A quarterly publication from The English-Speaking Union
Spring 11 Discover the latest news and events, featuring the Walter Hines Page scholarâ€™s report, Debating in Denmark, and updates from the Director-General.
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From the Director-General_04 New Membership, Alumni and Database Roles_06
Children’s Literature in Translation Award-winner_28 English in Action_29
Letters to the Editor_07
Inspiring students to aim higher_32
Speech and debate in Turkey_33
Changing lives in Mauritius_34 Scholar’s report_10
Can you help our summer seminars_36
Debating in Denmark_16 The Birth of the English-Speaking Union_19
ON THE HORIZON
Public Speaking Competition for Schools_24 Schools Mace_24 Education programmes_24 Events_25 ESU Iceland launch_26
Debate training for newest ESU_38 Dartmouth House Lunch series_40 From the Archives_40
BRANCHES Branch reports_42
ESU membership benefits_68 Regional diary_69
REVIEW CREDITS Managing Editor Hanna Cevik Editor Roberta Pearce
Design The Click Design Consultants theclickdesign.com DIALOGUE 3
EDITORIAL Mike Lake CBE ESU Director-General
I think that the ESU is faced with a great opportunity to build on its legacy and to forge an important and significant role in society both in the UK and abroad, and I am confident it will do so by making the right changes.
Welcome to the spring edition of dialogue. This edition celebrates the first birthday of our new members’ magazine. dialogue represents better value for money, costing the same as the old format ESU and Branches News publications with more content, and increased value for the charitable aims of the ESU as it is useful for promoting our work to new audiences.
It has been noted by many of those involved in the review, that there is nothing new about the issues that have been raised. All have appeared at some time or another on the agenda and they will continue to be barriers to progress or bothersome until they are addressed with resolve. This, I very much hope is what will now happen and I am sure the ESU will be refreshed as a result.
You will recently have received a letter from the Chairman, in which he has laid out a summary of progress following the AGM in November 2010. I thought that it might be helpful for those who have not been directly involved to offer a reminder of the key issues. If you did not receive the letter, it is available to download from the ESU website at www.esu.org/chairmansletter or, if you do not have access to the web, by contacting Dartmouth House.
Change is, of course, not without its difficulties. I am reminded of a quotation - “let it be noted” declares Machiavelli “that there is no more delicate matter to take in hand, nor more dangerous to conduct, nor more doubtful in its success, than to set up as a leader in the introduction of changes”. Change is a risky and controversial business, but in a fast-paced world it is necessary to adjust the tiller regularly and periodically to make significant changes of course.
The review of the ESU, conducted through 2010, addressed four broad aspects: 1. the role and purpose of the ESU in a changing world and in a competitive environment 2. the governance and its processes required to direct and support the ESU in pursuit of its strategy 3.
balancing the need to raise income from Dartmouth House to support the ESU’s charitable activities whilst protecting the building for current use and for the benefit of future generations
4. the international agenda: how the aspiration to extent the network can be expanded in an affordable manner whilst protecting the reputation and brand of the ESU The review also addressed ways in which the ESU could increase its influence and impact by working in partnership with like-minded organisations at home and abroad. However, please rest assured that the governors of the ESU have absolutely no intention of merging with the Royal Commonwealth Society. Finally, the review drew attention to the historical connection between the ESU, the countries of the Commonwealth, and the USA, and the enshrinement of these links in the Royal Charter. The Chairman explains in his letter that these matters, the subjects of controversy at the last AGM, are now being considered by a working group of the National Council for England and Wales (NCEW) so that the views of members can inform the work of the Board of Governors.
I think that the ESU is faced with a great opportunity to build on its legacy and to forge an important and significant role in society both in the UK and abroad, and I am confident it will do so by making the right changes. Aside from the strategic matters described above, the daily work of the ESU continues and there is an excellent team of professionally minded individuals working with energy and imagination to reach an increasing number of young people to help them to develop the confidence and communication skills that will serve them to play a full role in society. I am particularly proud to have been working for the ESU during a period of expansion and development of new education programmes, designed to increase the ESU’s engagement with some of the most underprivileged sections of society, as identified by the government agency, Aimhigher, which will sadly cease to exist in the summer. Please see page 34 for details of how we are engaging to increase the educational opportunities for young people in the south west of the UK. I know that many members have been especially concerned about our database, and I can report that the new system is being introduced successfully. I hope that this particular issue will swiftly become a memory. This will be my last editorial as Director-General. The process has been initiated to appoint a successor. It has been a privilege to serve in the post.
NEW MEMBERSHIP, ALUMNI AND DATABASE ROLES Narissa Nelson and Kate Bond have swapped some responsibilities and therefore we are now outlining to members whom they should contact:
Kate Bond Membership and Alumni Officer 020 7529 1571 firstname.lastname@example.org Kate is responsible for: • Membership subscription enquiries • Changes to contact details - address, telephone, email, etc. • Membership benefit enquiries • General alumni enquiries • Alumni events • Alumni research projects
We recognise the importance and the scale of the new database project being undertaken by Narissa and have therefore decided that she will concentrate on the technical side of her role. This will include the administration of alumni on the database. Jo Wedderspoon has been appointed Director of Fundraising and Development. Meriel Talbot - Director of Branches will continue to be the main contact for all branch administration matters.
fresh dining experience at Darmouth
Welcome to Leith’s section of the Dialogue Magazine. We pride ourselves on the superior quality of the events we host and exceptional meals served. In 2011 we are extending the offering we serve to ESU members and I hope that you will come and see the changes that we are making. We look forward to seeing you.
Narissa Nelson Database Officer
Fisher Richard General Manager
New Lounge Menus Enjoy a light breakfast with coffee and juice from 9:30am to 12 noon. Taste our new small plate dining dishes, or our traditional sandwiches, from 12 noon to 4pm. Join us for afternoon tea, served on a traditional three tier stand in the Wedgewood Room, from 4 to 5.30pm.
Wedding’s at Dartmouth House If you’re getting married in 2011 or 2012 and book Dartmouth House you’ll receive: • Complimentary sparkling wine for the Wedding Party! • A free lunch at the Revelstoke Restaurant including a bottle of House Wine for your conﬁrmed wedding! For more information and to request a copy of our brand new Wedding Brochure, call us on 020 7529 1554*
Alfresco Dining in the Courtyard From May to September we will be offering an alfresco light lounge menu in the beautiful Courtyard to make the most of the summer months! * Please quote: ESUWEDD
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Joyce Troughton From New Zealand (Wellington)
Valerie Shrimplin St Alban’s
‘Thank you for forwarding Mike’s message. It was read out at the first Wellington meeting of the year yesterday and followed by a minute’s silence.
‘As New Year’s greetings just arrived from an old friend, I felt compelled to write to you to let you know of my ESU friendship that has lasted since 1968.
I was in Christchurch last Wednesday and Thursday on holiday with US friends and met with colleague Amber Gazzard, President of Christchurch ESU in one of the tall buildings near the river, which must have been subsequently damaged on Tuesday. We even shopped together in Cashel Street, which is, I believe, where most of the rubble is now with many shoppers buried underneath. Last Wednesday my friends, husband and I were in the cathedral, where the whole of the aisle had been expertly decorated with flowers for the floral festival. It’s difficult to take in the damage that has been done and it’s effect on Christchurch residents, Cantabrians far and wide and those with work or family connections with the city.
My American friend Margaret Earl Waller (‘Peggy’) came to my school in St Albans in September 1968 and we have remained in touch ever since - actually seeing each other on a number of occasions too.
I’m pleased to report that Amber herself is alive and well and has accepted our offer to come to stay here in Wellington with us while things get sorted out. Her house is standing, all glass, mirrors, etc in smithereens and when I spoke to her on Wednesday she had no power or water and was sleeping on a reclining chair with the patio door unlocked so that she could get out quickly if one the aftershocks were too great. I have no news of the other members of the branch as yet, as I haven’t been able to contact Amber recently. Hopefully there were out of range.
That’s more than 40 years and I thought you would like to know.’
Pamela Hill Radlett ‘How very kind to have sent me a copy of dialogue, but I’m no longer a member as I am (a) disabled and (b) deaf ! Also, it’s increasingly difficult to get to and from London for anyone – the public services are bad and getting worse. Parking here, hopeless. I last saw you all at Belinda’s [Norman-Butler] farewell concert and was so glad I came – and was able to say goodbye to her. Before that, all the things I’ve attended have been wonderful. Every good wish to you all and if a miracle happens, will be back – am still writing. All the very best.’
The people of NZ are indeed resilient and it has been inspiring to see that the “Student Army”, which was helpful in the September quake, has amassed 15,000 students to provide labour shifting silt, etc around the Christchurch area. They are extremely well-organised and complement the other over-stretched official organisations by doing manual work and also smaller jobs moving things, providing drinking water, etc for people unable to help themselves. It makes me very proud of my adopted country. Please pass on thanks to Mike Lake.’ Editor’s note: the ESU extends it’s thoughts to those affected by the earthquake. DIALOGUE 7
OBITUARY David Skeggs
Dr David Skeggs, who died on 22 December 2010 aged 82, led the team that developed computer-controlled precision radiotherapy, a technique which enables radiologists to focus radiation beams precisely on a tumour, leaving other, healthy cells unaffected. He did his National Service with the Royal Navy, and then decided on a career in radiology. After three years as a trainee registrar at Bart’s and The London Hospital, and two years as a research fellow at St Thomas’s Hospital, he returned to Bart’s as a senior registrar. In 1964 he was appointed director of the radiology centre at the Royal Free Hospital where he remained until 1988. Dr Skeggs left the NHS because of illness, but recovered and became director of radiotherapy at the private Cromwell Hospital until his retirement. He was totally committed to his work, but managed to find time to be a governor of Wycombe Abbey School and a member of the board of visitors of HMP Ford. He was also a governor of the English-Speaking Union from 1999 until 2005 during which time he campaigned for a more active governance. DIALOGUE 8
His family and large circle of friends loved him for his sense of fun, his generosity of spirit and his willingness to give advice on all sorts of medical and health problems. Nothing was too much trouble. An ESU staff member writes: “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, David was extremely kind and helpful with information about the type of care that I would receive and the treatment that would be necessary for me to undergo for a few years after my operation and initial chemotherapy. It relieved a lot of worry and stress that I was undergoing at the time. I understand that his conversations with Tom O’Brien, our porter, when he became extremely ill, were similarly helpful.” The ESU sends its sympathies to David’s family and is thankful for gis support.
FEATURES â€“ Inside A selection of events and articles that deserve special attention for their significance to the ESU from the last three months.
Scholarâ€™s report_10 Debating in Denmark_16 The Birth of the English-Speaking Union_19
WALTER HINES PAGE SCHOLARâ€™S REPORT
TEACHING DEAF AND HEARING IMPAIRED CHILDREN IN THE USA The Walter Hines Page scholarship offers teachers the unique opportunity to explore and exchange educational ideas between Britain and America. Scholars are able to travel to the USA to study an aspect of education which is relevant to their own professional interests and development.
Simon Ward is a 2009 Walter Hines Page scholar. He took a two week trip to the USA to conduct a very thorough research project into the facilities for and styles of teaching deaf and hearing impaired children. Here, an abridged version of his report details the amazing work that is being done to ensure that such children are given the best possible chance to learn on an equal footing. Simon visited 12 schools across Colorado, Kentucky, New York and Ohio. His full report can be read at www.esu.org/walterhinespage
‘The ultimate purpose of Special Educational Needs (SEN) provision is to enable young people to flourish in adult life. There are therefore strong educational, as well as social and moral grounds for educating children with SEN with their peers. We aim to increase the level and quality of inclusion within mainstream schools, while protecting and enhancing specialist provisionfor those who need it.’ DfEE Meeting Special Educational Needs: A Programme of Action 1998
Recent government legislation in the UK has strongly encouraged the inclusion of children with special educational needs (SEN), including deaf pupils, into mainstream schools.
The Education Act 1996 has strengthened the rights of parents who want their children with SEN to attend mainstream schools. This is further supported by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, which means that schools now have to make reasonable adjustments to overcome any disadvantages faced by disabled pupils. Within the field of deaf education there has been a gradual move away from segregated provision. In the 1970s units on the site of mainstream schools were well established for children with a hearing loss. Since then however there has been a gradual movement towards children spending more time in mainstream classes and being placed in their local schools. In 2003, it was reported that there were 25,020 deaf children in the UK (BATOD 2003). Approximately 80% are in mainstream schools. The prevalence of sign language amongst this population was reported to be used by around 16% of the school population. With an increased emphasis on inclusion, schools need to be equipped through physical modifications, increased teaching skills and an embracing ethos to meet the social and educational needs of a wide range of pupils’ needs. An important role of the teacher of
deaf children is to ensure that deaf pupils and their teachers have an increased understanding and awareness of the implications of deafness to make sure inclusion is a positive experience for children and their families.
and reach, at minimum, proficiency in the State academic standards. Underpinning this is a state-wide accountability system which monitors the progress of schools through annual testing of the pupils.
Educational experiences and opportunities for deaf children are also influenced by developments within public health care. The New Born Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) was phased in with a nationally agreed protocol in 2005. The outcome has been an earlier diagnosis of hearing loss for children and the ability to introduce digital hearing aids at an early age. As a result of the NHSP, young babies are fitted with appropriate amplification at an earlier age and where necessary being referred for cochlear implantation. As technology advances, children who previously had little access to speech sounds can now distinguish speech and develop clear spoken language for themselves. Early years support for families of children with special educational needs has been a priority of the last government, ensuring that families received quality support and information in the early formative years of their deaf baby’s life.
Working as a teacher of the deaf in a Sensory Service, I have had a focus on the promotion of inclusion and enabling deaf pupils to access the school curriculum and develop skills to be successful young people. The opportunity to complete a study visit in the USA provided me with a unique insight into a different education system and widened my personal knowledge and understanding of what it means to be a deaf child. Prior to visiting the USA I had some preconceptions about similarities and differences between the two countries and a range of questions which were to form the basis for discussion with other professionals during my visits:
Within the USA there are two main laws which underpin the education of hearing impaired children. These are the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) 2004 and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) 2001. The IDEA states that all local education agencies must provide free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for children with disabilities and these needs are based on the child’s individualised education programme. The IDEA requires that a full array of services and a continuum of placements be considered for children with a hearing loss. The NCLB is intended to ensure that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to obtain a high quality education
• What impact has the policy of inclusion had on the traditional school for the deaf ?
• Is there a range of education provision for deaf children in the United States? • Is there a wide range of parental choice and are all communication options available in a local area?
• Has the New Born Hearing Screening Programme and Early Years Support begun to improve educational attainment for deaf pupils? • What entitlement do children and families have to cochlear implants and digital hearing aids? • What impact has the recent recession had on funding of special education in the United States?
New York City “I went through quantum theory once and looked up only to find the class full of blank faces – they had obviously not understood. I went through it a second time and still they did not understand it. And so I went through it a third time and that time I understood it.” Jerome Bruner
This quotation pinned to the door of the principal, David Bowell, outlines the importance of understanding how deaf children learn. The goals for educating children with hearing loss are identical to their hearing peers. However, the majority of children with hearing loss seldom bring to their educational experience the same extensive language background or the same breath of language skills as do hearing children. As a deaf principal of the Elementary schools, David fully understands the importance of going over language and content until children in his school fully understand new concepts. I was fortunate to visit New York’s only public school for the deaf (PS 47) and talk with the principal about similarities and differences between our two education approaches. Striking similarities are withregards to budgets and public sector schools having to prove their worth through test results. As a school for the deaf, there are additional pressures due to the recent increase in numbers of deaf students being educated in their local schools.
As a deaf school PS 47 is unique, in that the majority of its 200 pupils are hearing. The curriculum is delivered in both English and ASL and class sizes are small with 16 pupils being taught by two teachers, one of which is a fully qualified teacher of the deaf proficient in ASL. There is also a significant number of deaf adults working in the school, who present positive role models to the pupilsl. The school has gained popularity with deaf parents who have hearing children. For these hearing pupils, their first language is ASL and the principal pointed out that there are a lot of similarities in the characteristics of their reading and writing to those children who are deaf. Due to the unique nature of the school, pupils travel great distances from all five boroughs in New York to attend. As we walked around the 90 year-old building it was evident that money was prioritised for teaching and not decoration. The classrooms were very bright and visual with a lot of information in pictures and photographs evident. The teaching areas were set out in a semi-circular pattern allowing pupils to see the teacher sign but also the contributions of others in the class would be visible. Tables were also circular so that pupils can see one another sign easily. It was important that the classes were small and set up to enable highest visual access to others. If the pupils were not looking than they would not be learning. The belief at PS 47 was that deaf pupils using ASL as a primary language for education can attain at a high level.
The school advocates that deaf pupils should be treated as bilingual students and not disabled ones. There is a strong belief that competency in ASL first will make it easier when learning English as their second language. Throughout my visits it was evident that there were similarities and differences in approaches, healthcare, outcomes and financing of education. However one common theme was the notion that all children are individuals with their own preferred method of learning and, despite a hearing loss, they should not be denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. Underpinning this ideal were very strong contrasting feelings about the best way to achieve success. History has had an important influence on the educational practice for deaf children in the USA and to examine the present system, it is necessary to acknowledge the historical context in which it is set. DIALOGUE 13
Denver, Colorado Within the Denver area I was fortunate to be able to visit four schools which implemented a diverse range of programmes for a wide range of deaf and hard of hearing pupils. I visited Vivian Elementary School for a full morning and observed a 3rd and 4th Grade English lesson. There were seven pupils aged nine and 10 who had a wide range of listening levels from moderate hearing loss to profound deafness. Additionally pupils demonstrated a wide range of communication ability. Two pupils had a severe hearing loss and used Phonak Inspirio FM systems to enhance their access to speech. They were using a mainly auditory approach, Children with additional needs (ADHD and Down’s Syndrome) with a moderate hearing loss were also present in the teaching group. Despite using amplification to gain access to speech, their preferred communication approach and most effective means of expressive language was through American Sign Language. There were two profoundly deaf pupils in the group who had no effective hearing and used American Sign Language (ASL) as their means of communication. The other pupil was a hearing boy of deaf parents, a coder, who used ASL at home as his first language and was therefore able to use ASL in school to fully understand the content of the lesson. This group was taught separately in the school by a number of qualified teachers of the deaf., The approach used in the classroom was Total Communication, which uses Spoken English and ASL together and the teacher will sign the lesson as she is speaking. It was interesting to note that the two children with severe hearing loss were competent in both spoken English and sign language. Vivian Elementary School is a publicly funded school in Jefferson County which receives additional funding for special needs. The classroom was well lit and was soundproofed to create optimum listening conditions. Soundfield systems are also used extensively in the other classrooms creating a deaf- friendly environment. The soundfield system amplifies the teacher’s voice through a number of speakers located around the classroom so allowing all pupils to hear the teacher’s voice clearly. Displays were highly visible with a good use of pictorial information and photographs to help convey information.
I also observed a maths lesson for Kindergarten and 1st Grade pupils (ages six and seven) The group consisted of six pupils to one qualified teacher of the deaf. Five children had a cochlear implant, three of which had bilateral implants and it was evident that the approach to the lesson placed more emphasis on spoken language than signing. All the pupils were involved in the lesson and were encouraged to take turns and give answers verbally. On site there were also two speech therapists who provided regular speech therapy sessions to the deaf pupils and outreach to other deaf pupils in their local school. In the session I observed pupils were being encouraged to listen to each other and check their own speech to discriminate between ‘t’ and ‘j’. The activity was made fun by the use of songs and story and by encouraging the children to ‘toot’ when the train approached.
During my time in the USA I had the opportunity to meet and stay with truly friendly and generous people. Away from the education of deaf pupils there were other memorable aspects of my visit which I would like to mention:
• Standing at 10,000 feet in March on a frozen lake, not realising the ice was only a few inches thick!
• Standing next to a model of a Beefeater in a Royal Armouries Museum in Louisville and thinking of Leeds.
• Enjoying a bison burger as my very first meal in the state of Colorado.
• Eating in a restaurant frequented by Muhammad Ali in his home town of Louisville.
• Watching a herd of wild elk grazing in the Rocky Mountains. • Meeting the author of a book I was currently reading. • Feeling like a true New Yorker, walking along 5th Avenue. • Enjoying a home-made brunch of pancakes and maple syrup on a roof terrace overlooking the Manhattan skyline. • Cycling over Brooklyn Bridge on a very warm March afternoon.
• Trying to remember the British Sign Language alphabet and teaching this to students in Ohio via a video link. • Following in the Beatle’s footsteps at Cincinnati Municipal Airport. • Marvelling at the wonderful Art Deco buildings in Cincinnati. • Realising it is nearly impossible to travel around the USA without a car! • Being stranded in the USA for 11 extra days due to volcanic ash.
• Drinking Bourbon in Kentucky!
