AGM and Tour of Parham House, near Pulborough.
MIDLANDS REGION Gloucestershire Contact: Jacqueline Millington, 3, Manor Gardens, Lechlade, Gloucestershire, GL7 3EQ, 01367 250092 (please enclose a stamped addressed envelope) Sunday 11 July, 12 pm at Orchard House, Dumbleton Summer Garden Party. Jenny Hunter will welcome us into her stylish garden and home. Lou Smith will provide the buffet lunch, and The Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Band will play. Ticket includes a welcoming glass of wine and lunch. Ladies - please wear hats.
Herefordshire Contact: Andrew Putnam, 01531 670288.
Oxfordshire Contact: Cynthia Styles, 1 Carey Close, Oxford OX2 8HX, 01865 554137, cynthia. firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheques to ESU Oxfordshire Branch (with SAE please) Sunday 4 July, 2 pm at Daisy Hill Farm House, Duns Tew, £10 Independence Day Croquet Competition and afternoon tea
Thursday 8 July, 6.30 pm at the Dodgson Room, Christ Church College
Annual General Meeting
Colchester and North East Essex
Saturday 24 July, 11.30 am at Chalgrove Parish Church and Manor, £21
Contact: Geraldine Watson, 01206 322130, email@example.com
Guided tours with lunch and tea
Friday 3 September, 7 for 7.30 pm at the McKenna Room, Christ Church
Monthly meetings on Thursdays at the Murray Hall, Borders Lane, Loughton – 10.15 for 10.45 am.
Annual Black-tie Dinner with speaker Sir Tom Benyon
Worcestershire Contact: Mrs Jean Davies, 23 Oakfield Road, Malvern. WR14 1DS, 01684 560068 Thursday 23 September, noon for 12.30 pm at Worcestershire Golf Club, Malvern Wells, £17.50 Literary Lunch with Irina Nikitina on ‘The Architecture of St Petersburg’. Includes 2-course lunch and a glass of wine.
Members and visitors £4 including tea/coffee. Contact: Daphne Ruffell, 01992 561470 Thursday 1 July Josie Stephenson talks on the European Parliament Thursday 5 August Helen Leonard tells of her life in the Tower of London Thursday 2 September Timothy Bruce-Dick gives an illustrated talk entitled ‘A History of Modern Architecture’
Hertfordshire Contact: Frederick Thomas, 127 Newberries Avenue, Radlett, Herts WD7 7EN, 01923 854608 (tel & fax), sheilaandfred127 @btinternet.com Saturday 10 July, 12.30 pm for 1.00 at 8 Wren Crescent, Bushey Heath, Herts WD23 1AN, £10 Lunch Reception for Miklovan Gjonaj, our Albanian student guest
Sunday 18 July, from 2 pm at 19 Lancaster Road, St Albans AL1 4EP Mike & Pauline Foers. ‘Poetry in the Garden’ - tea and cakes as well as poetry
Norwich and Norfolk Meetings at Park Farm Hotel, Hethersett, 12 pm for 12.30 luncheon. Contact: June M Baker, 01603 507976 Friday 18 June Speaker Daphne Howlett on ‘The Uses, Stories and Legends of Shells’ Friday 16 July Branch AGM August Coffee morning, date to be arranged.
Ouse Valley We welcome visitors. The full programme is available on www.esu.org/ousevalley, together with a general booking form. Events at 12.30 for 1pm lunch with the presentation to follow. Contact: Brenda Alexander, 01234 881473
Southend-On-Sea Contact: Margaret Poulter, 01702 582882 Monday 28 June, 10.30am at the Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, £2.50 Branch AGM followed by an auction in aid of The Florence Warren Trust. Coffee and biscuits included.
