The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is an international educational charity which was founded by the journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench in 1918 that aims to bring together and empower people of different languages and cultures, by building skills and confidence in communication, such that individuals realise their potential. With 35 branches in the United Kingdom and over 50 international branches in countries around the world, the ESU promotes a variety of activities such as debating, public speaking and student exchange programmes, runs conferences and seminars, and offers scholarships, to encourage the effective use of the English language around the globe.
The Aims of the English-Speaking Union (as stated on its website) are as follows:
The Union promotes:
provided always that these are at all times pursued in a non-political and non-sectarian manner.
These aims are taken from the ESU's Royal Charterwww.esu.org
The Danish branch was founded in 1991 by the late Ms Emmy Glud and was headed from 1992 until 2008 by Professor Emeritus Arne Zettersten.
In 1997, Princess Alexandra (now Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg) kindly agreed to become the patron. To mark this, the finals of the annual Public Speaking Competition in 1997 was celebrated with a Gala evening with well-known Danish entertainers. The guest speaker was the acclaimed British actress, Dame Patricia Routledge, who paid homage to the English language.
In 2011 the 20th Anniversary was celebrated at a Gala Dinner at Sølyst, at which the guest speakers were Patroness, HE Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, the Director General of the ESU, Dame Mary Richardson,the British Ambassador, HE Mr Nicholas Archer and the winner of previous PSC finals. Entertainment was provided by Eurovision Song Contest Winner, Jørgen Olsen, who had been a PSC judge on several occasions.