I would like to thank the ESU in London and New York for organising and facilitating my study visit. I would like to thank the ESU members in Denver, New York, Kentucky and Ohio for their generosity,hospitality and kindness. I would also like to thank them for organising my appointments and ensuring I arrived there on time. Thank you to all the professionals who were able to spend their time discussing issues and practice; it has been a privilege to have been able to spend such quality time with a wide range of experienced individuals in the field of deaf education during my study visit. I would also like to thank the NASUWT for their generous sponsorship of the scholarship and the Sensory Service, Liverpool City Council for making it possible for me to accept the scholarship.
DEBATING IN DENMARK FROM DREAM TO REALITY Claire Clausen Chairman of the English-Speaking Union of Denmark
After the successful launch of debating in Denmark, a proud group gathered in the historic dining hall of the oldest private school in Denmark. From left, Samantha (UK trainer) Claire Clausen (ESU-DK Chair), Lars Kelstrup (Head of English at Sørø Akademi and host), Gerard Dik (ESU Treasurer), Jill Conway-Fell (ESU-DK Debating Officer), Alanna (UK trainer).
I found an old photo of myself in my high school debating team and it brought back memories of exciting visits to other regions in the North Island of New Zealand, fierce and friendly verbal battles with other senior high school students (between 16 – 18 years old) and the pride when, as captain, one could hold up a victor’s cup or shield. I remembered the combination of nerves, sharp, on-the-feet thinking, the pleasure of amusing the audience and scoring points from the opposing team and the closeness of team members as they too, worked to win the debate. Years later, on the other side of the world in Denmark, and having adjudicated the public speaking competition for the English-Speaking Union for over a decade, I saw how wonderfully well young Danish students master English, and how impressive it is to hear them answering questions, thinking on their feet, defending their ideas – in a foreign language! As ESU-DK Chairman I set myself and the Board the goal of bringing formal, English-style debating to Denmark and offering it to teachers and students alike, as a new and exciting way to use a foreign language. It took a couple of years but we finally achieved it early this term.
Without a staunch supporter from amongst the English teaching fraternity, the task would have been impossible. That teacher needed to have seen debating and understood how it can enhance teaching, learning and the all-important communication skills young people will need in future. That teacher was Lars Kelstrup from Sorø Akademi, ably assisted by colleagues at Herlufsholm, the sister school in the region. In fact, both schools kindly agreed to sponsor the visit to Denmark of two of the ESU’s highly-qualified debating trainers, Alanna and Samantha. Needless to say, the ESU-DK was extremely grateful. The two young women from the UK spent three days training, first students, and then teachers from schools throughout the region. Finally, a show-case debate was held for an audience of students and ESU members. There were two semi-finals where teams from each school debated the pros and cons of organ donation; in the final the winning team from each school had 30 minutes to discuss the subject of freedom of the press and censorship. Ten minutes before the debate commenced, the teams learnt which was the Propos[ition] and which the Opposition – and then their DIALOGUE 17
Pioneer debators from Sørø Akademi argue the cause for media censorship with students from sister college Herlufsholm, in their first public debate in the historic 400 year old festival hall at Sørø Akademi.
fast thinking and close cooperation really began, to decide their final strategy. Having learnt that the training and debates would be held initially at private schools, the reaction heard from some teachers in the Copenhagen area was that English-style debating was probably too formal, too restrictive and too difficult for students without some exposure to English at home or abroad. Surprisingly, some even suspected it would be elitist and exclusive. Not so. Our trainers were amazed at how quickly the students “got it” and “got into it”. Having been warned that teachers may be more sceptical, Samantha and Alanna were delighted to see how much the teachers also enjoyed the training exercises and debating against each other. Several of them said afterwards, “OK – I’m hooked!” The trainers have worked DIALOGUE 18
with foreign students and teachers throughout Europe but were amazed that, after only three days, they were judging the final debates as though they were back in the UK – the standard of English was so high. Having listened to young Danish students make a five minute speech in English in competition for about 15 years, I know how high the standard of English is in schools from all over the Greater Copenhagen region – and now I have heard that in southern Sjælland it is just as high. Of course, not all students of English will want to stand up and defend or argue against a point of view that is not their own but most enjoy competing and winning and intellectually debating is a wonderful tool to help clarify thoughts, analyse, conceptualise and argue to convince under time pressure. That young Danes proved this September
that it was possible to do so in another language, is even more admirable. The event with Sorø and Herlufsholm was deemed a success by teachers and students alike, to the extent that the ESU-DK will arrange for another training session by experts from the UK which will be held in Copenhagen in the early spring or late summer. All we need is a high school to offer to host the event and for others to provide teams to challenge each other. Debating is intellectually stimulating, linguistically challenging – and above all, it is fun. Just ask the students who have tried it!
THE BIRTH OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING UNION Gerald Noel
In the courtyard of Dartmouth House, headquarters of the English-Speaking Union, there is a commemoration to its founder, Sir John Evelyn Wrench. It concludes, ‘What Others/Have Dreamed/He Has Done’. So often, in life, there is a chasm between dreamers and people of action. Evelyn Wrench stepped across this chasm. He showed us that the visionary and the pragmatist can co-exist. History is all the stories of the world. Although names and dates are undoubtedly important, they are merely the bones of history. Stories are the flesh of history. Stories are what fascinate us. Yet behind every great story lies the question, “Why?” Why did people act as they did? What were their motives? What were the factors, for instance, which resulted in Evelyn Wrench forming the English-Speaking Union? Evelyn Wrench was born in 1882, in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He was a Victorian, with a Victorian’s idealism and a Victorian’s energy. He was born into the landed gentry. However, Wrench’s family were no dilettante landlords; far from it. Wrench’s father dedicated his life to helping the peasant farmers of western and southern Ireland improve their lot through improved farming methods.
“As a boy I was taken on some of my father’s tours of inspection. I have vivid recollections of thirty or forty mile drives in outlying parts of Connemara, away from railways, seated sideways on an Irish car in drenching rain, wrapped up in a tarpaulin…” Undoubtedly Wrench’s father was what we would now term an inspirational role model. The young Wrench’s travels were not merely geographical; he was also crossing boundaries of race, class, religion and politics. But whereas Wrench senior, for all his unflagging altruism, remained psychologically a member of the elite, ruling body, his son developed what we would now call ‘tolerance to ambiguity’. In the 1890s, tolerance to ambiguity was extremely unusual; it is a trait of the late 20th century and beyond. Yet, as Wrench noted wryly: “Perhaps my upbringing in Fermanagh has enabled me to see “the other fellow’s standpoint” so wholeheartedly that sometimes I find that I am almost taking sides against myself. It is an uncomfortable state of affairs!”
Any innovator needs someone whom they can trust implicitly to assure them that theirs’ is not a ‘crackpot idea’. For Evelyn Wrench, that person was Walter Hines Page. It is supremely fitting that Dr Page’s portrait hangs in the Revelstoke Room at Dartmouth House, so close to Wrench’s commemoration in the courtyard.
Wrench’s political tolerance was matched by a personal amiability which ensured that he remained on good terms even with those who shared neither his views nor indeed his tolerance. Rightly his 1966 Daily Telegraph obituary is entitled Sir Evelyn Wrench, man of friendship. Both parents proved vibrant role models. ‘My appetite for foreign travel was purposely developed by my mother, who believed in its educational value for growing minds.’ As a teenager, Wrench was allowed to plan, organise and control the finances of family trips abroad – all of which he did superbly. His burgeoning internationalism invited comparisons between home and abroad. ‘I had not seen many of our British slums in those days but I had seen enough to make me have an uncomfortable feeling that something was not right… The men and women in the poorer districts in many of our big cities were slovenly. In Germany and Holland I never saw a beggar or an untidy person. I wondered how it was done.’ Alongside Wrench’s developing social conscience, came another imperative. As a boy of 16, in 1899, at a Russian Orthodox ceremony, he received an unexpected spiritual awakening. ‘Wonderfully robed priests and their assistants in the dim distance moved methodically about. Men’s voices chanted in old Slavonic in a deep bass – of course I could not understand – but perhaps I did understand. The language they were using required no words, it was the eternal language of the soul. ‘As I stood there something in me was reaching out to unfathomable distances – I seemed to be stepping out of my body and the “me” was engulfed in a great stream of light. I was piercing through the veil to reality. ‘This ‘piercing of the veil of illusion’ is a familiar phenomenon to mystics. For the person experiencing it, quotidian existence can no longer be enough. Thereafter there will be a spiritual void. To have a sense of fulfilment, their life will need a higher purpose.’ It is unlikely that this was apparent to Wrench, who was probably far too young. In the following year, 1900, his life went in an altogether different direction. Coming across excellent postcards in Germany and noting that there was nothing comparable in Britain, he saw an undeveloped market niche. Beginning with just one employee, an Irish lad named Connolly, within three years he had built up a company with 100 staff selling 50,000,000 postcards per annum. He became what later generations would term a ‘whiz kid’, feted by the British and American press. Encomia soon appeared such as ‘British boy wrests fortune from simple idea.’ and ‘Wrench began on 250 dollars, now making 100,000 dollars a year.’ With glee, Wrench noted:
‘Requests for my autograph reached me from America. One correspondent addressed me “Mr Evelyn Wrench, souvenir postcard king, London.” The letter was delivered by the clever Post Office. I was flattered.’ Alas a too complex product range and negative cash-flow killed the postcard king’s business as surely as they have killed so many other flourishing enterprises. Stricken by failure, Wrench picked himself up and became one of Lord Northcliffe’s ‘bright young men’ in the newspaper business. From Lords Northcliffe and Rothermere, he received a superb, albeit gruelling grounding in big business. But it was merely a matter of time before ‘the eternal language of the Soul’ called to him once again. On May 6th 1910 Queen Victoria’s eldest son, King Edward VII died. Attending his funeral, Wrench was overcome by the occasion: “The music at the memorial service in Westminster Abbey was wonderful. During the service funeral marches by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, Purcell and Chopin were played. As I listened… I seemed to hear the pent-up emotion of all who had suffered down the ages. The organ notes, soaring up to the roof, caught up my soul. I was shaken to the foundations of my being… What was the meaning of life? Love was the key to the riddle – only the Eternal Verities counted. “The scales fell from my eyes. I stood outside my former self, the business organiser, the careerist. Party allegiance fell from me like a worn-out garment. I vowed I would devote my life to great causes – to the Empire, to my fellows. From that moment my fate was decided. My days with Northcliffe were numbered. “I saw in a flash the divine conception of man. That each human being should be a temple of the Holy Spirit; I knew that in each one of us there was a spark of the divine. That spark must be fanned into a flame. How could I have thought personal advancement was the goal for an immortal soul? In the presence of these immensities ambition left me. My ambition – in this atmosphere it withered like a plucked windflower.” As a 16-year-old boy in Russia, in 1898, Wrench had received his spiritual awakening with the ‘piercing of the veil of illusion’. Twelve years later, at the funeral of King Edward VII, he received the same affirmation that generations of mystics have divined. Love was – and always will be - the key to the riddle. Nothing else works. It is our only salvation. Wrench was a mystic. He was also a social entrepreneur. He didn’t believe in navel-gazing. He believed in practicalities. Within four months, with no promotion budget or any other revenue, he had founded The Overseas Club (now the Royal Over-Seas League), an organisation ‘to draw together in the bond of comradeship the peoples now living under the folds DIALOGUE 21
of the British flag.’ It was to be ‘strictly non-party, nonsectarian and open to any British subject.’ An article in the Overseas Daily Mail outlined the proposal. By early September, there were 160 members. ‘By the end of the year 12,000 people had applied for membership.’ Although Wrench was characteristically diffident about his work with the Royal Over-Seas League, in truth it was a huge success. One hundred years later, it is a thriving organisation commanding the utmost respect. Wrench visited America in 1906, 1908 and 1909. He was greatly moved by the warmth and depth of American hospitality. He realised that, when you are invited into peoples’ homes, you stop being a mere tourist and begin to engage with the culture. On his third visit: ‘In New York I met my friend F N Doubleday [of publishing fame] and his partner, Dr Walter Hines Page, with whom I talked over my American experiences… Our talk wandered to the cause of British-American discords. How could we achieve lasting friendship between our countries?’ In 1914 World War I began. Four years of dreadful carnage ensued. Wrench plunged into non-stop fundraising for the war effort. In February 1915 he met with his old friend Walter Hines Page, who had been appointed American Ambassador at the Court of St James’s.’ Page was one of ‘a small but growing band that considered British-American co-operation essential to civilisation.’ Wrench had never forgotten the Americans’ generosity to him and he had vowed that he would repay it in a tangible form. If Wrench could establish an Anglo-American centre in London, it would be some kind of repayment; it would also provide a bridge between two great democracies. Page was delighted with the idea for such an organisation and he replied, “Once this darned war is over and I quit being a neutral [the US entered World War I in 1917], I will help you to get a million members for your show in the USA. But while the war is on, my hands are tied.” Any innovator needs someone whom they can trust implicitly to assure them that theirs’ is not a ‘crackpot idea’. For Evelyn Wrench, that person was Walter Hines Page. It is supremely fitting that Dr Page’s portrait hangs in the Revelstoke Room at Dartmouth House, so close to Wrench’s commemoration in the courtyard. Both men gave their lives for the betterment of humanity. Their distinctive contributions will always be recognised by the EnglishSpeaking Union. Three years later, the ‘war to end all wars’ finally ended. The fields of France had run red with the blood of many nations. The appalled survivors were adamant that such a horror should never be allowed to happen again. After many years of estrangement, the war had brought America DIALOGUE 22
and Britain closer together. For Wrench, the greatest chance of ensuring continued world peace lay in ever-closer ties between the English speaking peoples. A true internationalist, nothing would have given him greater pleasure than the many countries which are part of the ESU family today. But for Evelyn Wrench, in 1918, the best thing that he could do with his life was to found a nonpolitical organisation which would foster friendship between America and the British Commonwealth. Such friendship would provide the best chance for world peace. All of Wrench’s life had led to this momentous decision. From his earliest days in Ireland, he had realised that people could speak the same language yet be estranged. He had never taken his privileged status for granted, but had continually asked himself how to put it to best use for the betterment of others. As a young boy in Russia, he had received a spiritual awakening. As the ‘postcard king’, he had experienced great worldly success, followed by terrible failure. He had climbed to near the apex of the Northcliffe empire before succumbing to disillusionment. In Westminster Abbey, at the funeral of King Edward VII, he had received his confirmation that service to others was his spiritual destiny, ranking immeasurably above commercial gain. With the Overseas League, he had founded an organisation of enduring worth to the Commonwealth, while gaining invaluable experience. Going one step further, creating a second organisation which would build a cultural bridge between nations, was Wrench’s masterstroke. A lesser man would have flinched with self-doubt. Wrench went forward. ‘It was in my diary of 12 June 1918, that I first referred to the new organisation as “The English-Speaking Union.”
The Hon. Gerard Noel’s latest book is The Journey of the English-Speaking Union. It will be published in March 2011. Copies will be available from Dartmouth House.
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.
Public Speaking Competition for Schools_24 Schools Mace_24 Education programmes_24 Events_25 ESU Iceland Launch_26
ESU PUBLIC SPEAKING COMPETITION FOR SCHOOLS
A BUSY TIME FOR ESU EDUCATION PROGRAMMES
The first rounds of the ESU Public Speaking Competition began in November and ran in the different ESU branch areas across England and Wales right up until midFebruary. Winning teams have been selected from each of the branches to compete in the regional finals. These have taken place in February and continue through March in each of the eight regions.
The Education department is in the midst of application season for the ESU’s scholarship programmes. These include the Secondary School Exchange, the Lindemann Trust Fellowship, American Memorial Chapel Travel Grant, and Walter Hines Page and Chautauqua scholarships. Interviews for these will be taking place during the spring and the recipients will be announced in the next edition of dialogue. More information on all of these scholarships can be found at www.esu.org/scholarships or email email@example.com
The winners will compete in the national final on 7 May at Goodenough College in London.
ESU SCHOOLS MACE The ESU Schools Mace started in November with first round heats, comprising groups of four or six schools, taking place across the country. One or two teams from each of the first round heats will progress to the regional finals, the first of which was the Eastern Regional Final which took place at Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertfordshire on 12 February. Subsequent regional finals have taken place in February and March. The regional finals run at a weekend with three second round debates in the morning and three regional final debates in the afternoon. There is a mix of long preparation debates, where the motions are released at least two weeks in advance and teams are given an opportunity to prepare their case, and short preparation debates, where students receive their motion on the day and are given one hour to prepare their case. At each of the six regional finals, one team is selected to represent the region in the England final. This takes place at Dartmouth House on 1 April.
In addition we are receiving entries for the Marsh Biography Award and the short-listing process with our volunteer readers will take place over the next few months. Working with the International department, we have also embarked on planning our summer seminars, due to take place in August. These encompass the Shakespeare and his Stage Cultural Seminar at Shakespeare’s Globe and the Shakespeare Study Course at Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
JAMES CHAMBERS, CHARLOTTE AND LEOPOLD On 23 February, the ESU welcomed author James Chambers to talk about his publication Charlotte and Leopold. Princess Charlotte emerged as the first “People’s Princess” and her romance with Leopold – Uncle of Queen Victoria and first King of Belgium – was ultimately doomed. All our Meet the Author events include the opportunity to buy a copy of the book and have it signed by the author.
MEYER ON THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP Monday 14 March saw Sir Christopher Meyer, former British Ambassador in the United States, give an evening lecture at Dartmouth House on ‘The Special Relationship: An Ambassador’s Perspective’. Sir Christopher recently published Getting Our Way, a collection of nine stories from “Britain’s diplomatic annals over the last 500 years”.
COMMONWEALTH DAY OBSERVANCE Commonwealth Day is the annual celebration of the Commonwealth of Nations and was marked by the traditional multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey on Monday 14 March for the four loyal commonwealth societies, organised by the Royal Commonwealth Society, with the theme of ‘Women as Agents of Change’. Members of the ESU joined the eminent guests of Her Majesty The Queen representing all of the countries of the Commonwealth, to celebrate the work of the Commonwealth and the successes of the last year.
MEET THE AUTHOR: FELIX DENNIS On Thursday 17 March, for the second in our brand new series of Meet the Author literary lectures, the ESU welcomed entrepreneur, publisher and poet Felix Dennis, who gave a lecture on his new poetry collection Tales from the Woods; 50 poems that give an “impassioned hymn of praise” to nature and the countryside.
MACHIYA, WITH THE LONDON REGION Pauline Chakmakjian, a trustee of the Japan Society of the UK and ESU London member, will present an insightful talk on traditional Japanese merchant townhouses, known also as machiya on 22 March. Pauline’s talk will cover a variety of different types of townhouse and provide an overview of the unique architectural features of these charming homes.
DARTMOUTH HOUSE LUNCH: JAMES MILTON Captain James Milton served as an Army Officer between 1998 and 2007, including three tours in Iraq as an Intelligence Officer and Arabic interpreter. James will give a Dartmouth House Lunch talk on Wednesday 30 March, focusing on ‘Lessons to be Learned from the AngloAmerican Intervention in Iraq’.
JOIN US TO LAUNCH THE NEWEST ESU IN ICELAND
Members and their guests are invited to help us launch ESU Iceland from 9 - 12 June by taking part in the formal launch ceremony, functions and stimulating panel discussions on the ESU and Iceland. The programme will include the following: Thursday 9 June: Arrival and embassy reception Friday 10: ESU Iceland launch, Nordic House, University of Iceland and round table discussions Saturday 11: Golden Circle tour, including lunch and dinner Sunday 12: Departure - transport to airport including a stop at the Blue Lagoon
Those who wish to arrive early or stay late can book extra tours through the dedicated tour company that we have secured. DIALOGUE 26
For details and information on how to book and pay for your place, please visit www.yourhost.is/esu2011/registration.html
If you would like a copy of the registration form to be posted to you instead, please contact Annette Fisher at Dartmouth House. Please be aware that this event is allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, and places will fill up fast! We look forward to seeing many of you in the land of the midnight sun. Eliza Reid, Chairman, Steering Committee, ESU Iceland
PROGRAMMES – Inside News and events from the programmes that the ESU runs from Dartmouth House.
Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation_28
Speech and debate in Turkey_33
Salley Vickers’ literary lecture_28
Changing lives in Mauritius_34
Jewellery in the Burlington Arcade_29
At Home with Malta_35
English in Action_29 Parliamentary Exchanges_30 Inspiring students to aim higher_32
Can you help our study programmes?_36 Debate support for newest ESU_38 Dartmouth House lunch series_40 From the Archives_40
LETTERS TO ANYONE AND EVERYONE WINS MARSH AWARD On 20 January, the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation was presented to Martin Cleaver for his translation of Letters to Anyone and Everyone. Author and children’s literature commentator, Chris Powling, presented the award at a ceremony hosted at Dartmouth House. The ESU has had a connection with the Marsh Christian Trust for many years starting with the administration for the Marsh Biography Award, and since 2009, the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation. Awarded biennially since 1996, it was founded to highlight the exciting books made accessible to young English-speakers in the UK through literary translation. The winner is the translator of an original work in a foreign language.