Sunday 11 July, 3 - 5 pm (approx) at Porters
NORTH EAST REGION
Garden Party at the official residence of the Mayor of Southend-on-Sea with a musical performance from this year’s winner of The Florence Warren Trust Award
Suffolk Contact: Joy Childs 01284 728375 Wednesday 23 June, 12 pm at the Farmers Club, Bury St Edmunds, £19.95 Midsummer Lunch with guest speaker Michael Munn who will give a talk entitled ‘A Life with The Stars’ Wednesday 21 July, 12 pm AGM and Lunch with a Guest Speaker Sunday 1 August, 12 - 3 pm at Lyon House Garden Party by kind permission of Alexander Finnis, ESU Suffolk Branch President Wednesday 15 September All Day even. Suffolk Coastal Heritage Day, Coffee at Snape, followed by lunch of your choice at Aldeburgh, Transport by coach, departing Bury St Edmunds Coach Station at 9.45 am, and Diss Coach Station at 10.15 am Coach tickets £12.50
Student’s Presentation Evening at Fulbeck Hall, near Grantham, by kind permission of Mr and Mrs William Day. An opportunity to hear from recipients of Branch Scholarships. Information concerning this event will be circulated to members nearer the time. Contact: Mrs Geraldine Richardson-Eames
NORTH WEST REGION Liverpool and Merseyside Lunch meetings at the Athenaeum, Church Alley, Liverpool, noon for 12.30 unless otherwise stated. Contact: Sue, 0151 342 6157 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mid-Cheshire (Formerly Vale Royal) Lunch meetings at Fourways Inn, Delamere, Northwich, Cheshire. noon for 12.30, unless otherwise stated. Contact: Jennifer MacPherson, 01925 730176 Tuesday 14 September The speaker will be Martin Mulloy, ESU Director of Charitable Activities on ‘The Role of The English Language in the World’ The Annual General Meeting of the branch will also take place.
ESU MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Contact Jo Wedderspoon, 020 7529 1576, email@example.com for further information
In addition to our previously advertisied offers, this quarter we bring you some new benefits.
Leith’s Leith’s at The English-Speaking Union welcomes all ESU members and guests to the Revelstoke Restaurant. It’s the perfect place to savour a sumptuous lunch, whether meeting business associates or celebrating an occasion with friends. Our Head Chef creates monthly menus to ensure our food remains seasonal throughout the year and we source local home country produce where possible. Our attentive staff are dedicated to providing you with the best possible service during your lunch. Our exclusive Mayfair location means we have a lot to live up to; we regularly compare lunch prices with local clubs to ensure we remain competitively priced-without compromising on the quality of food and service. We are committed to bringing you the best and as a much-loved member’s facility; we value your views and welcome any comments on how we can improve your experience in the Revelstoke Restaurant. The Leith’s team look forward to welcoming you soon. LIFESTYLE Piano lessons London members can benefit from a discount on piano lessons with Jeanne Broda. Contact Jeanne on 020 8810 6753 and mention the “ESU offer” for more details.
REVIEW â€“ Inside Reviews, listings, profiles and interviews from staff and members. To submit a review or listing for publication, please contact the Editor on 020 7529 1579 or firstname.lastname@example.org. PROFILE_66 Lucy Prebble FILM_68 The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo / Alice In Wonderland 3D THEATRE_69 An Ideal Husband / Posh
Flying out to New York to begin rehearsals for the Broadway production of ENRON in the afternoon, Lucy Prebble spoke to Gillian Parker about entering into the world of corporate disaster, taking three years to perfect scripts and success....at 28. Lucy is no stranger to trouncing the occasional boundary. Her debut play, the multi-award winning The Sugar Syndrome, trespassed into the chatroom fantasies of paedophiles and demanded both comedy and empathy. She followed that with an adaptation for TV of the bestseller by the anonymous Belle de Jour blog - Secret Diary of a Call Girl - which again inhabited taboo territory - suggesting prostitution not necessarily as victimhood but as a career choice. Her latest project ENRON transferred to the West End after sell out runs at both The Royal Court and Chichester Theatre Festival. Prebble once again steps into a forbidden world: the corporate boardroom dominated by male patriarchy. Is no-one safe from this invasive playwright?
Lucy Prebble makes people like me green with envy. She has new, ground-breaking ideas; she is intelligent, creative, funny and best of all, a stickler for detail. Her success in television has inarguably had an impact on her writing style for theatre. ENRON is a fast-moving play with frequent scene changes and plenty to catch your attention, “I wanted to carry the amount of narrative required to power events on screen into the theatre; wanting to move quickly and keep people from getting bored.” I do remind her that once people are in the theatre, it is only with huge difficulty that they are able to leave, “(Laughing) I could probably relax on that a bit that once you’ve got an audience sitting in the theatre, they’re happy to stay sat there for a while!” She obviously missed Madam de Sade.
“I wanted to carry the amount of narrative required to power events on screen into the theatre; wanting to move quickly and keep people from getting bored.”
Focusing on the collapse of ENRON doesn’t seem like the most natural subject for Prebble to broach. She grew up in Haslemere, Surrey, and attended Guildford High School for Girls. Her mother worked in state education as a bursar, her father was a chairman of a multinational software company. Her older brother and sister work for big consultancy firms. This background is fairly crucial in helping to understand why she was so intrigued by the ENRON story; not in the least intimidated by the scale of research required to trace in detail the company’s labyrinthine route to disaster. “I was the youngest child, so I suppose I was always destined to be the arty one. It wasn’t really conscious but I’m sure there is a bit of my head that suggested the path I did not follow as a subject for me.” ENRON was the biggest corporate collapse in the nineties, and was more of an isolated scandal than a sign of things to come (Lucy did confess to me that she did not see the credit crunch coming) “I was fascinated by the idea of a company collapsing – what does that means and how does it come to happen?” Spending three years developing ENRON Lucy read everything that had been written about it and spoke to the people who had worked for and with the company, to her; it was like a “modern tragedy”.
