Creating Global Understanding and Friendship Through English Discovering Voices and Changing Lives English- Speaking Union France 1987 Beatrix de Montgermont Keil Honorary President
Creating Global Understanding and Friendship Through EnglishDiscovering Voices and Changing Lives English- Speaking Union France 1987  Beatrix de Montgermont KeilHonorary President

English-Speaking Union

Discovering Voices

Changing Lives

Oracy is to speaking what numeracy is to mathematics


Oracy is to speaking what numeracy is to mathematics or literacy to reading and writing. In short, it’s nothing more than being able to express yourself well. It’s about having the vocabulary to say what you want to say and the ability to structure your thoughts so that they make sense to others.


Our programmes, competitions and resources are based around four key oracy skillsets: reasoning and evidence; listening and response; expression and delivery and organisation and prioritisation. Just as numeracy and literacy are learnt, so these skillsets must be taught and, crucially, practised in order to develop proficiency.


With employers now rating communication skills as their highest priority, above even qualifications, the ability to express ideas is more important than ever before. Yet oracy receives much less attention in the school curriculum than literacy and numeracy. Indeed, a recent study estimated pupils contributed on average just four words per lesson, while another revealed that children with good communication skills are four times more likely to get five A*-Cs at GCSE.


The benefits of oracy skills go far beyond academic achievement and employability however, they boost a whole range of social, emotional and interpersonal skills, including self-confidence, self-awareness, resilience and empathy. Having the skills and confidence to speak up and believe in yourself has also been shown to enhance our sense of happiness and well-being, preventing the isolation that comes from feeling side-lined. As one of our alumni says, ‘If you teach kids to debate you give them a chance to have their voice heard, and you give them the power not to be ignored’.

Watch this video on the importance of Oracy:







or Oracy is to speaking what numeracy is to mathematics or literacy to reading and writing. Discover more about why it’s so importantliteracy to reading and writing. Discover more about why it’s so important




On Friday 18th May, Johanne Jazmin Tan Jabines from the Philippines won our International Public Speaking Grand Final.

The International Public Speaking Competition Grand Final, took place from 2-4.30pm at the Royal Institution. The finalists, all aged between 16 and 20, spoke on the theme: ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’

The International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC), now in its 38th year, is the largest public speaking competition in the world, involving over 600,000 young people in more than 50 countries.

The final week of the competition brought together the 51 young speakers, each the winner of their own national public speaking competition, to London for a week of cultural exchange and public speaking contests. In so doing, it acts as one of the clearest manifestations of the goals of the English-Speaking Union: providing students with an opportunity to develop the vital skills that enable them to be confident communicators, and promoting international engagement and understanding.

The six other participants who made it into the Grand Final were Harpreet Singh from Hong Kong, Andrew Chanho Kim from Republic of Korea, Alison Ruth Cohen from the US, Xiong Ziqing from China, Kamel Ali Wehbe from Lebanon, and Markus Aksli from Estonia.

Alan Johnson, former Home Secretary and the Chair of Judges at the final, addressed the young people after the final and praised them for their eloquence, confidence and intelligence. He ended with, ‘I think that we have seen some of our future leaders and I'm enormously encouraged by that.’


The 30th anniversary of ESU France and the Centenary of ESU of the Commonwealth was celebrated in Paris on 8, 9, 10 February 2018


This festive occasion was attended by 74 members from the 4 French branches, from Dartmouth House, from UK branches and the international branches of Denmark, Finland, Georgia, Germany, India, and the USA, who gathered together to mark the founding of the ESU of the Commonwealth and of ESU France and to honour its founder and National Chairman, Beatrix de Montgermont Keil.


Thursday, February 8th

The festivities started with a reception at the British Embassy in Paris. The guests were welcomed in the throne room by Lord Llewellyn, the British Ambassador. Beatrix de Montgermont Keil, thanked the Ambassador for hosting this event and said how proud she was to have founded the French branch and to belong to this great organization that brings so many people together.  Lord Boateng, the Guest of Honour and Chairman of the ESU of Commonwealth, Jane Easton and Lord Watson all gave very stimulating speeches honoring friendship and global understanding but also paying tribute to Beatrix de Montgermont Keil for her dedication to the ESU. Jane Easton also presented the programme of the week of celebrations in London, May 14-18, 2018.

Entertainment was provided by Quinn Peeper, ESUUS President, and Michael Harold, member of ESU New Orleans who brilliantly performed a Mozart sonata on the Embassy’s grand Steinway.

The guests were then invited to proceed to the blue room where champagne and canapés were served in a festive and friendly atmosphere.

Friday 9th

A group of 37 met at 3.30 pm for a guided tour of Le Palais du Luxembourg built in 1635 for Queen Marie de Medici. It became home of the Senate in the 19th century. Senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam welcomed the participants near the Grand Staircase. The tour guides explained the history of the building and the institutions of the Upper House. The highlights were the Conference Hall, the Golden Book Room and the Chamber.

After the tour of the palace drinks and French “beignet” were served in the Salon Beige.  It was a very relaxing pause spent getting to know each other and catching up on international ESU news.

Cocktails were served in the Salon Napoleon before sitting down in the Salon Pourpre for a four course dinner with white and red wine.