The ESU was delighted that Martin was able to travel from Amsterdam, with his wife Marjin, to collect his award and cheque for £2,000. He said “I am honoured to receive the Marsh Award and delighted at this recognition. It has always been my dream that English-speaking children and adults should be able to enjoy literature and films from other cultures and language areas. Subtitling and literature in translation has a major role to play in this.”
This year the judges were previous winner Sarah Ardizzone, former headmaster and ESU Education Committee member Colin Niven, children’s book consultant, Wendy Cooling and critic and co-founder of Seven Stories, Britain’s gallery and archive that celebrates the wonderful world of children’s books, Elizabeth Hammill. Letters from Anyone and Everyone by Toon Tellegen was translated from Dutch by Martin Cleaver and illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg (Boxer Books Ltd, 2009).
The next award will be awarded in January 2013 with entries opening in July 2012. For more information see www.esu.org/marshchildrens or email firstname.lastname@example.org The ESU would like to thank Aleksandra Marsh and all at the Marsh Christian Trust for their support and involvement in the award.
APHRODITE’S CHAT For the first in the ESU’s brand new “Meet the Author” evening literary lectures, we were delighted to welcome six-time author, Salley Vickers, to Dartmouth House on 10 February to talk about her newest publication Aphrodite’s Hat. A collection of short stories that use love and emotion as a common theme and which delve into the ‘shrouded recesses of the human heart’, it has received great reviews and proved a very popular Valentine’s gift. Set in locations such as Greece, Venice and Rome, Aphrodite’s Hat has been described as a ‘deceptively wild, seamless and well-crafted collection’. DIALOGUE 28
Salley talked about the creative process involved in producing her 17 short stories, literary influences such as E M Forster and James Joyce, as well as her love of the ancient world and classical works of art, all of which have contributed to the creation of the characters that appear in Aphrodite’s Hat and the emotional experiences they endure. For more information on the full range of events, see www.esu.org/events
JEWELLERY IN THE BURLINGTON ARCADE ESU members and guests were treated to a talk about the antics and intrigues of Burlington Arcade on Piccadilly. The speaker was Robert Ogden, of the famous and delightful Richard Ogden jewellery shop in the arcade.
Robert gave a factual yet entertaining talk not only on the history of the arcade, but also an insightful glimpse into the restrictions, obligations and rituals placed on the men and women with regard to jewellery in Victorian England. The talk also covered the materials, colour codes and occasions for which a variety of types of jewellery would be designed and worn. We hope that this talk inspired those who attended to take a charming stroll through the arcade, but remember; no whistling, singing or running!
Those who are interested in furthering their knowledge of antique jewellery may enjoy the opportunity to attend a specialist evening at 28 Burlington Arcade. There you will be able to look at genuine pieces, and explore the subtle differences between the good, the bad and the disastrous. Please contact Robert. email@example.com 020 7493 9136
ENGLISH IN ACTION WELL INTO ITS 20TH SEASON The English in Action spring term is now well under way, with our latest recruit of new students and volunteers doubling our numbers from last year. In our 20th year, we now have students from far flung countries such as Thailand, Egypt, Japan and Georgia. In exchange for our volunteer tutors helping them to improve their English conversational ability and confidence in communication, they have, in turn, taught their tutors all about their fascinating home countries and cultures.
The summer term will begin in the week commencing Monday 2 May. We are always happy to hear from any members who would be interested in volunteering, either during the daytime on weekdays at Dartmouth House, or in the evenings after work hours at a more convenient location. Without the generosity of our volunteer tutors donating an hour each week, this programme would not be possible.
Please get in touch with Jen Luk, 020 7529 1590, firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or come to our English in Action coffee morning on Wednesday 9 March to find out more.
PARLIAMENTARY EXCHANGE PROGRAMME INTERNSHIPS The ESU’s parliamentary exchange programme is one of the most competitive and prestigious internships in politics. Each year hopeful applicants spend hours crafting supporting statements and polishing CVs to get the chance to intern in a Congressional Office in the US or the Assembleé Nationale in Paris. This year, five young people have been selected for the US internship and one for Paris. They will have the pleasure (and pressure) of working in the melting pot of politics. In the past, interns have helped to draft legislation, met then presidential candidate Barak Obama and managed to eat three dinners a day provided by lobbyists who hoped they had the ear of a congressman. They will enjoy the glamorous world of envelope stuffing and hamming up a British accent to please the constituents who ask for tours around Washington! The five leave for Washington in the summer almost as soon as the university term ends, and spend six to eight weeks in the USA. ESU Washington has supported the programme from its beginnings in the 1970s and will be on hand to make introductions, invite them to parties and make sure they get the most out of it.
Below is a little bit about each of the US interns, in their own words. Pravesh Lallah, pictured above, is the intern destined for Paris.
Alex Forzani Second Year History Christ’s College Cambridge The ESU Capitol Hill Internship equips one with an intimate knowledge of the fast-paced world that is US political life. By going on this programme, I hope to be immersed in a completely different political culture and to be able to understand the subtleties and nuances of American politics and compare them with our own. I do realise that such a lifestyle is not always glamorous. Indeed, listening to constituents telephone calls or sorting through a congressman’s mail may not be everyone’s idea of excitement, but, in truth, this work is at the heart of what politics is all about. Working as a congressional intern and performing these tasks would allow me to see how American politicians involve people and make them concerned about issues and decisions that matter to them. For many Americans, history is at the heart of their politics. At Cambridge, I am studying American history and am hoping to write my dissertation next year on the relationship between in US and the EU during the Cold War. Afterwards, I intend to study for a PhD at an American university, either Harvard or Yale. This opportunity to look at power close up, will not only prove an enriching and inspirational experience, but will also give an added layer of depth to my historical studies. I am, therefore, extremely grateful to everyone at the ESU who has made this experience possible.
Elena Georgantzi Third Year European Social and Political Studies University College London My study of politics and international relations has been the driving force behind my choice of career. I follow US politics in particular with a lot of interest, as policy formulated in Washington DC continues to have significant impact all over the world. The ESU’s parliamentary exchange programme is therefore an unrivalled opportunity for me to see how the US political system operates in practice and I hope that my involvement in this field will allow me to assess the merits of a career in public policy. I am also looking forward to living and working in the US in order to get to know the country and its people much better as I am considering pursuing my postgraduate studies there.
James E. Goodman Third Year Law University of Hertfordshire I believe that gaining a wider understanding of the US political system and appreciating its influence internationally can further one’s knowledge of global political issues whilst having the opportunity to engage with international law. Furthermore, with the only given constant in politics being change, this placement will broaden my knowledge of international relations. I also hope to develop an understanding of how politics will have a bearing on the certainty of international commerce.
This programme has the potential to expose me to the highest echelons of political and legal dialogue and will allow me to develop both personally and professionally, whilst simultaneously giving me the opportunity to hone my communication and interpersonal skills. Moreover, I have a thirst for developing my political knowledge and believe that this placement will afford me with a golden opportunity to broaden my career possibilities, whilst keeping me on the cusp of an ever-evolving global legal and economic landscape. Sam Richards Second year PPE University of Durham As a Politics, Philosophy and Economics student, the opportunity to work in Washington DC seemed too good to be true. I’ve been fascinated by US politics since I watched the West Wing aged 13! The polarisation in US politics is incredibly exciting; whilst in Britain we have three parties scrambling for the fabled centreground, in America the electorate is confronted by two diametricallyopposed philosophies of the role of government. In my degree I have studied various political systems and ideologies, and whilst I have local experience of campaigning in the UK, I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to experience federal government in the US. The US is the prime driver of global change, and to experience working at the heart of its government is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I intend to work in policy formulation after university, and I believe that this programme will give me an invaluable insight into the mechanics of creating policy, balancing certain interests and finally, the actual process of seeing a policy through from consultation to implementation.
Guy Miscampbell Second Year Economics University of Durham I’m Guy Miscampbell, a student of Economics and Politics at Durham University. I’m taking part in the Capitol Hill programme to try and gain a really in-depth knowledge of the US political system outside of simply reading facts in a textbook. I’m hoping that being an intern and being able to see the day-to-day running of the office of an elected official will bring me a concrete understanding of how politics in the US operates. I’m also hoping it will help me make the decision as to whether or not I want to work in the US in the future, and provide me with at least some idea as to how and where to get involved! It’s the level of media-involvement, spin, and strategy in US politics that really separates it for me and it’s the chance to see even a small aspect of this in action which makes this such a fantastic opportunity for me!
We wish them all the best of luck.
INSPIRING STUDENTS TO AIM HIGHER
Instilling in students a positive and aspirational attitude towards higher education was the goal of a recent debating project undertaken by ESU Speech and Debate and the government-sponsored programme, Aimhigher. Ten schools from the English southwest peninsula region were selected to take part in the term-long debating and speaking training project because the schools suffered from some of the lowest rates of transition to higher education in the country. Studies have shown that one of the reasons that students from such backgrounds fail to make it to university in larger numbers is that they are not exposed to sufficient information about higher education to enable them to gain the confidence and aspiration to achieve to the best of their abilities. By exposing pupils at these schools to inspirational university students, who provided mentoring in the research and speaking skills required for debating, the project helped to inspire them to form a positive attitude towards debating, and in turn towards education.
The ESU’s involvement started with training the Aimhigher staff members who would be entering the schools and working with pupils on a weekly basis over several months to teach them the basics of debating. Aimhigher is a UK government initiative to ensure that all young people are aware of the benefits that higher education can bring. These several months of training culminated in a competition day held at Plymouth University on 8 December 2010. ESU staff and university mentors began the competition day by training judges from the communities where the participating schools are based. The pupils then competed in two debates – arguing for and against the propositions that ‘CCTV is a threat to our freedom’ and that ‘animal experimentation cannot be justified’. The students excelled – displaying rigorous research skills, and delivering their arguments with poise and flair. These debates took place under the guidance of ESU debating mentors, whose task was to enthuse the students to form a positive attitude towards debating and education.
Prizes were awarded to the three top teams: St Cuthbert Mayne, Ilfracombe and Penryn. Individual prizes were also given out for such distinctions as Best Point of Information. St Cuthbert Mayne also received a bursary and travel to attend Debate Academy, the ESU’s summer debate camp at Oakham School in July. Cherry Hingston, Aimhigher’s Peninsula Project Officer said “the ESU’s involvement in this project was invaluable” and that the ESU’s “friendly, professional and adaptable approach” was well tailored to the needs of the students involved. “The ESU support was more than expected and gratefully received,” she said. “The ESU provided inspiring contributions for the students … we are extremely pleased to be offering a group of students the chance to attend the ESU Debate Academy.” In return, the Speech and Debate team would like to thank the Peninsula Project for the chance to get involved.
SPEECH AND DEBATE IN TURKEY
Between 23 January and 1 February, ESU Mentors John McKee (University of Glasgow) and David Watson (Oxford University) and Speech and Debate’s Kallina Basli visited Istanbul.
The delegation is part of the ESU’s long-running international teaching tours, which run debating and public speaking workshops across the ESU’s international network and beyond to spread our work and give young people all over the world access to our exceptional communication training. This delegation also prepared a team for the first ever Eurasian Schools Debating Championships. For the first part of the tour, the delegation visited Darüssafaka High School, the FMV High School, and Robert College, with over 200 students taking part in Discover Your Voice workshops. All the students took quickly to the idea of debate and engaged on some pretty heated topics ranging from ‘This House would ban mobile phones at school’ to discussing America’s relationship with the Middle East. The mentors also ran a public speaking
workshop for the students who will be taking part in the national public speaking competition in Turkey later this year, the winner of which will represent Turkey at the ESU International Public Speaking Competition finals in May. For the second phase of the tour, the ESU delegation joined the Chief Adjudicators’ Panel of the Eurasian Schools Debating Championships, organised by Robert College. The competition attracted more than 150 students from all over the world. Over 200 debates took place over the five days of the competition, and Singapore became the first Eurasian Schools Debating Champions after a great performance in the grand final.
HOW THE ESU CHANGED MY LIFE After the call for stories from alumni of how the ESU has changed their lives, we received so many worthy stories we decided to make it a regular feature. Here is another story, this time from Mauritius. ‘From a timid, quiet, downtrodden boy with wobbling legs to an extrovert with lion-like courage and incontrovertible will power – now that is what is called DRASTIC change.
I, for one, participated in the ESU Public Speaking Competition 2010 and reached the finals, learning more and more as I progressed from the heats to the semi-finals and onwards. When I was first practicing my speech, my eyes would ceaselessly dart from left to right, seeking for some kind of positive sign from my peers and teachers. But, by the time I reached the finals, this consideration reared to the background (though it was important, I was in a competition after all!). My principle became that my most important consideration should be that I am imparting something to them and it is prim[ary] that my point is made. And the subsequent creativity in speech and humorous references acted as supportive bases to this principle. Practising and practising, learning from errors, listening to the constructive criticism of my friends, of my teachers and striving, despite so many stumbling blocks, helped me to at least understand, if not inculcate, the qualities of humility, modesty, respect and punctuality. Without humility and modesty, you’ll quickly be the next big head of the planet. Without punctuality you might even brush near a winning interview for your dream job. And without respect for your teachers, our guides, it’s a goodbye to your exquisite learning experience. The confidence that you achieve in this journey is, after all, worth your hard work.
The confidence that you achieve in this journey is, after all, worth your hard work.
The above statement is indeed quite extreme but it is nevertheless enough to give an image of what the EnglishSpeaking Union can do, and has done, to the personal development of many people, me included. What is the aim of the ESU anyway? “Creating global understanding through English” was the organisation’s motto. Let’s deepen our understanding of the motto: the aim is global understanding, through the medium of the English language. As such, we see that the ESU’s aim is not only to promote English - which is after all the most spoken language around the world, our lingua franca - but also to spin the thread of communication in our global village. The ESU alone has more than 50 branches worldwide and the essence of its mission is as follows: “to spread the message of international understanding and friendship”.
But what the ESU has done in Mauritius, as per my experience, is reach the leaders of tomorrow, our youth. Ever since the establishment of ESU Mauritius in 1993, the latter has been active in schools, organizing public speaking competitions, spelling competitions, debates, talks and teacher training. So here, in Mauritius, the ESU is ‘creating global understanding’ to whom? Our fledgling teenagers who are on the threshold of adult life! The ESU is giving a helping hand to pull out the emerging youth from his wilted shelter of innocence, his cocoon of ignorance. These competitions are probably the best doorways to real life, a life where there are different people with different views and understandings, a life where success and defeat should be accepted with the same enthusiasm, a life which demands that we construct our personality. And such a youth was me. DIALOGUE 34
Hence, the ESU is here to bring change. And the recipient of that change - a change for the better- does not have to be solely me; it could be you. Alvin Mahadeo BABBEA, Mahatma Gandhi Institute Secondary School, Moka, Mauritius Finalist, ESU International Public Speaking Competition 2010
INTERNATIONAL AT HOME WITH HE JOSEPH ZAMMIT TABONA
High Commissioner Zammit Tabona was invited as the Guest of Honour at the English-Speaking Union’s February International at Home coffee morning. This series is held three times a year and invites an ambassador to talk to the group about his role representing his country, in this case, Malta. Held at Dartmouth House, the International Headquarters of the ESU in London, and well attended by members of the diplomatic community and ESU members, the coffee morning was a huge success. Susan Bull, chairman of the promotions committee introduced ESU Malta as the latest branch to open worldwide and Annette Fisher, Head of International, highlighted ESU’s international work and its presence in so many countries around the world.
High Commissioner Tabona spoke about the changing role of English in Malta over the past years; language education in his home country; as well as the growth of the ESU in Malta since its establishment. He highlighted the various initiatives which he believed “will act as a catalyst for raising standards of spoken and written English in Malta, fulfilling the mandate of ESU Malta, the commitment of the government of Malta as well as the wish of the Maltese from every walk of life”. We look forward to the next international at home coffee morning in June. Nerissa Sultana, Political Department, Malta High Commission, London
CAN YOU HELP SUPPORT AN ESU SUMMER SEMINAR?
The ESU runs three separate summer seminars during August giving teachers of English, theatre and drama, and young professionals from across the world an opportunity to enjoy learning and build their confidence to communicate their ideas to others whether in the boardroom or the classroom.
Shakespeare Study Course
Globe Cultural Seminar
The Shakespeare Study Course is held in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. The programme gives participants the opportunity to immerse themselves in a week of plays, lectures, discussions and workshops devised and delivered by Shakespearean experts in Stratford, drawing on the unique resources at the Trust to facilitate research and studies. The course is supported by classes with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company, including actors and voice coaches, “bringing Shakespeare as text and Shakespeare as theatre into dialogue”. Delegates for this course are teachers and post-graduate students from across England and Wales.
The Globe Cultural Seminar for Teachers: Shakespeare and His Stage, held in collaboration with Shakespeare’s Globe. This one-week course provides up to 20 teachers from around the world 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. Delegates enjoy an evening at Dartmouth House where they will be joined by the participants from the International Relations Conference.
“It was an amazing week and truly a once-in a-lifetime experience... I have already begun to use the knowledge, experience and contacts which I have developed through and since the course. I have had a valuable insight into the world of Shakespeare in performance. This [i] s hugely important as ... in a classroom the excitement of the text can often be lost as the students battle to comprehend the language... I have also developed contacts with a truly wonderful group of teachers... we have already started to support each other with ideas and continued inspiration... It is genuinely difficult to express how inspiring and wonderful the course was. It far exceeded all of my expectations” Phillip East, English Teacher, Crown Hills Community College, Leicester. Supported by the ESU Cambridge Welland Valley Branch. Delegate in 2009. DIALOGUE 36
“Being in the magnificent place where Shakespeare lived and created really enhanced my ... understanding of his work. The opportunity of meeting the artists and practitioners ... of [Shakespeare’s] Globe gave me a sense of what Shakespeare’s drama in truth is. The union of so many delegates from across the world has been a fascinating experience in terms of developing our communication skills and information exchange.” Oxana Creanga, Lecturer, Moldova State University, Moldova. Delegate in 2010.
International Relations Conference
The International Relations 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 ‘In the Current Climate...’ and its aim is to give delegates the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the UK, and broaden their outlook on world issues and current affairs. The conference also offers a unique opportunity to make individual contacts from various fields, cultures and backgrounds. Delegates of the IRC are young professionals working in law, journalism, politics, business and the third sector. “The [Conference] gave me an intellectual stimulus that I hadn’t had in a long time, despite working in a quite influential national newspaper… The conference was very interesting, with exciting topics and speakers, whom we felt honoured to be listening to. Then, there was the ‘Babel factor’: we were taking part in a venue with almost 30 nationalities.” Katya Delimbeuf, Expresso Newspaper, Portugal. Delegate in 2010.
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. With the support of the ESU members and the ESU branches, we can continue to provide these invaluable opportunities for people across the world to realise their potential. In particular, we would like to encourage branches in England and Wales to pass on the information to any teachers in their local area who would be interested in taking part in the Shakespeare Study Course in Stratford-Upon-Avon. If you would like to support any of the summer 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 are benefitting from your generosity. Contact Annette Fisher for more information, 020 7529 1565 or email@example.com
INTERNATIONAL DELEGATION SUPPORTS NEW ESU IN MALTA Richard Whale Director of Education ESU Malta
In December 2010, Annette Fisher, Head of International, and Eamon Chawke, Schools Programmes Officer, travelled to Valetta to support the teaching and development programme of ESU Malta. This included workshops with primary, secondary and university students and opportunities to consult with the committee. Following the official launch of ESU Malta in May 2010, I was keen to get debating and public speaking programmes started in Maltese schools in the autumn. Together with Louise Ghirlando, the co-ordinator of the recentlyestablished University of Malta Debating Society, we established a debating mentorship programme for sixth form students. Within this programme, university students are coaching sixth formers from six schools, in the art, skills and rules of debating. The culmination of this programme will be a competition, to be held in March. ESU Malta will also be sending its first entrant to the International Public Speaking Competition this year, following the selection of a winner from our first inter-schools programme and competition.