The protagonist in this tragedy being, of course, Jeffrey Skilling, the disgraced former CEO of ENRON and the corporate Macbeth. No shortage of material there then, “the personalities involved were so fascinating (as people attracted to power often are) that they drove me to trust the idea.” Striking a contemporary chord with audiences in London, ENRON has unfortunately flopped on Broadway with reported losses of $4 million and has closed just after 15 performances. The lack of success in New York can perhaps be attributed to the play being a little close to the bone mocking the American obsession with money. Ben Brantley, the influential critic of the New York Times, called it a “flashy but laboured economics lesson”. Lucy, ignore them. They take themselves way too seriously.
THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO / Certificate 18
Just as it began to seem that authors were plotted out and most topics had been done to death, a publishing phenomenon hit the shelves in the form of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. Posthumously published following his death in 2004, the books have been filmed, and the first was released in the UK in March. It is still playing at selected cinemas.
The film is a joy to watch. The sparse Swedish sub-titles inform just enough not to detract from the visual images. The scenery is unfamiliar – a welcome change from the usual New York or San Francisco backdrops and the architecture and interior scenes suggest that not every Swedish home owes its design to IKEA. Hollywood is threatening a remake. See this version for atmosphere and authenticity.
The two main characters are an unlikely alliance. Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist), a magazine publisher, is in disgrace after losing a libel case to corrupt industrialist Wennerström (Stefan Sauk). He is hired by a wealthy dynastic CEO to write a family history and to secretly investigate the disappearance of Henrik Vanger’s (Sven-Bertil Taube) niece forty years earlier. By chance he meets Lisbeth Salander, admirably portrayed by Noomi Rapace, a punk who has spent most of her life in care and as a young woman is still under legal guardianship. Psychologically damaged, reclusive, revengeful and naively incorruptible, Lisbeth’s skills as a computer hacker enable the pair to both nail Wennerström and solve the family puzzle. Underlying the main plot are a series of sub-plots which run through the whole trilogy and offer an intriguing glimpse into the Swedish establishment and politics, influenced by Larsson’s preoccupation with neo-Nazism, which necessitated his taking precautions against right wing extremists for the last 15 years of his life.
It is advisable to read the books before seeing the film, not least in order to prepare for the violent rape scene. It is essential to the plot and its ramifications colour the life of the heroine and subsequent events throughout the trilogy. Without realising this, it may prove too much. Allow yourself two free days per book because once started, they are difficult to put down!
Stieg Larson’s Millennium trilogy in order: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Girl who Played with Fire; The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest. Gill Hale
ALICE IN WONDERLAND 3D / Certificate PG
AN IDEAL HUSBAND / PROMENADE PERFORMANCE AT DARTMOUTH HOUSE
Tim Burton’s film sees Alice returning to Wonderland as a 19-year-old, having almost forgotten her previous visit as a young girl many years before. Confused and embarrassed after being forced to turn down a marriage proposal in front of hundreds of assembled guests at a garden party, the teenager soon finds herself tumbling down the rabbit hole into an even more frustrating situation.
For the second time, Dartmouth House hosted a successful sell-out dramatic promenade production. Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband began in the Revelstoke Room for the first two acts, with the plot developing in the Churchill Room after the interval and dramatically concluding in the Long Drawing Room.
