The ESU brings together and empowers people of different languages and cultures. They work principally with young people in the UK and internationally, helping them to gain the skills and confidence in communications to reach their full potential. Worldwide, their members and alumni engage in dialogue and the exchange of ideas and opinions using English as a common language.
Winston Churchill was Chairman of the ESU from 1921 to 1925 and The Churchill Lecture is the most prestigious event in the annual programme of the ESU. Speakers in the past have included Ronald Reagan, HRH The Princess Royal, Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland, Dr Henry Kissinger and Lord Patten.
The ESU run a wide range of educational and cultural programmes, from scholarships for school leavers, teachers and professionals, to ground-breaking speech training and competitions. They are also a vibrant membership organisation, with over thirty five branches in the UK (and five thousand members) and over sixty ESUs internationally, all operating autonomously and supported centrally from Dartmouth House. Their international network helps to deliver, amongst other programmes, their International Public Speaking Competition which involves over 40,000 young people in fifty countries each year.