In order to make these first programmes as successful as possible, I approached Annette at Dartmouth House, to see if it would be possible for representatives from the Speech and Debate team to come out to Malta and hold some training sessions here. The response was most positive and |it was arranged for Annette and Eamon to spend three days here in early December. I put together an intensive programme of training, to include workshops for the University Debating Society and mentorship programme, a workshop on public speaking for secondary school teachers of English, and a workshop for entrants into our national public speaking competition. These sessions proved to be extremely useful for all concerned. The workshops at the University provided some excellent ideas, tips and advice regarding the structure and techniques of debating â€“ helping to build some crucial foundations for the fostering of a stronger culture of debating on the campus. Teachers at the public speaking workshop were given some training on how to encourage speech and debate in the classroom, and students attending the public speaking
competition workshop were given plenty of advice for the preparation and delivery of their speeches. The visit helped not only with this practical aspect of training - with skillbuilding for teachers and students; it also helped to raise the profile of ESU Malta – showing that we have a significant part to play in the educational system, through the development of effective communication skills. Annette and Eamon also travelled over to Gozo during their visit, to assist our branch there, by providing some similar training sessions for Gozitan teachers and pupils. I know that my colleagues from Gozo branch were so pleased to have the opportunity to have this support from Dartmouth House. It is our hope and intention to be able to organise more training sessions again very soon! Lou Ghirlando, Head of Debating Society University of Malta The Debating Society at the University of Malta was set up to introduce students from across the different faculties to structured parliamentary-style debating, and to train them in the necessary skills for such practice. The concept of structured debating is new to the students and, indeed, one of the remits of the society is to increase the debating culture across the campus. When the EnglishSpeaking Union offered the possibility of sending over Eamon and Annette it was an important opportunity for us. Through them we hoped to gain direct access to a reference point of experience. They offered two workshops, the one for students attending the debating society tutorials, and another for two students who have this year volunteered to mentor sixth form students for a debating competition to be organised by the ESU Malta. The workshops took the shape of outlining the key principles that debaters need to keep in mind when delivering their speeches as part of their team. This, of course, in view of what judges will be looking out for! And therefore it was critical for us to hear from Eamon, who has participated in and judged debates in the UK and at world-class level, the criteria that lead to winning or losing a debate. One of the most opportune moments for us in these workshops was the experience of students debating a motion during the workshop itself with Eamon and Annette serving as judges. They were able to show us how judges operate, as well as give us concrete individual feedback on our style and technique. It was also comforting affirmation for us, or at least I can say for myself, to see that even though we are starting from scratch, we have at least succeeded in so far understanding the basic principles and paving the first path.
John Barnes, Committee member ESU Malta-Gozo The ESU Malta-Gozo branch is one of the youngest in the ESU, having been inaugurated in late May 2010 and is still seeking to establish its role with the local community, particularly in the field of education. The Girls’ Secondary School in the Gozo College contacted the branch in November for assistance with a lunchtime debating club which had been formed at the request of some of the students. The 6th form centre of the College had also expressed interest in learning more about what the ESU had to offer. During the visit of Annette and Eamon to the Maltese Islands, Gozo branch was able to arrange for them to come to Gozo to present two sessions: first to the members of the lunchtime club, and, secondly, to make a more general presentation to some students in the Sixth Form College. Annette and Eamon capitalised on the enthusiasm, despite the lack of debating experience, of the club members by improvising active participation so effectively as to enable them to present two short debates to end the one hour session. The ideas communicated and the instruction material provided to the two teachers concerned with the club, have paid great dividends – members are holding informed debates at which branch members continue to assist, and hope to go public in April 2011. Their presentation in the second session was, necessarily, more generally concerned with the function of the ESU and what it can offer but the enthusiasm generated during this session has resulted in the first steps towards forming a debating society in the Sixth Form College. The mentors’ skills and enthusiasm have already had a very positive effect in Gozo and we would welcome their further participation to cement the real progress already made.
DARTMOUTH HOUSE LUNCHES After the politically-themed Dartmouth House lunches of spring 2010, we are back for a second season. This year, the series kicked off with a lunch hosted by Nicola Horlick (on 24 February, see next issue for a full report), army captain James Milton (30 March) and legendary cricket pundit Christopher Martin-Jenkins (19 May)
on a range of topics in their specialist areas. After a short talk on the chosen subject, guests are invited to ask questions and share opinions. The series is designed to fit into a business lunch, starting at 12.30 pm. The lunches are £40 for ESU members and £50 for non-members.
ESU alumni benefit from a discount on the full price. Ideal for client entertaining, enjoy a superb two-course lunch with wine at our Mayfair home, noted for its magnificent interior with grand marble fireplaces and Louis XIV walnut panelling, whilst introducing your guest to our eminent speakers.
FROM THE ARCHIVES POCAHONTAS (c. 1595 – 21 MARCH, 1617) Over the years the ESU has been involved in many projects, though none as bizarre as the exhumation of the remains of Pocahontas. Committee minutes in 1923 reported Captain E P Gaston as outlining a scheme for the recovery of Princess Pocahontas’ bones from the graveyard of St George’s, Gravesend “and very kindly offered the first refusal of promoting the investigation to the English-Speaking Union”. The thinking behind this was that the publicity value would be beneficial. The Home Office gave permission provided the ESU was involved and that local feeling and those of Pocahontas’ descendants were taken into consideration. The matter was pursued in liaison with the ESU-US, in the hope that an organisation like the American Society of Colonial
Dames would fund the operation. In the event, Captain Gaston agreed to fund the entire operation and a committee was established which included Evelyn Wrench. Ten years later, the January 1933 edition of Landmark ran a short article on Pocahontas. ‘Daughter of an Indian Chief from Virginia, she married a young British colonist from Norfolk, John Rolfe, and she worked for the Colonial Governor of Virginia. There is a memorial to her in her husband’s village church at Heacham in Norfolk, which prompted the search for the grave. In 1925 Walter Hines Page unveiled two windows to her memory in the Parish Church in Gravesend where she died – the gift of the American Society of Colonial Dames.
It is generally assumed that Pocahontas died on board ship when returning to Virginia with her husband. Her body was taken ashore at Gravesend where it is thought she was originally buried in St George’s Church which houses a bronze statue of her, though there is some evidence that her remains were transferred by barge up the Thames to the Church of St John the Evangelist in Waterloo Road. Around 1872, a casket containing the body was exhibited in the neighbourhood and was reportedly placed in the crypt. A newspaper cutting in January 18th 1935 suggests that she died in lodgings in Waterloo Road and even described the coffin and shroud. Church records do not record any of this and no other evidence can be found as to the whereabouts of her remains.’ Needless to say, ESU records fizzle out at this point and we are no nearer getting to the end of the mystery...
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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An important date for your diary!
I am delighted to say that, in spite of all the recent turmoil within the ESU, the branches have been calmly proceeding with all the work they do on behalf of the organisation, as can be seen in the following reports. I do hope as many of you as possible will attend the EGM on 14 April.
The 2011 Branches’ Conference will be held from Friday 14 – Sunday 16 October at the delightful Cheltenham Park Hotel, a traditional Georgian manor house, located only two miles from the centre of the beautiful spa town of Cheltenham.
We hope that the problems with the database will be resolved by the installation of a new system which should be up and running by June. A training day for branch secretaries has been scheduled for 6 May. Do make a date in your diary for the Branches’ Conference which will be held at the beautiful Cheltenham Park Hotel from 14 – 16 October. It should be the most enjoyable and informative occasion – more details will be sent very soon. May I wish you my very best wishes for the coming year and do remember that I am always here if you would like to contact me about anything. Meriel Talbot Director of Branches and Membership
Set in outstanding gardens with a small lake, the hotel offers a wonderful mix of old with new so you can enjoy the best of facilities and service in a stunning country setting. There is a large car park. Conference events will take place inside the hotel and there will be several optional excursions on the Saturday afternoon. The opening dinner will offer a musical entertainment and the Gala dinner a guest speaker. For more details contact Meriel Talbot at Dartmouth House 020 7529 1567 firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Briars It was with great sadness that I learnt of the death of my predecessor Keith Briars just before Christmas. Although the news was half-expected, it still came as a shock – I am sure that all our sympathy goes to his widow, Janet. Keith passed away at home, surrounded by his family.
Keith always offered me great support and was particularly helpful in my attempts to get the Nottingham and Derby Public Speaking Competition under way. He put together and chaired a distinguished judging panel on two occasions and mentored students from the region. He was also chair of the working party seeking to launch a new Nottingham and Derby branch. Keith had a passion for Shakespeare and acted with note for the Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company. It therefore seemed appropriate that we rename the Outstanding Personality Prize at this year’s Nottingham and Derby Public Speaking branch final the Keith Briars Prize. The first winner was Serafina Giacobbe of Landau Forte College. Ann Carley, chairman of the Cambridge Welland Valley branch, presented Serafina with a copy of Coffee with Shakespeare by long-time ESU friend Professor Stanley Wells. I have learnt from Janet that the Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company will again perform at the famous open air Minack Theatre in Cornwall this year. Their production of Much Ado About Nothing will run in mid August. The company is dedicating the whole week to Keith and, as Janet says, “he would have been very proud – as he was the one who first persuaded the Society to go there over 20 years ago”. Stephen Roberts Regional Officer, East and Midlands
EAST REGION Cambridge Welland Valley Our well-attended annual Thanksgiving dinner was held at the Hunting Lodge Hotel, Cottingham on 26 November 2010. Members and their guests enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, after which Caroline Aston delivered a sparkling talk entitled ‘Dukes, Dames and Dollars’. Caroline is a nationallyacclaimed public speaker and broadcaster, and rewarded her audience with a most entertaining and lively insight into life in Edwardian high society. Her talk was very informative, full of humour and anecdotes describing how rich American society ladies married into the British aristocracy bringing their wealth, style and colour in exchange for an English title. Caroline has promised to return to us sometime in the future to talk on one of her other topics, an offer not to be refused!
Colchester and Northeast Essex The event was followed by an informal consultation of those members present about the future of the ESU by branch chair, Brian Cooke, who outlined matters of concern.
Poetry competition winners with Colchester branch chairman
The Gilberd School public speaking team
The Thanksgiving dinner with speaker Caroline Aston, Leo Hamilton-Hoole and branch chair Ann Carley
Prizes for the winners of a poetry writing competition, sponsored by the branch, were awarded to international students at Colchester English Study Centre during the evening of Wednesday, 26 January. The overall winner, Chiara Marzaduri, was presented with a book token for £20 and Ya-Min Chuang received a mini-dictionary for the best submission at her level. Entrants wrote in English and could choose either the topic of winter or Colchester. The competition was judged by international writer and broadcaster Hiroko Yamamoto, who lives in the town. Several students read their poems aloud to an audience including local ESU supporters at the Study Centre before all parties talked together over refreshments.
The following evening saw five teams participate in the Colchester heat of the Schools Public Speaking Competition, held at the University of Essex. Organised by local committee member, Her Honour Judge Karen Walden-Smith, the event produced performances of remarkable accomplishment and maturity, as acknowledged by branch president, Professor James Raven, who was one of the judges for the evening. The Gilberd School, Colchester, won by the narrowest margin of consideration, with the Boswells School, Chelmsford, runners-up. The Gilberd team comprised complementary chair and questioner, Alexandra Zahariadi and Binuri Rupasinghe, with speaker Amy Barr, who was feisty in her argument against faith schools. Esther Awodipe, Jack Swan and Alexandra Ferguson, as chair, speaker and questioner respectively, made up the Boswells team, with Jack’s detailed talk supporting euthanasia. An extra commendation was given to Etain Stokes of St John Payne Catholic Comprehensive School, Chelmsford, who delivered a spirited speech in favour of performance-related pay. Prizes to the seven named competitors were presented by local solicitor, Julie Brice, alongside fellow judge, Brian Cooke.
BRANCHES Epping Forest visitors with tours, concerts, study days and open days with all sorts of schemes for raising money and interest in the project. After 15 years of hard work there are over 50 volunteers, over a thousand friends, a roof on most of the house, albeit a temporary one, events of all kinds and visitors of every sort from school children and tourists to the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Gloucester. Her own and other pictures of the changes during the years kept us amused and amazed at what can be achieved even in these days by dedicated, determined people working in a group. Open day at Copped Hall
On 4 December snow- and icecovered Essex – so a select group of the branch bravely set out, shortly after dawn, for a long-awaited visit to Southend. The trip had three aims: Christmas shopping, lunch and then to the theatre to see a new play featuring Inspector Morse. The latter, of the murder mystery genre, was closer to murder bafflement but enjoyable nonetheless. The outing was a great success enhanced by radiant sunshine throughout our day on the east coast. After having to cancel December’s meeting because of the heavy snow, the branch needed a very local speaker for January and so their chair, Sylvia Keith, tried out on them her new lecture on ‘The Restoration of Copped Hall During the Last 15 Years’. We had already heard the story of the long and fascinating history of the estate, from its early life as a hunting lodge for the medieval kings, a retreat centre owned by Waltham Abbey, a favourite forest haunt of the Tudors and Stuarts and the building of a smart new Georgian residence by DIALOGUE 44
wealthy lawyers from 1758 until its destruction during the First World War and the subsequent asset stripping and neglect of the whole property. In 1995, after much negotiation and attempts at redevelopment, a private local group finally bought the ruined house and 25 acres of land around it and set up a charitable trust with three objects - to prevent any further loss of the assets, to restore the house to its Georgian splendour and to use the restoration as an educational benefit to the local community. Keith was one of the early volunteers and showed pictures of the state of the house after over 80 years of neglect and vandalism, with no roof, hardly any floors, fireplaces hanging up on empty brick walls and ivy and trees growing out of moss-soaked floors. She showed how the volunteers, working on Sunday mornings, had gradually cleared the debris and begun the rebuilding as well as clearing the gardens, replanting the walled garden and the lawns and entertaining many
If your branch would like to see what is at Copped Hall in Epping Forest, why not ring Sylvia on 01992 815840 and come on a very unusual outing? Hertfordshire We began the autumn programme with a coffee morning to discuss ‘Project Evelyn’ which was a proposed merger of the ESU with The Royal Commonwealth Society; two organisations with similar cultural and charitable aims. At the AGM of the East region, held at Dartmouth House on October 13th, the Director General, Mike Lake, addressed us and we were told that the plans were to be modified. A final decision would be taken after discussion at the ESU AGM on 18 November. At the coffee morning, as the decision had been postponed, views were exchanged about the proposal. Two of our members attended the AGM and the resolution there was that the NCEW, under Richard Oldham, would undertake proper and extensive consultation with members and produce an interim report by March 2011.
The piano recital by Nelly AkopianTamarina had to be postponed due to her ill-health, but was then held on 1 December at Delrow House, and was appreciated by a large audience. This concert was a precursor to her Wigmore Hall recital on 9 December. The Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday 25 November was held at the Belvedere Restaurant, St Albans. As last year, it was in the tradition of a
‘family event’, and members brought American poetry and prose to read - it was much enjoyed. The last event was the Christmas party at chairman Nigel’s home, and this year it had a Victorian theme. The weather was threatening snow again and unfortunately several people were not able to come. Those who did enjoyed Nigel’s hospitality very much and were able to get home before the predicted heavy snow arrived. We lost two valuable members in late 2010. Marie Louth-Cook, who had been a member for many years, died unexpectedly on 6 October after a short illness, while staying at her apartment in Nice. Marie and her partner, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Mossop, had hosted a poetry evening for members in 2009. The funeral was in November in Winchester, but as many were not able to attend, Michael hosted a private function at the
Harpenden House Hotel, which was a good opportunity for Marie’s Harpenden friends to gather together with the family. The second sad loss was on 20 December when Ann Powles, who was for many years secretary and treasurer of the Hertfordshire branch, died after falling into the icy waters of the River Cherwell, while walking her dog. Ann had gone to live in Summertown, Oxford, six years ago, to be nearer her family. She lived life to the full and was a valued member of her community there, as she was during the time she lived in Harpenden. The funeral was held on 4 January in Oxford. The service was very moving including a psalm, written by Ann in 2000, and a poem dedicated to Ann, read by a relative, Peter Powles. To end on a brighter note, the Public Speaking Competition branch first heat was held on 2 December at Haileybury College. Three teams went through to the branch final, Haileybury College, St Columba’s College, St Albans and Queen Elizabeth’s School, Barnet. The second heat was held on 25 January, at The Royal Masonic School for Girls, Rickmansworth. Five schools again took part; three were selected to go to the branch final, Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys, St Helen’s School and Dr Challoner’s High School. The branch is grateful for the hospitality offered by both Haileybury College
Sir Simon presents Conor Gray with the Best Personality Shield
and the Royal Masonic School for Girls. The final was held at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys on Tuesday 8 February. There were six teams taking part in the final, three from each heat. The judges noted that all the teams performed considerably better than in the heats; the standard was high. The judges decided that the team to go forward to represent Hertfordshire in the East region final was that from Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Boys, Elstree. Their chairperson was Adam Kayani, the questioner, Jacob Rabinowitz, and the speaker, Guy Lewy, whose topic was ‘Paying for Space Exploration is Unjustifiable While People on Earth are Starving’. The topic was well researched and a good presentation by the whole team gave them the highest mark. The runners-up were from Dr Challoner’s High School, Amersham and the Best Personality Shield was won by Conor Gray, from St Columba’s College, St Albans. The shields were presented by Sir Simon Bowes Lyon, our branch patron.
BRANCHES Norwich and Norfolk
In November Dr Clive Wilkins-Jones, Community Librarian at the Millennium Library in Norwich, gave us an insight into ‘The Interesting Life of an African’. The title refers to the life of an African in Norwich and was based on the 1794 Norwich Edition of Olaudah Equiano’s autobiography. The talk coincided with Black History Week which is held annually in Norwich illustrating how black people in this area played a part in the development of the City. Our meeting in December was our Christmas luncheon and as usual was well-attended. The Hotel ensured that the meal and decorations were superb. This year we were entertained by The Windmill Ringers - who played seasonal music using 29 handbells - no mean feat considering there were only three of them! This group represented East Anglia in the annual handbell concert held in Leicester last year and have been awarded honours certificates both in Norfolk County and Broadland Music Festivals. They were also the first handbell ringers to participate in the National Eisteddfod at Llangollen, Wales. The sound of the bells was delightful and made a good start to the festive season. In January our speaker was Marilyn Evans. Her talk was entitled ‘Save the Children Projects in Bangladesh’. She illustrated her talk with slides of her visit to Bangladesh showing how the funds were being used to build and support schools in the more remote areas. Evans has supported Save the Children since her college days and for the past 20 years has been the trading secretary for the Norwich branch. She spoke with great enthusiasm and told many interesting anecdotes of the time she had spent there. DIALOGUE 46
Ouse Valley’s young public speaking presenter recovers well from her slip of the tongue
Just eight years old, she rose confidently to her feet, a slightly mischievous smile on her face. 26 pairs of eyes looked on attentively. She glanced from side to side and then began: “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Our topic today is ‘Why do animals drink alcohol’?” A stunned silence was swiftly replaced with gales of laughter from the assembled class, and the young lady’s team collapsed in a fit of giggles at her mistake. Despite the valiant efforts of ESU mentor Andrew Fitch to calm the team and re-state the correct title of the talk as ‘why do adults drink alcohol?’ a more serious ambience was never quite restored for this particular presentation – but it did give us a very humorous start!
A surprisingly mature topic for a public speaking presentation by such young children you might think, and just one of many chosen by the teams participating in the first phase of the Bedford Lower Schools Public Speaking Project which began in earnest last November. The pilot session, held in the summer of 2010, was reported in the June issue of dialogue. On this occasion the 12 additional schools were each invited to send a group of six children and a teacher to one of three whole-day training sessions led by a mentor from ESU Dartmouth House, supported by two experienced members from the branch.
Sixth formers from Bedford’s Dame Alice School join speaker Nigel Bowles, chairman Tony Wood (right) and vice chairman Roger Cornwell (left) at the Ouse Valley Thanksgiving lunch.
The sessions were based on materials from the excellent ESU Discover Your Voice booklet for Key Stage 2 children in primary schools. Some simplification and adaptation of the published activities was required to match our own focus on the younger end of this age range in a public speaking rather than a debating context. So we learnt on the job as they say, and the mentors deserve full credit for the way they were able to adapt the materials very effectively. Subsequent feedback from the teachers was highly complementary, all of whom are now looking forward to the next stage of the project in the 2011 spring term. This involves introducing suitable public speaking activities to selected classes in their schools on a cascade basis, with support from a small team of branch members. An inter-school competition will be held in the summer term.
Also in November we held a very well-attended Thanksgiving lunch addressed by Dr Nigel Bowles, the Director of the Rothmere American Institute, Oxford. In a masterful presentation on the topic ‘The Special Relationship – does it exist?’ we were rather led to the conclusion that the answer is probably “No”, with some qualification concerning intelligence gathering and nuclear weapons systems. Invented by Winston Churchill at an early point in the Second World War as part of his strategy to draw the USA into the conflict, the phrase appears always to have been one having more style than substance. Whilst it has been quoted regularly for more than 60 years by successive British Prime Ministers for political purposes, and repeated tactfully by their opposite numbers in the United States, in reality the view from across the Atlantic (suggested our speaker) was that the relationship with the UK was no more ‘special’ than with several other countries. This was a reality
check for all of us. Perhaps the ESU, sustaining as it does active close ties with the USA, represents one of the last bastions of Winston’s dream! The final branch event before Christmas was a lunch and tour of our president Charles Whitbread’s historic house at Southill in Bedfordshire. As it happened he was unable to be present in person as he was accompanying his father Sam Whitbread, Lord Lieutenant of Bedfordshire, to Buckingham Palace where he was to be knighted. Jane, the wife of our president, proved a charming host, and before embarking on the official programme we raised a festive glass to Sir Sam to congratulate him on receiving this well-deserved honour.
Suffolk The first round of the Suffolk branch Public Speaking Competition for Schools 2011 was held on Tuesday 1 February, not at Culford School as in past years, but at St Benedict’s Catholic Upper School Bury St Edmunds. Whilst the venue changed, the standard of public speaking from the young contestants was of the usual very high standard. This year our efforts to persuade a few more members to attend met with a little more success.