Not only is she required to eat and drink in order to shrink and grow herself to negotiate various obstacles in the Wonderland architecture, but the residents suspect she may be “the wrong Alice”. Furthermore, those who do believe are keen to release Wonderland from the tyranny of the evil Red Queen by slaying the Jabberwocky. The highly imaginative costumes and fantasy landscapes make this version of Wonderland much closer to the vision of Lewis Carroll rather than the sweetness of the Disney version. While Burton has combined Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and the Jabberwocky poem, his hallucinogenic humour stays true to the original. Excellent performances by Helena Bonham-Carter as the Red Queen and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Jo Wedderspoon
Despite the trials and tribulations which faced Director, Krishna Omkar during the run in Oxford, the performance was top-drawer. Claimed as ‘showcasing all the best things about Wilde’ (Oxford Theatre Review), expectations were high and they were surely exceeded. Set at Dartmouth House, yards away from where the action ‘really’ took place, the grand paintings in each room and piano playing punctuating the performance, married with excellent costume design. The audience (in black-tie) was truly immersed in the action. The actors’ performances matched the grandeur of the setting, with Flossie Draper as Gertrude Chiltern delivering on the subtleties of her character, Laura Nakhla as Mrs Cheveley punching the audience with her breathless alliteration. The men also held their own in the play but not without a challenge from the impressive female cast. Watch out for future performances hosted by Dartmouth House later in the year. DIALOGUE 69
POSH BY LAURA WADE / JERWOOD THEATRE DOWNSTAIRS At a time when we have a pair of young Oxbridge boys running our country, Posh is a chilling window into the possible past of the people who hold our future in their hands. Although, it seems unlikely David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be hanging from chandeliers and beating up barmen. Laura Wade’s Posh is a dark comedy mostly set during a riotous, drunken dinner of an Oxford club. In an oak-panelled room, ten young chaps with cut-glass vowels and deep pockets are meeting, intent on restoring their right to rule. The Riot Club, named after an 18th Century rakehell, are bunkering down for a wild night of debauchery, decadence with the aim to get truly ‘chateaued’. Wade draws a fictionalised group portrait closely resembling the real-life Bullingdon, which counts David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne among its former members. The resemblance is a coincidence I’m sure. Posh is a timely and intuitive piece about the sense of entitlement which exudes off those who have had a more than privileged upbringing. It is repellent to watch this group of arrogant buffoons who regard it their birthright to fill top City jobs and parliamentary posts. Discussing topics ranging from the insane to the ridiculous - the inconveniences of having their homes being made into National Trust properties ‘making mummy terribly upset’, to ultra-nationalistic
bombast, it is the middle-class who bear the brunt of their tantrums. Braying the national anthem, fixing sick bags to their chairs are all prefixes to the Riot Club’s eventual, altogether shameless, destruction of the room. You are caught colluding in their precocious, arrogant, cruel and snobbish convictions laughing as much with the characters as at them. Particularly notable performances from reptilian Leo Bill playing the most dangerous member of the club rabble-rousing his fellow Rioters, David Dawson as the suave but sharp, gay member of the group and the Club President, Tom Mison, who struggles to hide his increasing distaste for the club and encounters a skirmishingly embarrassing moment where his application to Deutsche Bank is read to the other members. Lyndsey Turner directs a superbly assured and acted production that moves from uneasy laughter (the scene involving a dignified prostitute is a comic gem of social embarrassment) to something altogether darker and nastier. The violent climax is predictable but nonetheless crucial in exposing the proximity of their inner hooliganism. Are we to believe that some of the higher-classes are this arrogant in their assumption of power? Terrifying. Posh will tour the UK in the autumn – check the press for details. Gillian Parker
June - November 2010
Tuesday 22 June
Wednesday 11 August, 10.30 am
The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Great Climate Change Debate
Thursday 1 July
Coffee Morning at Dartmouth House for members and their friends
Dartmouth House Thursday 24 June
London Debate Challenge finals day
Dartmouth House and the Royal Courts of Justice.
Monday 5 July
Semi-finals in the morning: final in the afternoon.
Great History Debate
Monday 28 June Dartmouth House Lord Browne will give a lecture on his book
Tuesday 31 August Dartmouth House
National Mooting Competition finals day
Alumni Open House
Hampton Court Palace
Tuesday 6 July House of Lords Tea Party On the terrace at the Houses of Parliament SOLD OUT First week of July (date TBC – see ESU website for details) Great Football Debate Wednesday 14 July, 10.30 am Coffee Morning at Dartmouth House for members and their friends 23-26 July at Oakham School Debate Academy Friday 30 July Dartmouth House Branches Conference See flyer for details
Wednesday 8 September, 10.30 am
Wednesday 13 October, 10.30 – 11.30 am
Wednesday 10 November, 10.30 am
Coffee Morning at Dartmouth House for members and their friends
International at Home
Coffee Morning at Dartmouth House for members and their friends
Tuesday 28 September Dartmouth House Alumni Open House
A chance for ESU members and members of the international community in London to enjoy coffee in the Wedgwood Room of Dartmouth House. This event will be held in partnership with the British Mexican Society.
Tuesday 30 November Dartmouth House Alumni Open House
Tuesday 26 October Dartmouth House Alumni Open House
â€“ Septemberâ€™s issue of dialogue: More of the latest events, reviews, competitions, updates, and developments, including: Lord Browne lectures, launches, debate academy and great debates.
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