Adam Neville with Sir Teddy Taylor, president of Southend-on-Sea branch
‘A former political heavyweight gave some top tips to an aspiring politician’. (This was the opening sentence of a report by Ryan McCarthy in the Southend Evening Echo). Adam Neville, 15, won the ‘Best Personality Award’ at the Southend heat of the Public Speaking Competition for Schools, impressing the judges with an impassioned speech about why 16-year olds should be given the vote. The teenager, who is passionate about politics, is in year 11 at the Eastwood Comprehensive School. He was presented with his award by Southend branch president, and former Rochford and Southend East MP, Sir Teddy Taylor. Josh Kelly, Harry Mason and Alex Nevin, an excellent team from Westcliffe High School for Boys, won the Southend Cup and Southend branch will be there to support them in the East region final. We very sincerely thank Eamon Chawke, Steve Nolan and Stephen Roberts for their fantastic support, together with our sponsors ROSCA. DIALOGUE 48
The members of the committee feel it is most important that members show interest and appreciate not only the great effort that is put into arranging this event, but especially to encourage and applaud the young contestants for their hard work and courage in taking part.
The guest of honour, Lesley Anslow, News-Editor of the Bury Free Press, presented certificates for individual excellence to: Rupert Powell - Royal Hospital School Ipswich-Best Chairperson Laura Brown - County Upper School Bury St Edmunds-Best Speaker. Matt Dawson - St Benedict’s Catholic Upper School, Bury St Edmunds Best Questioner. The Winner’s Cup was presented to Laura Brown, Robert Powell, and Jack Morelli.
The subjects undertaken by the speakers ranged from ‘Blood Sports Have No Place in Modern Society’, ‘Queen Elizabeth II Should be the Last Monarch’, ‘The Right to Die is the Logical Extension of the Right to Life’, ‘American Influence in Our Society is Regrettable’ to ‘Reality TV’. The young people certainly put across their points of view on their chosen subjects, and defended them stoutly against questioning from fellow students and members of the audience. The panel of judges awarded points for the performance of each team consisting of the speaker, the questioner and chairperson. The very close fought contest was won by the team representing the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, Ipswich, with the host school St Benedict’s Catholic Upper School a very close second.
The president, Alex Finnis, thanked the invited guests for attending, the Mayor of Edmundsbury, Councillor Ian Houlder, the Town Mayor of Bury St Edmunds, Councillor Bob Cockle, to the judges, Trevor Hawkins, Jo Thewlis, and Amanda Skull, the time keeper David Shipley, but especially to Mike Ames the Suffolk co-ordinator, and to the Headmaster of St Benedict’s School for allowing it as the venue. Finally, to all the young contestants and their members of staff who give of their best.
“Exit stage left to standing ovation”. Colin Bhimenau
“All the World’s a stage and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and entrances.” My thanks to William Shakespeare for giving me the perfect entrance to the celebratory Christmas lunch enjoyed by members of the Suffolk branch of the ESU, held at our favourite venue, the Farmers Club Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday 15 December 2010. The festive meal was of the highest standard, the company most delightful and the speaker, Colin Blumenau, interesting and knowledgeable. Colin, the Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, started his career as an actor in the television programme The Bill, and later moved to Suffolk. He explained the transition of the theatre and its architecture from early Greek and Roman styles to present times, and the influence the classical theatre design had on the design of the Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds, one of only eight grade one listed theatres in the UK.
The Theatre Royal was opened on 11 October 1819 by its proprietor and nationally-renowned architect William Wilkins, who was also responsible for designing the National Gallery in London. Colin explained that the theatre had had a very chequered history, closing down on a number of occasions and later re-opening, and at one stage was a barrel store for the local brewery, Greene King who still owns the lease. In recent times the theatre closed in September 2005 and after a £5.3 million restoration re-opened its doors again on 11 September 2007. Although the theatre receives an annual government grant totalling £370,000, it pays the Exchequer £370,000 in tax and VAT, a good investment for HM government, and one we hope they take into account in the present round of financial cuts.
Special thanks to Felicity Muscott for arranging a most enjoyable lunch, and her walk-on part as Mother Christmas, the chef and staff of the Farmers Club for the excellent food and service, Colin Blumenau for his entertaining talk, and Mike Ames for his vote of thanks, but most of all to the members of the Suffolk branch ESU for their supporting role in the crowd scenes.
We wish Colin and our local theatre a long and successful ‘run’.
BRANCHES MIDLANDS REGION Birmingham
The Birmingham and Midlands branch held a literary lunch at the Birmingham and Midland Institute in November. members were deeply interested in the talk – and animated reading – given by Professor David Roberts and his colleague [also called David Roberts!] on his revised World’s Classics edition of Daniel Defoe’s celebrated A Journal of the Plague Year for the Oxford University Press, Our thanks go to Philip Fisher and everyone at the wonderful building and organisation that is the Birmingham and Midland Institute for hosting the occasion.
The former royal harpist, Jemima Phillips, was the guest-of-honour at our annual Christmas party, on 5 December, held at the 17th Century, mullion-windowed home of Gloucestershire members, Anthony and Wendy Dixon in Armscote, Warwickshire. Jemima is a former Gloucestershire branch music scholar, and we sponsored her during her years at the Royal College of Music, London. Jemima was the first ever royal harpist, an appointment created by HRH Prince Charles, and she played at Buckingham Palace for the reception following his Royal Highness’s marriage to HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.
Michael Walker, outgoing chairman
Gaynor Arnold, Man Booker and Orange Prize-nominated Birmingham author has kindly agreed to be the branch’s next literary speaker at the Birmingham and Midland Institute at 6 pm on 11 May. A light buffet supper will be served. Gaynor Arnold’s novel Girl in a Blue Dress was called “a fine work of imagination and compassion” by The Daily Telegraph whilst The Independent calls Ms Arnold’s newly published collection of short stories, Living Together, “beautifully written and deeply perceptive”. Birmingham members will receive full details of the event by post/email. Anyone wishing to buy tickets please keep an eye on the Birmingham branch section of the ESU website or contact acting branch chairman Steve Roberts – email email@example.com telephone 01780 460777.
Since that time, Jemima has played at many royal occasions and at concerts all over the world. Her new, and latest, website is stunning and she continues to live up to all her accolades. At our party, she charmed everyone with her playing and, as always, “played like an angel”. There were so many wonderful comments for her afterwards, including “You are playing better than ever”, and “We feel so privileged to have heard you playing”. Before Jemima’s recital, cava and canapés were served by our chef, Lou Smith, and in keeping with our party tradition, as a finale, we all sang carols, beautifully conducted by committee member, Paul Fellows. This year’s Christmas party is to be held at the home of our president Lord Dickinson and Lady Dickinson.
As a regular event, the Thanksgiving day lunch is considered the highlight of the branch’s year and this year was no exception. Following a long line of distinguished speakers, John Abbott, president of the 21st Century Learning Initiative (UK), gave an inspired and highly topical speech titled Overschooled but Undereducated which contrasted events on either side of the Atlantic. Citing Milton, John provided an entertaining sketch of Education through the ages and the importance that apprenticeships and practical training has in society - much of which has been picked up in the latest government white paper. “I call therefore a complete and generous education that which fits a man to perform, justly, skilfully and magnanimously all the offices both private and public, of peace and war” - John Milton 1644.
A large contingent of branch members were thoroughly entertained and delighted by both the quality of the speech as well as the welcoming atmosphere of the Randolph Hotel. This was also a fitting event to thank the outgoing chair, Michael Walker (pictured) for all the work he had done during the past year. Eric Parsloe, a previous chairman of the branch has agreed to step back into the role he performed so well in the past - and if there was any time left for shopping in Oxford’s crowded streets then members felt it had been a wonderful Thanksgiving day event. Members enjoying the chairman’s Christmas lunch
Worcestershire The annual Thanksgiving lunch was held at the Worcestershire Golf Club on Friday 19 November. About 50 members and their guests enjoyed a lovely meal, following which our chairman Sonia Chance was pleased to introduce our guest speaker, Colin McCorquodale, who is of course a governor of the English-Speaking Union. Guests thoroughly enjoyed listening to ‘A Monarch a Minute’, a light-hearted talk on the English and British Monarchy from William I to Victoria. Colin was thanked by Jill Wagstaff for his fascinating and very amusing talk. About 36 members attended the annual chairman’s Christmas party at College Road, Malvern. Everyone really enjoyed the food and mulled wine, and Sonia Chance was thanked for hosting this most enjoyable event at her lovely home.
This year’s Public Speaking Competition, involving eight schools, was organised by John Quibell-Smith. There were two heats, at Malvern St James and RGS Worcester and from these, four schools; RGS Worcester, Pershore High, Malvern St James and Blessed Edward Oldcorne, together with Fairfield High (Herefordshire) reached the combined Herefordshire and Worcestershire branches’ final, held at Pershore High School on 19 January.
head teacher of Pershore High, for hosting the branches’ final. On Saturday 29 January the Chandos Symphony Orchestra held their ‘Young Musician of the Year’ Competition at St Edmunds Hall, Malvern College, at which our Worcestershire branch sponsors an annual prize. John Quibell-Smith, our vice-chairman, was pleased this year to present the £200 cheque for third place to Jessica Wilkes who plays the flute.
After a tightly fought contest the results were: Best Speaker, Georgia Martin (Blessed Edward Oldcorne), Best Questioner, Cristian Cass (RGS Worcester), Best Chairperson, Michael Wheatley (Pershore High). The winners of the Worcestershire Cup were Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College and the runners-up Pershore High, with both schools going forward to the regional final at Birmingham Council Chambers on 5 March. We do thank all who adjudicated this year, all the host schools and especially Clive Corbett, DIALOGUE 51
BRANCHES NORTH EAST REGION Lincolnshire
Sir Kieran Predergast with Sir Michael Graydon, chair of Lincolnshire branch.
The branch held the annual Public Speaking Competition for Schools for years 10 and 11 on Thursday 27 January at North Kesteven School in Lincoln by kind permission of the headmaster. The event was hosted by Paula O’Rourke. Schools taking part were the Priory Academy LSST, Lincoln School, Skegness Grammar School, Bourne Grammar School and North Kesteven School. Topics chosen by the schools: ‘Democracy is a sham’, ‘Written examinations are the least effective form of assessment’, ‘The assassination of a dictator can never be justified’, and ‘Bad laws should be broken’.
The winners were Bourne Grammar School, whose team was made up of: chairperson Kate Sandalls, speaker Patrick Heard and questioner Simon Mariner. This team will go on to the ESU regional final at Leeds Grammar School on 5 March. North Kesteven School were the runners-up. There were also individual awards to Hayley Lockwood (North Kesteven School) for best chairperson, Patrick Heard (Bourne Grammar School) for best speaker, George Damms (Skegness Grammar School) for best questioner. The judges were Steve Roberts, Amanda Lees and Jane O’Rorke.
Sir Kieran stepped into the breach with great skill and a splendid evening emerged from what might have been a disaster. The branch members and guests, some 95 people, not only were treated to a fascinating event, but useful money was raised to help our scholars next year. York and District
The Lincolnshire branch held its annual autumn dinner at Hemswell on Thursday 11 November. Our guest for the evening was to have been Louis de Bernieres but on the morning of the 11th, a phone call was received from him telling us that his mother was critically ill and he would be unable to come.
York branch committee member Alix Pilkington presenting some of the books to Selby College library, with students of Selby College.
Sir Kieran Prendergast with David Hughes
David Richardson-Eames with Bill and Christine Ramsey.
Enter one of our new members, Sir Kieran Prendergast: as a former Ambassador to Turkey and Assistant Secretary General Political Affairs to the UN, he had deep knowledge of parts of the world in which Louis de Bernieres books had been set and a fund of interesting stories to tell.
Mary Smith (left) with Patricia Cook and St Louis Committee
NORTH WEST REGION Mid-Cheshire Our chairman, Patricia Cook writes: In November 2010 I went to St Louis, USA to visit the ESU branch with which York is twinned and to thank them for the gifts of Ambassador Books which have been sent to York for many years. I stayed with Mary Smith, widow of Bob Smith, the president of St. Louis ESU, and she arranged for a meeting with the committee. Everyone was very interested to hear of the destinations of the books and of the doings of York branch and indeed of the ESU of Britain. In particular, they were interested in Lord Watson’s book, Jamestown and the Voyage of English, which charts the spread of English over the North American continent. St. Louis citizens could so easily be speaking French as the city was founded by the Jesuits as a French city called after the great sainted king of France, Louis IX. Members of the branch took me to see the sights of St. Louis including the magnificent Basilica Cathedral with glorious mosaic decoration, the art gallery in Forest Park with an exhibition by a local self-taught artist Joe Jones (the quality of whose work was impressive) and of course, the famous arch representing the gateway to the west as the covered wagons departed on their perilous journeys. The York branch has sent some signed copies of Lord Watson’s book to thank the St. Louis branch for their generosity and hospitality. The photograph shows Mary Smith with Patricia Cook and members of the St. Louis Committee.
The December meeting of the branch was very well attended and the festive excellent lunch was enjoyed by all. Peter Ashburner was the speaker following the lunch and his subject was ‘Flog It’. Peter is an auctioneer with a local firm of estate agents, surveyors and auctioneers. As a valuer and senior auctioneer he has frequently appeared on television programmes in connection with antiques, and his very amusing and informative talk was about his work over a number of years. His main message was not to throw out anything unless one has knowledge of what it is and it’s possible value! With the new year came a welcome change of venue for the branch lunch meetings, which will in future take place at the Portal Premier Golf Club, Tarporley. The speaker at the January meeting was Roger Mitchell whose subject was ‘The Victorian Country House’. He carefully described the development of the country house from Queen Victoria’s Osborne House on the Isle of Wight through to the First World War, and how the advent of the railway system encouraged rich Victorians to demonstrate their new wealth by building grand houses in the countryside. Much of their legacy remains to this day. Also in January a very enjoyable theatre trip took place when members visited the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, for a matinee production of Zack. The branch is looking forward to hosting the North West regional final of the Public Speaking Competition for Schools at Grange School, Hartford, on Saturday 19 March.
Two further lunch meeting are planned before the end of the current season of lunch meetings, and two summer events are also scheduled for members and guests. Liverpool and Merseyside
From left to right: vice president June Lancelyn Green, Hilary and chairman Mike Shankland are pictured holding Hilary’s gifts.
After the turbulent times which closed the old year, it was good to enjoy ‘normal’ branch events. That is if you can call Gillian Reynolds MBE ‘normal’! Larger than life and twice as articulate, Gillian warmed to her task on a crisp winter’s day at Liverpool’s great Anglican Cathedral. Gillian has unbreakable links with Merseyside and was the first Programme Controller of the highly successful Radio City and is a trustee of National Museums on Merseyside. Following a gin-fuelled interview with the legendary Bill Deedes, she became radio critic of The Daily Telegraph. Branch chair, Mike Shankland, as he introduced Gillian, asked how many members talked to the radio. As a forest of hands went up, Gillian breathed, “So do I”. Well, of course, she went on to endorse our wildest prejudices (sorry, considered views) and irritations about radio, especially her bête noire, Sarah Montague. DIALOGUE 53
BRANCHES SOUTH EAST REGION Brighton and Hove
Pictured from left to right: president HH Elizabeth Steel, past chairman Hilary King, Gillian Reynolds and chairman Michael Shankland.
We had a wonderful time - like Loose Women meeting Grumpy Old Men. Floating high above the Liver Birds and the glistening River Mersey in the Panoramic Restaurant, on 27 January, branch members paid tribute to retired chairman Hilary King with guests of honour, The Baron Storey of Liverpool, Director of Branches Meriel Talbot, regional chairman Jeanne Pumfrey and vice president June Lancelyn Green MBE. In her tribute to Hilary, June spoke eloquently about Hilary’s immense contribution to the ESU both locally and nationally. What shone through Hilary’s anecdotes of her 18 years in office was the fun she had had despite losing foreign guests at airports, freezing encounters with Tall Ships on the Mersey and a demanding national conference at the quirky Adelphi Hotel in Liverpool. Hilary’s tenure is a remarkable achievement which is unlikely to be matched and the health of the branch is her monument. She was presented with an engraved decanter by the ESU, while the branch gave her an inscribed glass bowl and substantial gift vouchers. The end of an era.
Our farewell to 2010 was an evocation of Diaghilev, Nijinsky and the Ballet Russes, to complement the concurrent winter exhibition at the V&A. Playwright Richard Crane and theatre director Faynia Williams gave a composite rendering of Dancing with Demons, their new play, using dramatic extracts, readings, music and visual display. The drama, described as public and shocking, private and tragic, fits the complex and turbulent relationships within the Ballet Russes into the unfolding story of the creation of this revolutionary ballet company, which left its indelible mark on 20th century ballet. Among our visitors were some from the theatre with personal links to the legendary figures of the era. The technical demands on all involved for this moving performance in the normally tranquil Hove Club were met in the usual spirit of perfect improvisation. Any lecturer who seeks to spotlight the roots of family troubles may need several seminars to adequately deal with such a tortured theme. However, Professor Brenda Almond, acclaimed author of The Fragmenting Family, did her best to squeeze it into one hour when she spoke at our January meeting, in a talk beguilingly entitled ‘Passion or Promises?’ She selected three couples from the libertarian wing of society to analyse how the “trickle down” effect has affected the general population. In so doing, she emphasised the gargantuan shift in the very concept of marriage – its durability and its status, rendering obsolete the union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. Thus, marriage is no longer seen as a long-term ‘investment’.
Her thesis was modelled on the shockingly promiscuous ‘carry-on’s’ of such false luminaries as William Godwin, John Stuart Mill, Harriet Taylor, Simone de Beauvoir and Mary Wollstonecraft, the latter of whom absurdly claimed that marriage is but “legalised prostitution”, a maxim eagerly endorsed by some in the current shrill feminist lobby. Thus, fragmented families indeed! So, it’s as simple as that? Of course not! And Professor Almond didn’t pretend for one moment that it was. The preliminary heats and area finals of the Public Speaking Competition will take place in local schools during January and February. The branch eagerly awaits its next spring early evening lecture on the Festival of Britain, preceded by a time for genial social interaction at the bar.
Canterbury and East Kent
On 20 November, the Canterbury and East Kent branch held our annual Thanksgiving lunch, and this year we were delighted to have Lord Hunt of Wirral talk to us under the title of ‘Hands across the Sea’. He spoke of how his links with the ESU go back a long way and how he and many other people in high positions have had their careers started through the ESU. Unfortunately due to the inclement weather the public lecture on 30 November, at Christchurch University, had to be cancelled. Half of East Kent was under many inches of snow and although Professor David Crystal was half way, it is as well that the lecture and the dinner to be hosted by the vice chancellor was cancelled, as by 9 pm the M25 was completely blocked and getting back would have been a nightmare.
Lecture in the Brabourne Lecture Theatre. The speaker was Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, until recently Rector of the Royal College of Art, chair of the Arts Council, chair of the Design Council, and currently Professor of Cultural History at RCA. His lecture - ‘Horace Walpole’s Cat’, a glimpse of London life 250 years ago - was greatly enjoyed by a large and appreciative audience. The chair gave the vote of thanks.
Another factor was the audience many could not get, let alone return, home! Imagine our delight that the vice chancellor has re-scheduled the lecture for May as so many were disappointed. We look forward to welcoming Professor Crystal then.
A drinks reception and dinner in Rutherford College followed, the guests being welcomed by the Master of Rutherford College, Dr Rachel Forrester-Jones, to the celebratory Christmas feast with its wonderful tradition of Rutherford hospitality a highly enjoyable and very special evening.
On 8 December, the vice chancellor of the University of Kent, Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow welcomed the distinguished guests, chair, members of the branch and the public, to the annual University of Kent ESU Public
Nearly a quarter of the world’s people now speak English, while the second most widely spoken, Mandarin, comes a far second. Many people see English as the language of business but he also emphasised that it is also important to promote it as the language of peace. Recently, Prince Philip posed the question, “To what extent are we using English as the language of technology?” A lively discussion ensued concerning the uses for which English is being taught, the opposing views on English for international communication and as the repository of English culture and literature. It was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion and we thank Lord Hunt for taking the time to visit us in rural Kent.
Our thanks to Professor Frayling, and to the university for the care taken in planning and organising this very successful event. DIALOGUE 55
‘All aboard’: Orient-Express
The Eastbourne branch concluded its 2010 season with a highly engaging talk by John Kirkbride who parachuted in to speak for our Thanksgiving supper at the Royal Eastbourne Golf Club. As is now traditional a large gathering celebrated Christmas and the end of the season with a drinks reception at Old Place in Willingdon, the home of our chairman Sarah Carr. A number of branch members also took to the rails in celebration of the festive season and the branch was well represented onboard the 11.50 Orient-Express that departed from Platform 2 at London’s Victoria station. Will Glover, Sarah Carr and Linda Jennings dined amidst the winter snows onboard Cygnus, a first-class parlour car built in 1938 that had seen service as part of the Golden Arrow and that formed part of the 1965 funeral car for distinguished ESU Old Boy Sir Winston Churchill. The Orient-Express events were run by Dartmouth House as a fundraiser for ESU programmes raising some £700.
Recipe submissions are still welcomed for Will’s book on the history of afternoon tea at firstname.lastname@example.org In another first the branch are delighted to announce that youth member Hannah Bramwell has been selected to attend summer school in New York working toward her proposed university studies in speech and language pathology. The 2011 season is off to a great start following the carvery lunch at the Royal Eastbourne when Robert Fromow spoke on ‘The Life and Travels of Lady Jane Digby and Lady Hester Stanhope’. We are now all looking forward to our afternoon with Ann and Robin Gregory at the Hydro Hotel this month.
Guildford and District The Guildford ‘holding’ committee has been particularly active in recent weeks with the arrangements for the annual Public Speaking Competition. 18 schools from a wide area of Surrey – as far spread as Haslemere to Sutton, Chertsey to Cranleigh, were in competition - with 5 schools reaching the area final, held in the historic Guildhall. A capacity audience cheered the winners, who on this occasion, actually came from the town - Guildford High School for Girls achieved a decisive local victory. They were invited to go forward to the London region final. Enquiries about Guildford events may continue to be made on 01483 449 669.
No less than 80 members and friends enjoyed our annual Thanksgiving lunch on Friday 26 November at Champs Hill, by kind permission of David and Mary Bowerman. Surrounded by paintings by the very best of present day traditional artists, we were first treated to a rousing concert by Kate Harris, a young student from Chichester University and her accompanist, Ben Socrates. An excellent lunch followed with the loyal toasts, after which Nicola Horlick, the remarkable and very successful financier, spoke to an audience engrossed in what she had to say. She first spoke of her youthful experience as an ESU exchange student at Phillips Exeter Academy in America, leading on to her career with S G Warburg and Morgan Grenfell and more recently her own company, Bramdean Assets Ltd. Reminding us how much the world had changed in
the last two decades, she ended by sharing with us her own thoughts of how the world might look, both financially and politically, in the next twenty years. Our new chairman, Roger Tilbury, spoke for us all in thanking her for her fascinating address. Earlier in September at the Barley Mow, Walderton, we enjoyed an illustrated talk about â€˜The Silk Route from China to the Westâ€™ by the intrepid traveller and writer Alan Bott OBE, whose knowledge of Central Asia is second to none, while the first talk in this new year was by Andrew Shaxson, who spoke on the work of the newly formed South Downs National Park Authority. Andrew is chair of the Planning Committee and a District Councillor in Chichester, and as many of us live within the national park, his vision of the future
for the area, and plans for its administration were of particular interest to all present. Our West Sussex branch is unusual in that it has a walking group that holds nine monthly walks in the year, each followed by a well-earned lunch at a local pub. The year starts with an annual lunch which attracted about 30 people, and last year we explored, amongst other places, local canals, our beautiful coastline, the South Downs and Petworth Park where we took a safari to watch stags rutting!
BRANCHES LONDON REGION
Writing this in early February, what with the snow and train strikes to contend with here in London, it has been a fairly quiet time for the region.
It is a measure of its quality and the enjoyment it gives that, for the third year in succession, the choir of Howell’s School, Llandaff, gave a recital of carols for the South Wales branch. A capacity audience of 120 members and guests were present on 29 November. Such an early start to the Christmas festivities was not an impediment to the choir who were remarkable well-rehearsed in the programme of Christmas music. The branch president, Captain Sir Norman Lloyd-Edwards gave deservedly fulsome and elegant thanks to the choir before the audience adjourned to the school’s dining hall to enjoy a convivial supper.
One really good event was our jewellery talk by Burlington Arcade jeweller, Robert Ogden, with a capacity audience who were entertained and fascinated by tales of intrigue in the famous arcade. Full details of the talk will be found within the pages of this dialogue, but suffice to say that it was an excellent evening. By the time you read this, we will have enjoyed a talk by James Chambers on the absorbing story of Princess Charlotte and one by our very own Pauline Chakmakjian on Machiya townhouses in one of which Pauline has lived! And for several members who could fancy and cope with a big climb, a visit to the clock tower of Big Ben. There are several more great events to follow, details of which you will find within these pages including a talk by the great man of antiques, John Bly.
The branch’s programme for 2011 will open on 25 February when the Rt Hon Lord Hattersley PC will be our guest at a literary lunch when we will assemble at the Cardiff City Stadium. It will be an appropriate sally into Wales for Lord Hattersley since he will be able to talk about one of the better known Welsh politicians – Lloyd George. Lord Hattersley’s recent biography, David Lloyd George: the Great Outsider, is an unsparing but balanced and authoritative account of a man whose real essence is so difficult to capture, and this book will provide the basis of Lord Hattersley’s discourse after the lunch. Further on in the year the branch is organising the Welsh Schools Public Speaking Competition with the final being held in the Welsh Assembly’s previous debating chamber on 7 March. Subsequently, and as a result of the serialisation of his memoirs for the BBC’s A Book at Bedtime catching the ear of committee members, Christopher Mullin will be speaking to the branch on 12 April. Finally, to give
members a ray of sunshine to look forward to, the summer garden party will again be held at the home of Sir Geoffrey and Lady Inkin on 23 June when the gardens will be looking at their stunning best.
Committee member Lady Inkin presenting Kate Hatton with her cheque
Kate with Alejandro and Sahari at the Mexican orphanage
As part of our continuing sponsorship programme, in November former Alumna and branch committee member Lady Inkin presented a cheque for £500 to branch member Kate Hatton. Kate has been working long hours at the Amazon distribution centre in Swansea during this gap year to raise funds for her six months English-teaching project in an orphanage in Mexico. We look forward to hearing about her experience on her return in the summer.
SOUTH WEST REGION
Bath and District
Gill Prior, chairman, John Bush, Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire and branch president, Adrian Sindall, speaker and Jane Gould, treasurer, pictured at the Lecture and lunch on 17 January
The Public Speaking Competition on 15 November 2010, which is an important part of our work, was as usual arranged and ably run by Andrew Fletcher, who was supported by Richard Maxwell as time-keeper. Chris Jefferies and Ian Stratton (both ESU members) and Dr Amy Frost were judges. Frances Leonard presented the certificates and prizes. The winning school was the Royal High School, who also kindly provided the venue for the second year. The topic of the winning speaker (from Oldfield School) was ‘The Cult of Celebrity is Detrimental to Society’. Ten days later we found ourselves again at the Bath and County Club for the Thanksgiving dinner, held jointly by the ESU and the Club. It was our turn to host it and we enjoyed a fine speech by Dr Richard Wendorf, Director of the American Museum in Bath.
We are again collaborating with ESU Brazil on the Nurse Work Programme. Aline Marciel Lima has been selected and we should meet her in April. She has just graduated from Sao Paolo University Nursing School and is interested in family and community medicine, which will fit well with Great Western Hospital, Swindon, as community medicine is part of their Academy work. For the coming year, we plan to support a gap year student to China, and to form links with ESU Albania to send an Albanian teacher in English to the Dartmouth House Globe Project. We are developing a new initiative to sponsor a prize in secondary schools in Salisbury for ‘the most improved student in written and spoken English’, it is in its early stages, and we will report on progress. Bishop Wordsworth’s Grammar School won the branch round of the Public Speaking Competition for Schools. The school was the runner-up in last year’s national final. Our luncheons continue to be well supported, and we have enjoyed good speakers and interesting and varied topics.
On Tuesday 18 January we visited the building in Orchard Street, Bath, which began as the Theatre Royal, later became a Roman Catholic Chapel and since 1865 has been Bath’s Masonic Hall. Our hosts gave us a wonderful guided tour, during which we walked on the stage trodden by Sarah Siddons, viewed the Masonic Temple and visited the basement which houses a Masonic Museum as well as relics of the time when members of Bath’s Roman Catholic congregation were buried there. At every stage our knowledgeable guides explained to us the history and significance of what we saw.
After a very good lunch we enjoyed a talk about Freemasonry given by David Lloyd Jenkins, Provincial Grand Master for the Masonic Province of Somerset, who kindly answered the numerous questions asked by our members. He then presented to the branch, in the Masonic temple, a beautiful book on the history of Somerset Freemasonry.
(L-R) David Lloyd Jenkins; David Leonard
To mark Australia Day, the BritainAustralia Society, West Country branch, hosted a Celebration for Australia on Sunday 30 January. We joined them, first for a service in Bath Abbey and then for a reception and lunch in the Pump Rooms. Thanks are due to their chair, Richard Pavitt, for a most enjoyable event, at which Adam MacCarthy, the Deputy High Commissioner for Australia, briefed us on the tragic flooding in Queensland and New South Wales. Also present was Kerry Sanderson, Agent General for Western Australia. Tone was lent to the occasion by the sartorial elegance of former branch chair the Reverend Robert Webb. DIALOGUE 59
BRANCHES Cornwall We have much to look forward to this year, as will be seen in the list of our future events in the regional diary. Like all the branches, we shall be involved over the coming weeks in a consultation process as to the future of Dartmouth House, the governance of the ESU and possible co-operation with other charities whilst guarding against any loss of our autonomy generally and in particular against any loss of control of our property and funds.
“parliament is an incredibly odd place” and it is a challenge to maintain one’s sense of normality. She hopes that the problems experienced by members over the recent expenses scandal will pass, and that MPs will keep in touch with the real world by working in their constituencies far more.
Catherine Johnson with Tony Williams, branch chairman
Bristol Our first meeting of the new season was a great success and a most interesting one. The recently elected Conservative MP for Bristol North West, Charlotte Leslie, gave us a talk on ‘My First Impressions’. After spending three and a half years canvassing, Charlotte is delighted to be in the House of Commons and feels honoured to be elected to the Select Committee for Education. She has great hopes for the next few years however, in her own words DIALOGUE 60
In October we were delighted to welcome Catherine Johnson, author of Mamma Mia. Catherine had suggested a question and answer evening, and this produced an informative and interesting meeting, when we learnt about her life as an author, and how her plays and films developed. Catherine happily answered all our questions and the audience were most appreciative – we shall be interested to see what the future holds for her and look forward to her further works.
The main objective of the ESU is to promote international understanding through the use of English. Surely there are no occasions when international understanding is needed more than in the aftermath of major disasters. English comes into its own in enabling that understanding because English is the language of disaster management. This is why Cornwall branch believes that it is so appropriate that it is supporting the ShelterBox International Academy. ShelterBox UK is a British charity that responds to disasters around the world by delivering boxes of aid. Each box supplies an extended family with a tent and lifesaving equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. ShelterBox sends thousands of boxes to disaster areas around the world each year. Over 28,000 boxes, which could provide shelter for over a quarter of a million people, have been sent to Haiti alone. See www.shelterbox.org. Deployments of boxes are accompanied by ShelterBox Response Teams, the members of which are volunteers from all over the world. They need to be trained and so the ShelterBox International Academy has been set up in Cornwall to provide disaster management training for its own team members and for other organisations involved in disaster management. Training is provided in the language of disaster management – English.
Jeremy Varcoe (chairperson of Cornwall branch), Bodmin College (winning team) Christopher McQuaid (speaker), James Gibbson (chairperson) Connor Rowler (questioner). James Gibbson also won the chairperson prize.
Academy attendees come from all over the world to do their training and this costs money. Cornwall branch has therefore set up a scheme so that bursaries can be provided to ShelterBox trainees. The first will be provided to a trainee attending a course in April 2011. We understand that he is likely to come from Nepal. The cheque for £1500 will be presented to ShelterBox founder, Tom Henderson, on 5 March, St. Piran’s day – a special day in Cornwall. We hope that this will be just the the start of ESU’s involvement with the Academy. There may well also be scope for technical support in the field of English. One possibility being looked at by Dartmouth House is help with cross-cultural communication, an important element in both the training of multinational teams and in dealing with disasters on the ground. Looking further ahead there may be opportunities for some of the ESU’s international branches to assist ShelterBox and other UK branches may also like to support the academy financially.
In addition the branch is planning to provide simple hospitality to some of the attendees at the conclusion of their April course, if other ESU branches would like to make contributions or just to find out more – please contact Cornwall branch committee member Gil Patrick on 07831 533785 or email@example.com. The Public Speaking Competition for Schools 2011 held on Thursday 27 January at Truro High School for Girls. Three teams, Truro School (TS), Truro High School for Girls (THSfG) and Bodmin College (BC) took part with a fourth team from Newquay (Treviglas) unable to appear because of illness. The first group tackled the subject of ‘Does Crime Pay?’ selected by Truro School. Lydia Light (THSfG) chaired this and introduced Henry LloydLacey (TS) as speaker and Kitty Hardman (THSfG) as questioner.
The speaker provided a number of facts, including one CCTV camera for every fourteen people in this country, and mentioned the evolution of fingerprinting to DNA, though only 10% of crimes involve forensic evidence. The increase in cybercrime was highlighted with criminals constantly adapting to new technologies and techniques, though only the more intelligent criminal’s profit. On being questioned the speaker said that there was ‘no technical ceiling’ and that ‘quantum computing was coming…we can’t destroy crime but limit it’. The second group’s topic was ‘Bad Laws Should be Broken’, selected by Truro High School for Girls. James Gibbson (BC) was the chair and introduced Alice Atlee (THSfG) as the speaker and Connor Rowley (BC) as the questioner. Alice started by referring to EU laws as easier as being ‘often not the case’ and that ‘bad laws were the result of governments having their own personal agenda’ EU fishing laws came in for criticism as ‘half the fish caught went back into the North Sea.….not resolved the problem – just dead fish’. Reference as also made to Apartheid and Nelson Mandela who was ‘steadfastly breaking the law’. Questions included the issue of the law associated with the difficult problem of proportionality with respect to defending one’s home in the event of ‘breaking and entering’ – certainly a challenging question. DIALOGUE 61
Finally, the third topic ‘A Written Constitution is the Only Way to Protect Freedom’, selected by Bodmin College. Ellie Brittain-Long (TS) introduced Christopher McQuaid (BC) and Tristan Latarche (TS). Christopher began suggesting that the American Constitution is the ‘paradigm written constitution’ favoured by republics. ‘Britain has no core document….and critics of written constitutions say that it doesn’t guarantee freedom, and that they can be very hard to change’. Gun laws in the US being an example mentioned in ‘question time’. Suggested definitions of freedom were given, which included a ‘life free from slavery’, and ‘no mass censorship’, but noting that whatever definition was agreed upon ‘some are more free than others’. Also in question time was mentioned the fact that, for example, ‘African tribes have no written constitution, but then other countries have taken advantage and become ‘greedy’ to take over. The alternative ways included ‘democracy’, ‘which can be slow’ and the balance of power through the three pillars of the ‘courts, legislative and executive - being kept separate’.
Bodmin College (Winning Team) – Christopher McQuaid (speaker), James Gibbson (chairperson), Connor Rowler (questioner). James Gibbson also won the chairperson prize. Other prize winners were: Tristan Latarche, Truro School – Questioner Prize and Alice Atlee, Truro High School for Girls – Speaker Prize. Each of the judges complemented the teams and provided some feedback with suggestions for the future, including for the winning team who go onto the regional event at Taunton on 6 March. Jeremy Varcoe (chairperson of Cornwall branch) concluded proceedings thanking all involved and particularly to Truro High School for Girls (last year’s winners) for hosting the event and providing refreshments.
Plenty of food for thought was provided and certainly the judges had plenty to consider. The judges were: John Baxter ( chair and Past Head Master Wells Cathedral School), Daphne Skinnard (Assistant Editor, BBC Cornwall), Simon Holdsworth (Cornwall ESU vicechairperson). After much deliberation they finally produced the following results:
On Tuesday 25 January at the Truro School Chapel, Robin HanburyTenison OBE gave us an illustrated talk entitled ‘Great Explorers’.
Robin Hanbury-Tenison is one of the few remaining British explorers who merits the name. He is a conservationist, broadcaster, film maker, author, lecturer, campaigner, farmer and, with his wife Louella, equestrian traveller par excellence. Jeremy Varcoe (ESU Cornwall chairperson) introduced Robin, who lives in Cornwall, informed the audience of over 60 that Robin campaigned to keep the overnight ‘sleeper’ from Penzance to Paddington, helped with the re-introduction of the Cornish Chough and has been recently riding through Albania on horseback. Robin added that he liked to explore in different ways, and that explorers rather than tourists or travellers “change the world’. In his illustrated talk Robin discussed with us the world’s most interesting great explorers in support of his new book. These extraordinary men and women opened up our eyes to the amazing physical and natural wealth of our planet. Their biographies revealed not just the dogged ambition which drove them to go the extra distance, but also their other strengths and weaknesses, their greed, courage and individuality, and above all, their spirit of enquiry. Starting with the great era of oceanic exploration five hundred years ago, when Columbus reached the New World, the story moves to the land where the prospect of finding mythical cities of gold in the Americas drew Cortes and Pizarro to commit many excesses there. Other explorers include complex characters like Richard Burton who was lionized for his achievements; David Livingstone, who covered immense distances in Africa to convert the natives and to stop the
Exeter and District slave trade; Fridjof Nansen (Nansen of the North), who took deep water temperatures in 1894; Wally Herbert, arguably the greatest of all polar explorers; Gertrude Bell, a fearless explorer and Yuri Gagarin, the first person to travel in space.
one’s native language. However, we were surprised to learn that Leslie found it was easier for him to translate from English to Arabic, as he found he could more readily remember what had been said in English, rather than in Arabic.
Controversially, he omitted the title figures of his book Shackleton and Scott preferring, because of his contribution to science, Doctor Edward Wilson, who accompanied Scott on the race to the South Pole (1910-1912). They were, however, also covered in his earlier book The Seventy Great Journeys in History.
This was fascinating insight into an area of language which was unfamiliar to most of our members. A more detailed account of Leslie McLoughlin’s interesting life is available in his recently published book Confessions of an Arabic Interpreter: the Odyssey of an Arabist, copies of which were available to members at the meeting.
On being asked during question time what was there that was left to explore he highlighted that there were still 90% of caves unexplored and 93% of species undiscovered. On being asked about climate change he emphasised what he did know – that what we are doing is bad, particularly with respect to deforestation (of the Amazon) and acidification of the oceans. John Baxter concluded the proceedings with some encouraging words to the aspiring young explorers to be in the front row! Robin had copies of his new book The Great Explorers for purchase and signing at the refreshments at the end. Gil Patrick, ESU Cornwall Consultant, explained to all present that donations made would be a vital part of our fund raising to support the cultural and educational programmes and scholarships of the EnglishSpeaking Union, and the new branch project - training for disaster relief management work that we are doing in with ShelterBox. (www.shelterbox.org)
Neil McRae (treasurer), Gillian Greene, Susan Howe (our speaker) and one of our sponsored gap year students, Luke Chapman.
For our first meeting of the calendar year we were pleased to welcome as our speaker Leslie McLoughlin, Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, who describes himself as historian, Arabist, interpreter and writer. Leslie began by informing us of the importance of the Arabic language, spoken by 350 million people in an area extending from Morocco in the west to the borders of Iran and from Turkey in the north down to central Africa. Unlike English, the spoken form of Arabic has not been subject to change and is essentially the same today as it was in the 7th century. Leslie has had many interpreting assignments in the past, including the Lockerbie trial, a $10 billion fraud case in the Bahamas and the funeral of the Princess of Wales. He described his experience of interpreting for Margaret Thatcher and the protocols that needed to be observed. One of the skills that he needed to acquire was to be able to interpret whilst continuing to eat a meal - a matter of seizing opportunities as they arose or finding oneself very hungry at the conclusion of the meal. Most people assume that it is always easier to translate from a second language into
Our December event was billed as a Christmas party and the room looked very festive, with Christmas decorations, candles in silver candelabras, crackers, poppers and red table decorations. In his welcome, chairman Laurie Burbridge explained that we had two speakers to enjoy. Firstly, we were pleased to welcome Luke Chapman, who the branch had sponsored during his gap year. Luke is currently reading Mathematics at Queen’s College, Cambridge and he spoke fluently and effortlessly about his year in Guyana under the auspices of Project Trust. He had had to raise nearly £5,000 for his placement and he was extremely grateful to the Exeter branch of the ESU who had been by far his largest sponsor. He spent most of the year at St Ignatius Secondary School in a remote part of Guyana as a Maths and English teacher, living in the school compound with another volunteer. He felt that he had learned a great deal about himself, gained independence and would recommend Project Trust to anyone thinking of DIALOGUE 63
Joyce McRae (membership secretary), Lynn Samuel (speaker secretary), Pam Samuel, our speaker Leslie McLoughlin and Ros Foot (public speaking organiser)
taking a gap year. Everyone felt that Luke was a great ambassador for the ESU and especially for British young people. Our main speaker was Susan Howe, who reminisced about her five years as a tenant in Coleton Fishacre, where a jaguar wandered at will through the garden! When Susan and her husband left, the National Trust decided to turn the house into a museum.
One of her most memorable and extraordinary employers was John Betjeman, whose main companion was Archie, his teddy bear. She also recalled Duncan Sinclair, the eccentric friend of James Herriot, who was the Queenâ€™s vet in the North and the model for Siegfried in Herriottâ€™s books. Susan is a professional Blue Badge guide in London and related the strange and wonderful tales of people buried in Westminster Abbey. She explained why Ben Johnson was buried upright, why Mary Tudor would not use the Coronation chairperson and how Queen Anne got stuck in it. Susan took us on a delightful wander through history with many amusing and unusual facts which had her audience giggling whilst they learnt. Overall, it was a perfect presentation for a Christmas party. The evening concluded with a traditional Christmas meal.
From left to right: Plymouth chairman Michael Moore; Lord Mayor of Plymouth Cllr. Mary Aspinall; Lord Hunt MBE; Joseph Louei owner of the Astor Hotel
From left to right: Tom and Jill Rogerson; chair Michael Moore; Regional Officer Muriel Harrison; Ann Cleife; Gillian Wilton; Joseph Louei.
40 people came to the ESU Plymouth branch Thanksgiving lunch on the 26 November 2010, at the Astor Hotel in Plymouth. They included the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Cllr. Mary Aspinall and representatives from Exeter and Cornwall branches. Lord Hunt of Wirral MBE, chairman of the ESU, kindly honoured us with his presence to give a talk on the ‘First Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621’. In 1620 100 Puritans boarded the Mayflower from Plymouth England bound for the New World. The Pilgrim Fathers, as they are now known, landed on 9 November 1620 and named their landing place New Plymouth. Because of the foul weather and the poor housing they built, some forty seven Puritans eventually died. A Native American called Squanto helped the remaining puritans to sow corn and then to cultivate the crop. The 1621 celebration is remembered as the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, which was to give thanks to God for helping the p of Plymouth colony, survive their first brutal winter. This first feast lasted three days, providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The feast consisted of fish and shellfish, wild fowl, venison, berries and fruit, vegetables, harvest grains and beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating special days and thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought. The pilgrims did not call their harvest festival a Thanksgiving, although they did give thanks to God. To them, a day of Thanksgiving was purely religious. The first recorded religious
day of Thanksgiving was held in 1623 in response to a providential rainfall. The religious day of Thanksgiving and the harvest festival evolved into a single event, a yearly Thanksgiving, proclaimed by individual governors for a Thursday in November. Later, the custom of an annual Thanksgiving celebrating abundance and family spread across America. Unsurprisingly, while not all Native Americans celebrate the day, the story of the pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe sharing a harvest celebration remains an inspiration to many. Thanksgiving celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, when during the Civil War, president Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, 26 November.
Regrettably the Bradford document was lost after being taken away by the British during the War of Independence. Later it was rediscovered in 1854 and since then the turkey has become an integral part of the Thanksgiving day feast. We would like to thank Lord Hunt of Wirral, for being able to take time out from his very busy schedule, to come to Plymouth and present the ESU members with a very enjoyable and memorable afternoon. The Thanksgiving lunch was outstanding, and the Loyal Toast was enhanced by the generosity of the Astor Hotel owner Joseph Louei, who supplied a glass of champagne to everyone for the toast. We thank Joseph for his kind-heartedness, and his staff for all the hard work they put in, to make our day one to remember.
“The turkey is a much more respectable bird and withal a true original Native of North America”, remarked Benjamin Franklin, the scientist and then statesman, who was in favour of making Turkey the national bird, instead of the Bald Eagle. Though there is no real evidence that turkey was served at the Pilgrim’s first ‘thanksgiving’ or harvest festival, through the ages it became an indispensable part of the Thanksgiving ritual. The tradition of turkey is rooted in the ‘History of Plymouth Plantation’, wrote William Bradford some 22 years after the actual celebration. In a letter to England, Edward Winslow another Pilgrim describes how the governor sent ‘four men out fowling’ and they returned with turkeys, ducks and geese.
BRANCHES Taunton When Sir Andrew Burns agreed to talk to the branch on the state of Higher Education neither he nor members could have guessed how topical the subject would be with the universities in his words “facing an earthquake”. As the chair of the Committee of University Chairpersons in the UK, his was a view from the epicentre and the branch could not have been better informed of the situation. By way of introduction, he spoke about Royal Holloway College, whose Council he chairs, describing how Thomas Holloway used his fortune to found an institution for the higher education of women, setting it in a wondrous gothic fantasy based on Chambord and endowing it with an unrivalled collection of contemporary paintings. Queen Victoria was so impressed that she decreed it should be ‘Royal’ and insisted on opening it in 1886. Sir Andrew felt that its foundation illustrated three points that would punctuate his succeeding remarks: higher education has been important in Britain for a long time; non-state funding has played a critical part in its provision and it does not come cheap. He attributed the excellence of British higher education (and he had no doubt that it was world class) to the independence of British universities within broad policy requirements set by the government. But the high quality and expansion of student numbers had driven up the cost remorselessly. Because the funding had come principally from the taxpayer, the budgets could not be open-ended and as concern mounted about the national lack of a skilled workforce and the perceived poor access for the DIALOGUE 66
disadvantaged, the strain began to tell. Already the last government had introduced fees, but they would not have produced enough revenue even without the financial crisis. In its wake, universities face a 40% reduction in state funding. Sir Andrew thought that in the circumstances the undergraduates had got as good a deal in the new fees system as they could have hoped for, but the higher fees will not be enough to fill the £3 billion gap. Although he feared the operation of the law of unintended consequences - the restriction of immigration for example will reduce the important source of income from overseas students - there was a calm acceptance of the formidable challenge to governing bodies and to the committee that he leads. Members came away confident that he and his colleagues would rise to it. The branch held its round of the Public Speaking Competition at Queen’s College, Taunton on the evening of the same day. The Park School, Yeovil team of Ellen Bazeley, Tamsin Eddey and Jeanette Franks won for the second year running with Ellen carrying off the Keith Knott Memorial Salver.
L-R Sir Peter Wallis (president), Robert Lintott (chairman)
The 80 members and their guests who gathered in the Taunton School Old Library on 25 November to celebrate Thanksgiving with a black-tie dinner might have wondered whether hunting Nazi war criminals would go with the turkey and pecan pie. But they need not have worried for the guest of honour was an accomplished speaker well able to transmit the allure and excitement of historical research, particular when it revealed unexpected results. When Guy Walters set out to write his book Hunting Evil, he assumed that the work would be relatively straightforward, starting from the mammoth list of wanted men compiled after the Allied victory and ticking the fugitives off as they were tracked down. But it turned out to be a complex story of false trails, turncoats, misrepresentation and complicit governments that took him to the ends of the earth and 579 pages to unravel. His talk within the hour therefore was a masterly illustrated survey that made sense of the whole scene yet with enough detail and telling anecdotes to tempt the listener into wanting to know more. The fugitives came in a number of general varieties: those who were already dead yet remained a focus of attention for the hunters; those who got away, usually to South America; those who were caught early and those who were caught late; and those who offered themselves as informants, often with elaboratelyembroidered material. The helpers included highly placed churchmen and government officials. The hunters, notably Simon Wiesenthal, were not always what they said they were. It was the stuff of legends that film directors
and novelists found irresistible, particularly the Odessa Myth and a subject that had a fascination that no one present could have predicted. February: Dr Edward Neather on The Mystery of the Origins of Language ‘The Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.’ It was not a sermon, but the starting point of a fascinating talk from Dr Neather, formerly senior lecturer in education at the University of Exeter, in which he traced the search for the origins of language from Herodotus to the latest research. Every language has a birth myth, but as the most recent theories propose that originally there was but one language for the whole of mankind, Genesis is spot on. If there was one language, how is it that now there are perhaps five to six thousand? Back to Genesis: ‘The Lord said, Behold the people is one and they all have one language; and this they begin to do [build a tower to heaven]…. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’ Imaginative, but it did not need divine intervention to bring about the confusion. Dispersal and isolation as homo sapiens moved out of Africa some 60,000 or was it 125,000 years ago would have done the trick, bearing in mind that all communication was oral. Writing is only some 5,000 years old.
Attempts from Herodotus onward to discover the Adamic language foundered on the fact that language is not genetic: you speak the tongue of your parents, natural or adoptive, and you learn it in infancy. Theories of origin abound and Dr Neather skilfully drew members through a range of possibilities from Rousseau’s idea that it all began with verse and singing to Max Muller’s eight headings, but he cautioned that all were theories and that it was a fast moving study revolutionised by archeogenetic studies into, among others, the mitochondrial Eve of 190-150,000 years ago. In addition it was a moving target as new languages evolved in multi-lingual societies through pidgin in the first generation to creole in the second. There was so much to catch members’ interest that they stayed in groups in the lecture room too absorbed in what they had heard to go into lunch.
Two questions have intrigued thinkers and researchers: what was the original language and how did it start?
ESU SEASONAL MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS Kate Bond, Membership and Alumni Officer T: 020 7529 1571 F: 020 7495 6108 firstname.lastname@example.org
ESU events & Dartmouth House
• Use of member-only facilities at Dartmouth House
The Commonwealth Club, 25 Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5AP
• Priority booking on room hire at Dartmouth House • Priority bookings for the Revelstoke Room & courtyard dining • A diverse events programme with special members’ prices
Use the restaurant at the Commonwealth Club in the evening only at member rates. To book a table quote your ESU membership number and the reference ESU10. T: + 44 20 7766 9200
Please call Dartmouth House to book the Revelstoke Dining Room on T: 020 7529 1550.
Ambassador Select www.AmbassadorTickets.com/select – username: ESU password: play
RADA, 62-64 Gower Street, London, WC1
Buyagift.com – 15% discount www.buyagift.co.uk/esu discount code ESU15 Buyagift.com offers a range of over 2,200 amazing gift ideas including once in a lifetime experiences such as Ferrari or tank driving to relaxing spa breaks and balloon flights. Buyagift also provide a range of traditional gifts including fine wine, flowers, hampers and chocolates. You can also book theatre tickets and hotel rooms throughout the UK and some worldwide destinations. T M Lewin Discount vouchers available for members for T M Lewin throughout the UK and online. Offers will change each month. Please visit the Membership Benefits (coming soon) page on our website or contact Kate Bond.
25% discount on the full ticket price. For more details and to book tickets please contact the RADA box office, 020 7908 4800 quoting your ESU membership number. Janet Ginnings Hair & Beauty, 45 Curzon Street, London W1J 7UQ Members will receive 10% discount on production of an ESU membership card. T: + 44 20 7499 1904 or + 44 20 7499 2767 to book. Piano Lessons London members can benefit from a discount on piano lessons with Jeanne Broda. Contact Jeanne on 020 8997 1738 and mention the “ESU offer” for more details. Accommodation
Penhaligons, Burlington Arcade, London W1 - 15% discount
The Chesterfield Mayfair, Charles Street, London
Members will receive their discount on production of ESU membership card.
Reservations: T: + 44 20 7958 7729 F: + 44 20 7491 4793 E: bookch@ rchmail.com Please quote “ESU” to obtain preferred rates.
Mount Street Printers, 4 Mount Street, London W1K 3LW - 10% discount Members will receive their discount on production of ESU membership card. Granta Magazine ESU members receive a special subscription deal for £29.95/year plus a Granta tote bag. Please visit www.granta. com/esu10 for details.
International Students House 229 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PN Please telephone + 44 20 7631 8310 The Lansdowne Club, 9 Fitzmaurice Place, London W1J 5JD T: 020 7629 7200 Weekend accommodation at Guest Rates. Please call Kate Bond who will refer you to The Landsdowne Club in the first instance.
The Naval Club, 38 Hill Street, London W1J 5NS T: 020 7493 7672 ESU members can book accommodation. Please call Kate Bond who will refer you to The Naval Club in the first instance. Royal Over-Seas League, Edinburgh Overseas House, 100 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 3AB. Please telephone + 44 131 225 1501 or email email@example.com University Women’s Club, 2 Audley Square, London W1K 1DB Member’s rates. Please phone + 44 20 7499 2268 quoting your ESU membership number. Please reflect the standards of the ESU in your conduct at our reciprocal clubs. Your ESU membership card must be presented on arrival at all accommodation.
LEAVING A GIFT IN YOUR WILL With your kindness the ESU will be able to continue its work with school children, university students, teachers and young professionals. Your gift will help us develop our existing programmes and create new ones. The ESU has been the fortunate recipient of many legacies over the years. In 2010, alone, we have received £120,000. A professionally drafted, legal Will is the only way to ensure that your property, possessions and savings are left to the people and causes you care about. Some people choose to give directions for their funeral arrangements in their Will. You may prefer that donations be given to your chosen charity in place of flowers, as a more lasting tribute. The ESU would be very grateful to accept such donations and will enter you in our Book of Remembrance. We have recently produced a new document entitled Leaving a Gift in Your Will. To receive a copy please contact Jo Wedderspoon, Director of Fundraising and Development 020 7529 1576 firstname.lastname@example.org
REGIONAL DIARY EAST REGION Cambridge and Welland Valley Friday 15 April, 12.30 pm for 1 pm Shakespeare Birthday Lunch
Thursday 7 April
Local historian, Anne Padfield, talks on the 16th century mansion Hill Hall
Lunch with talk by auctioneer Trevor Cornforth and Mini Antiques Road Show.
All details and availability of tickets from Jacqueline Millington
Wednesday 20 April
Please bring along only small items for consideration.
Visit to Hill Hall and Theydon Mount Church
23 May, 10.30 am
1 Queen Street, Dorchester-onThames, Oxfordshire, OX10 7HR (Stamped addressed envelope please) 01865 340266
Branch Holiday to Galloway
Coffee morning hosted by Mrs Joyce Lee at 185 Burges Road, Thorpe Bay.
Thursday, 2 June
Director of Education, The Globe Theatre
Tuesday 17 May, 10.30 for 11 am
Norwich and Norfolk
Thursday 7 April
Friday 15 April
To commemorate St Georges Day (23 April) at The Bell House, Eaton Hastings, Oxfordshire. Hosted by Felicity Muscott at her new home, an impressivelyconverted 1902 village school with a magnificent bell tower.
The Orangery, Tolethorpe Hall, Nr. Stamford Lincolnshire Guest Speaker:
Bridge Lunch Gretton Village Hall Tickets £14 and enquiries: Mrs Ann Carley, The Red House, Stoke Albany, Market Harborough, LE16 8PN Wednesday 15 June, 6 pm for 6.30 pm Annual Picnic and Play
May 15 – May 20
An illustrated talk by Miss Penny Johnson CBE, Director of the Government’s Art Collection entitled ‘If paintings had ears!’. The Council Chamber (upstairs) at the Radlett Centre, Watling Street, Radlett, 7.30 pm, including coffee and biscuits, £8.00.
Tolethorpe, Nr. Stamford, Lincolnshire.
Tickets available from the Branch Secretary, Fred Thomas on 01923 854608 or e-mail sheilaandfred127@btinternet. com
To be followed by a performance of A Winter’s Tale
Picnic held in the grounds of Tolethorpe Hall,
Tickets from the Tolethorpe Box Office: 01780 756133
Epping Forest 10.15 for 10.45 am
12 noon for 12.30 pm All lunches in “The Restaurant”, Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea, Contact social secretary Sheila Mitchell 01702 553788
Monthly meetings on Thursdays
Murray Hall, Borders Lane, Loughton
Enquiries: Daphne Ruffell 01992 561470 Tickets: Members and visitors £4 including tea/coffee Sunday 27 March Silent Film Phantom of the Opera with soundtrack performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra
Lunch with speakers from the Referenda Society 28 March, 10am Meet at the Salvation Army Training Centre, Castle Lane, Hadleigh for coffee, guided tour and talk.
Lunch followed by AGM
Mr David Boulton, ‘Images of Nature’.
MIDLANDS REGION Birmingham 11 May 6 – 8 pm Literary Supper Gaynor Arnold, Man Booker Prize and Orange nominated Birmingham author, will branch’s next literary speaker at the Birmingham and Midland Institute. A light buffet supper will be served. Gaynor Arnold’s novel Girl in a Blue Dress was called “a fine work of imagination and compassion” by the Daily Telegraph whilst the Independent calls Ms Arnold’s newly published collection of short stories, Living Together, “beautifully written and deeply perceptive”. Birmingham members will receive full details of the event by post/email. Anyone wishing to buy tickets please keep an eye on the Birmingham branch section of the ESU website or contact acting branch Chairman Steve Roberts – email email@example.com telephone 01780 460777.
Sunday 15 May, 11 am (please note time!)
Food by our own celebrity chef, Lou Smith: Bucks Fizz, Bacon Butties and Beautiful Cake. The Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Band – sponsored by the Gloucestershire Branch for the last several years – will be playing. Ticket includes all food and drink. Tickets strictly limited. Apply now. Sunday 10 July, 12 pm Summer Garden Party, at Orchard House, Dumbleton, Gloucestershire. By popular request, a return visit to the garden and home of Gloucestershire Committee Member, Jenny Hunter. Lou Smith will again be creating the sumptuous buffet luncheon and The Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Band will be playing background music, and, as before, quite a number of the toe-tapping guests will take their partners to dance! Ticket price includes, a welcoming glass of wine and lunch. Ladies: hats! Tickets limited. Apply now.
Sunday, 5 March, 12 noon Midland Regional Final of The Public Speaking Competition for Schools, in The City of Birmingham Council Chamber, by kind permission of The Lord Mayor. Admission free. Please come! Hear the excellence of the youth of The Midland Region. Details from Maureen Murphy tel: 01242 863023 Saturday 7 May (time to be confirmed) The UK Final of The Public Speaking Competition for Schools at The Grey Coat Hospital School, London. Details from Dartmouth House.
NORTH EAST REGION Lincolnshire
Brighton and Hove
Meetings 2 for 2.30 pm at The Hove Club, 28 Fourth Avenue (opposite Hove Town Hall).
Spring Dinner at Royal Air Force College Cranwell with Guest speaker Matthew Parrris. Tours of the College will be available before dinner. Further information will be sent out shortly but please call Geraldine Richardson- Eames whose contact number and email are above. There will also be an event in early July for Lincolnshire Branch travel scholarship award winners to talk to members about their experiences over the last year. Further information will be provided for the next dialogue
Oxfordshire Tuesday 12 April 12 noon – 3 pm Ploughman’s Lunch with Talk Guest Speaker: Air Commodore Bob Martin CBE ‘D-Day Dodger to Diplomat’ Venue: Priory Room, Christ Church College Tickets: £12.50 (to include a glass of wine)
NORTH WEST REGION Mid-Cheshire Contact : Valerie Mais 01606 76534 email : firstname.lastname@example.org. uk
Lunch Meetings at Portal Premier Golf Club, Forest Road, Tarporley Cheshire
Friday 6 May, 6.30 pm at 14 College Road, Malvern. AGM
Tuesday 12 April
Tickets from Mrs Jean Davies, 23 Oakfield Road, Malvern WR14 1DS, 01684 560068. SAE please.
Presentations by two of our Gap Year Sponsored Students Saturday 19 March
Tuesday 10th May Tour of Stockton Bury Gardens, Kimbolton, Nr Leominster. Splash Car Park at 10:30. Tickets £30.00 (Coach fare, tour of gardens, and lunch included). 30 Tickets only.
Mid-Cheshire Branch is hosting the North West Regional Final of the Public Speaking Competition for Schools at Grange School, Hartford, Cheshire commencing at 3pm
12 noon for 12.30 pm
Tuesday 17 May Summer Coach Outing to The Wedgwood Museum Saturday 18 June Summer Event to raise branch funds for sponsorship schemes
SOUTH EAST REGION
Contact: Arthur Collins on 01273. 307335 or email esubrighton@ gmail.com Tuesday 15 February ‘Gandhi in Brighton (and elsewhere)’. A talk by Dr. Peter Bishop, author and teacher of Indian religions and history. Tuesday 15 March ‘British Film Stars: From the Turn of the Last Century to the present day’. A talk by Patricia Warren, British film historian and author Tuesday 12 April, 5.45 for 6.30 pm ‘The Festival of Britain, 1951’ To mark the 60th anniversary which proved such a tonic to the war-weary nation, historian Colin Manton will revive it in our minds.
Canterbury and East Kent Monday 21 March, 6 pm
Saturday 7 May AGM Senior Common Room, Rutherford College, University of Kent. Coffee 10 am, meeting 10.3011.30 am, followed by talk. Dr Peter Livesey on ‘Life as a GP’ lunch 12.30 pm Tickets £12 in advance only, to include lunch. Talk only £7 Sunday 10 July, 3.30pm. ‘Strawberry Tea with music’ Music in the Chapel at Salmestone Grange, Nash Rd, Margate, CT9 4BX followed by tea in the Monks’ Kitchen
Eastbourne Branch Thursday 17 March Lunch at the Hydro Hotel. An afternoon with Ann and Robin Gregory Thursday 14 April Dinner at The Royal Eastbourne Golf Club Speaker Glenn Morris ‘The Artic, the Innuit and Climate Change’ Thursday 19 May AGM at the Devonshire Club Speaker: Mrs Hilary Patel
Grass Roots Lecture with Rutherford College, University of Kent, Ann Peerless will speak on the ‘Mughals of India’ admission free.
Saturday 11 June
Saturday 2 April, 5.30 pm
Independence Day Lunch at Chatsworth House, Horebeech Lane Horam by Kind permission of Jane and Douglas Mitchell
Wickhambreaux Parish Church. CT3 1RN Tickets £7 in advance Organ Recital- Dr David Flood, Director of Music, Canterbury Cathedral.
Lunch at Michelham Priory Speaker TBA Monday 4 July
Further information please phone Charles Beal - 01323 439100 or Diane Stuart 01323 419692
West Sussex Contact: Branch Secretary Elizabeth Brooks, 01243 378900 Tuesday 11 January Lunch at 12 noon for talk at 1.30 pm. The Barley Mow, Walderton Andrew Shaxson ‘The South Downs National Park’. Tuesday 8 February 2pm Edes House, Chichester. Schools Public Speaking Competition. Monday 14 March Lunch at 12 for talk at 1.30 pm. The Barley Mow, Walderton Barry King Smith ‘Tibet and Back’. Saturday 16 April 11.30 am Pre-lunch Drinks at Corner House, Bury Tuesday 10 May 10.30 am A visit to the National Seed Collection. Wakehurst Place.
22 July AGM and talk 7 July Visit to Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 8 August Visit to Strawberry House, Twickenham Details for London Members are included in the London newsletter. For any other members, details can be obtained from London Region Secretary Don Miller – email email@example.com
Tuesday 21 June
Bath and District
Visit to Oxford with guided tour of the Oxford
Lunch and Speaker at the Bath & County Club. Speaker: Major General R.A.Pett, CB, MBE, DL, FRSA
University Press Museum. Free time for self-purchase lunch and visit to Ashmolean etc. Coach leaves Bath Coach Station at 9am and arrives back in Bath about 6pm.
Subject: ‘Communication - Art or Science’
Cost £17 and non-members £19*
12.15 for 1 pm Lunch. 2 pm Talk.
*The extra charge for NonMembers is a voluntary donation to our Scholarship Fund.
Friday 18 March
Cost: £21 and non-members £23 Tuesday 19 April Gala Lunch and Speaker at Huntstrete House, Pensford Speaker: Dr Alan Borg
Subject: ‘The Knights of Malta from Jerusalem to Clerkenwell’
Dr Alan Borg is an art historian and former Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Contact: Derek Morgan 01656 669129 Tuesday 12 April Guest speaker Mr Chris Mullin Thursday 23 June
SOUTH WEST REGION
Evening Garden Party at the home of Sir Geoffrey and Lady Inkin
1pm Lunch. 2pm Talk. Cost: £35 and non-members £38 (includes a glass of wine at reception and lunch) Maximum 40 places. Thursday 26 May Annual General Meeting at the Bath & County Club
Speaker: David Fall
Talk by John Bly with tea
Subject: ‘The demise of the water buffalo: perspectives of change in Thailand and Indo-China since the 1970s’
9 June Lunch and Matinee at the Globe All’s Well that ends Well
SOUTH REGION Salisbury 21 March ‘Eastern Europe: Crossing the Frontiers of Faith’. Revd Donald Reeve. 20 April
David Fall is a former British Ambassador to Thailand and Laos. 6 for 6.15 AGM. 7 pm Talk. 8 pm Dinner.
Bookings for meetings should be made ideally two weeks in advance by post to Mrs Elin Wilson, 22 Northanger Court, Grove Street, Bath BA2 6PE. 01225 334242. Cheques payable to ‘ESU Bath’
Bristol Please note the change of venue for evening meetings – these will now take place in the Apostle Room at Clifton Cathedral. Evening meetings commence at 7.15 pm (unless otherwise stated below) - wine, soft drinks, coffee and biscuits are available. The talk starts at 7.45 pm. Monday 14 February Apostle Room ‘Coast Experiences’ Speaker: Dr Mark Horton, archaeologist and TV presenter. Mark is Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University, a writer and television presenter, well-known for his regular appearances on the programme “Coast”.
Cost: £22 and non-members £24 AGM Free
‘The Roles of an Artistic Director’. Philip Wilson, Salisbury Playhouse.
Exeter and District Monday 7 March Bristol & Clifton Golf Club – Literary Dinner MP and Author The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe, retired MP for Maidstone and the Weald. Reception 6.30 pm, Dinner 7 pm, followed by talk. £20 (Cheques to John Lindley by Friday 25 February). Miss Widdecombe will be signing copies of her book(s).
Thursday 24 February (change of date)
Wednesday 18 May, 2011 (original date, speaker and subject as detailed in November letter to members)
Lunch Meeting: 12.30 for 1pm
Lunch Meeting: 12.30 for 1pm
Speaker: Mick Skelton MBE
Speaker: Professor John Smyth, recently retired Professor of Medical Oncology and Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh
Formerly Principal Doorkeeper, House of Lords Subject: ‘Behind the Scenes at the House of Lords’ This is a joint meeting with the Royal Society of Arts, South West Region
Subject: ‘Modern Cancer Drugs: How shall we afford them’
Wednesday 16 March (as in original programme)
Annual General Meeting 6.30 pm
‘Meet Barry Paine’ - Speaker: Barry Paine
Supper Meeting: 6.30 for 7 pm
Speaker: Sir John Coles,GCMG
Barry is a writer, broadcaster and actor, well-known for his narrations of BBC wildlife programmes.
Speaker: Professor Ludmilla Selezneva
Monday 4 April
Monday 23 May Apostle Room - AGM: 7 pm (sharp). ‘Encounters with Wild Life’ -Speaker: Mr Charles Kinsey. Mr Kinsey was Head of Chemistry at Clifton College; he now lectures on wildlife, conservation and travel. Saturday 18 June Simmer Garden Party at 29 Mariners Drive, Bristol, by kind permission of Tony Williams. 12.30 for 1pm. £12.50. (Cheques to John Lindley by Saturday 11th June)
Professor of History& Politics, Russian State Economic Academy, Moscow. Subject: ‘Modern Political History of Russia - the Transition from the USSR to the Present’ Thursday 14 April (as in original programme) Annual Dinner (Black tie): 6.30 for 7 pm Speaker: Oliver Everett CVO Formerly Assistant Private Secretary to HRH Prince Charles, Private Secretary to HRH Princess Diana and Assistant Keeper of The Queen’s Archives Subject: ‘Buckingham Palace its History, Occupants and Contents’
Wednesday 29 June Supper Meeting: 7 for 7.30 pm Subject: ‘Real Leaders: Changing the Course of Events’
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
BOOK REVIEW_74 Footfalls Echo in the Memory Film Reviews_75 The Tree of Life The Bang Bang Club Red Riding Hood
This personal account of his career is enlivened by a succession of meetings with diverse personalities, including British and Thai royalty, as well as writers like Anthony Burgess, Graham Greene and Willis Hall and actors such as Donald Sinden, Patrick Stewart and Max Adrian.
BOOK FOOTFALLS ECHO IN THE MEMORY BY VERNER C BICKLEY The Education Service was a vital sector of the British Colonial Service while the British Council has been paramount in promoting English language and culture overseas. But are both agents of colonialism and neocolonialism or simply altruistic conveyors of language and culture to a wider world? Verner Bickley was an Education Officer in British Colonial Service in Singapore and a British Council officer in Burma, Indonesia and Japan. Bickley’s accounts are set against a backdrop of political turbulence after World War II, colonial independence movements and the emergence of Japan as an economic powerhouse. His memoir chronicles how the transposition of cultural values though the English language were substantively valued by the exiting colonial powers, as well as being vital for the effective operation of post-colonial interests.
This personal account of his career is enlivened by a succession of meetings with diverse personalities, including British and Thai royalty, as well as writers like Anthony Burgess, Graham Greene and Willis Hall and actors such as Donald Sinden, Patrick Stewart and Max Adrian. Sponsored by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council and published by London-based Radcliffe Press, Footfalls Echo in the Memory is not only a memoir of a career in a world that no longer exists but also a scrapbook of Bickley’s own experiences within it. The author is unapologetic of the attitudes and assumptions of the time, and does not couch the narrative with 21st century revisions. Whilst this may be an accurate portrayal of life at the time, it is difficult to swallow as the conclusion of so much experience. The book proves a fascinating anthropological read, which the modern reader will no doubt take with a pinch of salt.
© Everett Collection/ Rex Features
FILM THE TREE OF LIFE From 27 May
FILM THE BANG BANG CLUB From 1 April
From Terrence Malick, the acclaimed director of such classic films as Badlands, Days of Heaven, The Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life is the impressionistic story of a Midwestern family in the 1950’s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.
The Bang Bang Club was a group of four South African combat photographers who became renowned for their stark depictions of violence during the last days of apartheid. Only two members are still alive today, and the film is based on their memoir. Starring Ryan Phillipe and Malin Ackerman and directed by Steven Silver, the film looks to be a graphic treatment of a country desperate to distance itself from its immediate history, from a unique perspective.
Through Malick’s signature imagery, we see how both brute nature and spiritual grace shape not only our lives as individuals and families, but all life.
FILM RED RIDING HOOD From 15 April In Red Riding Hood, Amanda Seyfried plays Valerie, a beautiful young woman torn between two men. She is in love with a brooding outsider, Peter (Shiloh Fernandez), but her parents have arranged for her to marry the wealthy Henry (Max Irons). Unwilling to lose each other, Valerie and Peter are planning to run away together when they learn that Valerie’s older sister has been killed by the werewolf that prowls the dark forest surrounding their village.
For years, the people have maintained an uneasy truce with the beast, offering the creature a monthly animal sacrifice. But under a blood red moon, the wolf has upped the stakes by taking a human life. Hungry for revenge, the people call on famed werewolf hunter, Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), to help them kill the wolf. But Solomon’s arrival brings unintended consequences as he warns that the wolf, who takes human form by day, could be any one of them. As the death toll rises with each moon, Valerie begins to suspect that the werewolf could be someone she loves. As panic grips the town, Valerie discovers that she has a unique connection to the beast--one that inexorably draws them together, making her both suspect... and bait.
April – August 2011
Tuesday 15 March, 4.30 – 9 pm
Friday 1 April, 4.30 – 8.30 pm
Tuesday 12 April
London Regional Final of the ESU Public Speaking Competition for Schools
England Final of the ESU Schools Mace
Lindemann Trust Fellowship interviews
Wednesday 6 April, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Thursday 17 March, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Meet the Author: Heather White-Smith
Wednesday 13 April, 10.30 am
Meet the Author: Felix Dennis
Heather will give an evening literary lecture on her recently published short work My Years with the Churchills: a Young Girl’s Memories; a book written from the memory of her three years spent working as private secretary to Lady Clementine Churchill at Downing Street from the age of 17.
For the second in our brand new Meet the Author series, the ESU welcomes entrepreneur, publisher and poet, Felix Dennis, who will give a lecture on his new poetry collection Tales from the Woods; 50 poems that give an “impassioned hymn of praise” to nature and the countryside. £10 ESU members, £11 ESU alumni, £12 non-ESU members, to include two glasses of wine/two soft drinks. Contact: Susan Conway Wednesday 23 March SSE 3 term interviews Wednesday 30 March, 12.30 – 2.30 pm Dartmouth House Lunch: James Milton Captain James Milton served as an Army Officer between 1998 and 2007, including three tours in Iraq as an intelligence officer and Arabic interpreter. James’s lunch will focus on ‘Lessons to be Learned from the Anglo-American Intervention in Iraq’. £40 ESU members, £45 ESU alumni and £50 non-ESU members, to include a two-course lunch with wine. Contact: Susan Conway
All events take place at Dartmouth House unless otherwise indicated.
Tickets include two glasses of wine or two soft drinks. There will be a cash bar. £10 ESU members, £11 ESU alumni, £12 non-members Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or email@example.com
Coffee Morning Wednesday 13 April, 7 – 11 pm Easter Gala Dinner featuring creations by Theo Fabergé for the St Petersburg Collection The ESU takes great pleasure in inviting you to our Easter Gala Dinner featuring creations by Theo Fabergé for the St Petersburg Collection. Join us for an exclusive black-tie reception with champagne and canapés from 7 pm, followed by an exceptional five-course dinner. Your host will be Philip Birkenstein, Chairman of the St Petersburg Collection. Philip will give a talk about the history of the Fabergé family and their exquisite creations – of which a magnificent selection will be on display including jewellery, watches and eggs. While coffee is being served an auction will also be held giving the highest bidder an opportunity to own one of these spectacular pieces of decorative art. Tickets include champagne and a complimentary cocktail on arrival, canapé reception, five- course dinner (with wine) and gift. Tables of 10 are available for £1,000. £125 or £1,000 per table of 10 Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 19 April, 6 – 9 pm
Wednesday 4 May, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Saturday 7 May, 12.30 – 4.30 pm
Spring Alumni Open House and ‘secret Mayfair’ Walk
Meet the Author: Professor Peter Stoneley – The Autobiography of Mark Twain
This year, Alumni Open House Evenings are becoming quarterly seasonal events. For our spring event, we welcome alumni to a tour of ‘secret Mayfair’ with independent tour guide and Chair of the City of Westminster Guide Lecturers Association, Richard Reddaway.
Peter Stoneley, Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Reading and author of Mark Twain and the Feminine Aesthetic will shed light on the hidden secrets of the first instalment of Twain’s autobiography, published six months ago at the expiration of the 100-year self-imposed censure, his expectations of volumes 2 and 3, and what we can learn from the author of the ‘Great American Novel’.
The tour is approximately 1 ½ hours long and alumni are welcome to enjoy the bar afterwards. Tickets are free, donations are welcome. Please register your attendance no later than Tuesday 12 April. Contact: Kate Bond, 020 7529 1571 or kate. email@example.com Wednesday 27 April, 6.30 – 8.30 pm or 5.30 pm for dinner in the Revelstoke Restaurant Royal Wedding House Party As the wedding of HRH Prince William to Catherine Middleton approaches, the ESU invites you to an exclusive evening reception on the marbled courtyard at Dartmouth House. Begin your countdown to a weekend of celebration and meet representatives from ESU US, who are jetting into London especially for the occasion. Drinks and canapés will be served from 7 pm and the Revelstoke Room will be open from 5.30 pm for early dinner bookings at additional cost. £20 Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets include two glasses of wine or two soft drinks. There will be a cash bar. £10 ESU members, £11 ESU alumni, £12 non-members Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or email@example.com
National Final of the ESU Public Speaking Competition for Schools Wednesday 11 May, 10.30 am Coffee morning Thursday 12 May, 6.30 – 9 pm Evening Lecture: William Lorimer Aspects and Comparisons of Fine 18th Century Furniture Grandson of architect Sir Robert Lorimer, great-nephew of painter John Henry Lorimer and nephew of sculptor Hew Lorimer, William joined Christie’s furniture department in 1981, relocating to valuations in 1991. He has been a lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies, and a director of Christies Education for over 25 years. In support of the ESU Chilton Art History Scholarship Tickets include a glass of wine or a soft drink. There will be a cash bar. £17.50 Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 13 May
Tuesday 17 May, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Deadline for applications for summer seminars
All Alumni Reunion
Thursday 19 May, 12.30 – 2.30 pm Dartmouth House Lunch: Christopher Martin-Jenkins MBE Christopher Martin Jenkins MBE (universally known as CMJ),is this year’s President of MCC and formerly Chief Cricket Correspondent of The Times, the Daily Telegraph and the BBC, and is one of the most respected figures in the world of cricket, in which he has been immersed for more than 40 years. He continues to write and broadcast extensively about the game and was recently in Australia to witness England’s Ashes’ triumph, wearing both his MCC and journalistic caps. , Christopher will share his thoughts on England’s victory, personal highlights and lowlights of the series, hopes for the future, and answer the burning question– will England ever do it again?
This event is open to all ESU alumni and their guests from our many programmes and broad timeline. £12 ESU alumni, £16 guests Contact: Kate Bond, 020 7529 1571 or kate. email@example.com Monday 23 – Friday 27 May International Public Speaking Competition
Tickets include a two-course lunch with wine. £40 ESU members, £45 ESU alumni, £50 non-members Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
JUNE Wednesday 1 June, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Wednesday 8 June, 10.30 am
Thursday 30 June, 12.30 – 2.30 pm
Meet the Author: Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC
Dartmouth House Lunch: Susannah Fish OBE
A pilot of the 617 Squadron (the ‘Dambusters’), Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC will join the ESU to speak about Lancaster: The Biography, an insightful look into the history of this most famous of aircrafts, the crew that flew and maintained them and even the enemy pilots who were sent to destroy them. Tony will also talk about his experience of flying the Lancaster across the North Sea to sink the battleship Tirpitz and to drop the infamous ‘bouncing bombs’ on Germany’s Ruhr Valley Dam and how the Lancaster has emerged as a lasting icon. Tickets include two glasses of wine or two soft drinks. There will be a cash bar. £10 members, £11 alumni, £12 non-members Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or email@example.com Wednesday 8 June, 10.30 – 11.30 am International at Home Guest of Honour: HE Benedikt Jonsson, Ambassador of Iceland to the Court of St James’s Contact: Annette Fisher, 020 7529 1565 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday 9 June – Sunday 12 June Launch of ESU Iceland Reykjavik See also our ‘On the Horizon’ section Delegate fee £250, flight and hotel not included Contact: Annette Fisher, 020 7529 1565 or email@example.com Wednesday 15 June American Memorial Chapel Travel Grant application deadline
Assistant Chief Constable with Nottinghamshire Police, Susannah Fish currently works at the Home Office where she is the strategic lead for the Government’s Tackling Knives and Serious Youth Violence Programme. As well as the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Criminal Use of Firearms Group, Susannah has professional experience in the Nottinghamshire Police heading the Force Crime Directorate, Force Intelligence Directorate and Serious Organised Crime division and previously in the West Midlands Police. She will use her experience to talk about how society can best deal with violent crime in the wake of the increasing influence of gang, knife and gun culture on young people today. Tickets include a two-course lunch with wine. £40 members, £45 alumni, £50 non-members Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 5 July, 12 pm
Tuesday 12 July
SSE 3-term briefing day
American Memorial Chapel Travel Grant interviews
Wednesday 6 July 1 – 3 pm - Thames Boat Cruise 3.30 – 5 pm House of Lords Tea Party The annual House of Lords Tea Party is hosted by Lord Hunt of Wirral. The event is a perfect start to the summer with tea, sandwiches and cakes on the House of Lords Terrace. This year, for the first time, an exclusive boat trip prior to afternoon tea will set off from Westminster Pier and cruise along the Thames to Greenwich, returning to Westminster Pier at 3 pm. A fully licensed bar is available on board.
Wednesday 10 August, 10.30 am Coffee morning
Wednesday 13 July, 10.30 am Coffee morning Thursday 28 July, 12.30 – 2.30 pm Dartmouth House Lunch: Ed Hicks
£35 for cruise and tea party, £25 tea party only
Ed Hicks, Head of Film, TV and Radio at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), will give a Dartmouth House Lunch on the difficulties of modern day film-making facing actors and directors, the challenges currently facing drama schools training the next generation of actors and an insider’s guide to the well known “tricks of the trade” used in a variety of movie blockbusters.
Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or email@example.com
£40 ESU members, £45 ESU alumni, £50 non-members
Thursday 7 July, 6.30 – 8.30 pm
Contact: Susan Conway, 020 7529 1582 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet the Author: Professor David Crystal The King James Bible and the English Language To celebrate the 400 year anniversary of publication of the King James Bible, Prof Crystal, linguist, academic and author, will give an evening lecture on “the book that changed the world” and its contribution to the development of the English language. The Revelstoke Room will be open for early dinner bookings from 5 pm. This event are free of charge but with a suggested donation to the ESU. Please register your attendance with Susan Conway by Thursday 30 June. This event is in association with the British Council.
ESU Dartmouth House would like to thank all the following individuals, branches and organisations who have supported our charitable activities since the last edition of dialogue: Rohald Anderson Anonymous alumni donor Baillie Gifford Eleanor Bingham Cambridge University Press Michael Claydon David Clinch Anthony Conway Roy Dowson ESU Epping Forest Branch ESU London Region John Fingleton Dr A M Forbes Diana Forrest Fortnum & Mason William Grace Michael Gresk Dr Niroshee Gunasingham Thomas Hoyle Bridget Kennedy Colin McCorquodale Robert Miligan Jonathan Mills William Nagel Deepak Nambisan Sir Colin Shepherd Jean Spiteri Eileen Stannard Andrew Stroud Carol Thomas Barry Tomalin Werner Schutt Heather White-Smith Gabrielle Williams-Hamer Inigo Woolf
If you would like to contribute to the charitable activities of the ESU please contact Jo Wedderspoon, Director of Fundraising and Development T: 020 7529 1756 email@example.com
DONATION Can you leave a gift in your will to the ESU? If you would consider leaving us a gift in your Will, we will be able to expand the work of the ESU in United Kingdom and all over the world. For more information on how your gift could be allocated please contact Jo Wedderspoon, Director of Fundraising and Development 020 7529 1576 firstname.lastname@example.org
Summer 11 the summer issue of dialogue will contain updates on education programmes, news on management changes, results of the annual schools and universities competitions, and listings for events throughout the late summer and autumn.
The English-Speaking Union