Lord Boateng, Lord Watson, Valerie Mitchell, and Birte Pallesen from Denmark, all in their speeches eloquently emphasized the close links between France and Britain and congratulated ESU France and Beatrix de Montgermont Keil.  Ulla Ladau Harjulin from Finland presented a golden rose to Beatrix.

Saturday 10th

An English speaking guide conducted a party of 30 on an excellent tour of the Opera Garnier. Sitting in the auditorium in the red armchairs of the stalls to admire the beautiful ceiling decorated by Chagall and the 8 ton chandelier then walking in the 140 meter long Grand Foyer were the highlights of the tour.

Finally a small group had an informal but very friendly lunch in a typical Parisian art nouveau brasserie.

ESU France  would  particularly  like to  thank  all those who came from afar and those who  were  unable  to  attend  but  sent  their  very  good wishes for the occasion. The International Council President, Margaryta Danilko, sent a message of congratulations to Beatrix and all ESU France members. She wrote: ”It is my pleasure to congratulate you on the 30-th anniversary of the ESU France! On behalf of all the international ESUs and my own behalf, please accept my warmest wishes for a memorable anniversary celebration and continued success of the ESU France!


Indeed, the festivities provided an excellent opportunity for all attendees to get to know each other better, to build friendships and share their common purposes of mutual understanding and global awareness.

These celebrations were a manifestation of what the ESU stands for. ESU France is delighted to have brought people together. That is really what it is all about. That is why the English-Speaking Union was set up by Sir Evelyn Wrench. His vision was about individuals coming together, and strengthening the bonds of common, shared humanity, across the various peoples and nations of the world. And in today’s troubled times, we do need to share these values.

ESU France, proud to belong to the great ESU family, will continue to spread these values and warmly thanks those who came and helped to make this such an enjoyable and memorable occasion thus giving hope for a bright future for our organization.

ESU France looks forward to celebrating the centenary of the ESU of the Commonwealth in London in May.

Lucia on behalf of ESU France

Please click on the links below to view the photos of the ESU France festivities :

Reception at the British Embassy.

Guided tour of Le Palais du Luxembourg , Cocktail and dinner at Le Sénat :



French National Public Speaking Competition 2018, International Public Speaking Competition, London 2017; National Shakespeare Competition New York  2017; ICM Tbilissi, 2016.... read write-ups and view pictures below






National Public Speaking Competition

Angers, March 24th, 2018

The French national final took place in Angers last Saturday 24th March from 2 to 5.30 pm organized by The English Speaking Union Loire Valley and its partners Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers and La Maison de l’Europe Angers & Maine-et-Loire.


This competition, which is also a community event, represents a unique opportunity to celebrate oracy using the English language.  It also offers all participants a medium to develop confidence, to discover their voices, to be empowered, to broaden their horizons and to realize their full potential.


The opening introductory words were given by Frederique Drouet d’Aubigny on behalf of Christian Gillet. Marie-France Roland, President of the English Language Library in Angers, welcomed the judges and the audience. Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, vice-president of ESU France introduced the international association and congratulated the organizers and the participants. Roy Powell the chairman of the competition introduced the candidates and explained the rules.


This year, twelve students from Lycées Sainte-Agnès, Joachim du Bellay, Saint-Martin, Sacré Coeur and Joachim du Bellay in Angers, Lycee Saint-Louis in Saumur and Lycee Jacques Prévert in Taverny Val D’Oise, competed in Les Salons de la Présidence du Conseil Départemental de Maine-et-Loire in Angers, in front of a large audience which included, Frédérique Drouet d’Aubigny, Michel Guillaneuf, Président d’Honneur de la Maison de l’Europe, ESU Loire Valley members, The President and the Director of the Bibliothèque Anglophone d’Angers, Marie France Roland and Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau, Patricia Curd, President of ESU Loire Valley, teachers, families, and friends of the participants as well as the members of the partner associations.


This year’s theme was : “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”.


The judging panel was composed of Mr Fredrick Chotard, IA-IPR in Académie de Nantes, Dr Lucia Dumont Renard, former President of the ESU International Council and Vice-president of ESU France; and Jerome Woodford, retired consultant to the European Commission. 


The speeches delivered in many styles and from various perspectives were outstanding and the judges’ task was difficult. The speakers persuaded, informed, inspired and captivated the audience and the adjudicators, tactfully including evidence, facts, figures, emotional personal stories and histories. They answered the adjudicators’ questions with aptness and sometimes humour. The jury congratulated all the participants. They are all winners.


First place in the competition this year went to Laure Chabenat, a pupil at the Lycée Saint Louis in Saumur. Her speech title was: “Future Rhymes with Culture”. The runner-up was  Laurine Vinçon (Lycée Sacré-Coeur, Angers) whose speech title was: ” Passport for the Future”. The third place went to Laura Traczyk ( Lycée St Martin, Angers) who spoke about “ We are the Architects of our own Future”.

All the participants were given books, dictionaries and CDs in English donated by La Maison des Langues in Paris. They were much appreciated. ESU Loire Valley and its President, Patricia Curd extend their most enthusiastic thanks to Editions Maison des Langues.


Following the announcement of the winners by Frederic Chotard, Michel Guillaneuf, Honorary President of the Maison de l’Europe Angers et Maine-et-Loire thanked the candidates, the judges, and the organizers for their contributions to a rewarding and enjoyable afternoon. 

We send Laure Chabenat our best wishes for success in the next level of this public speaking competition and for a truly worthwhile experience in London from May 14 to May 18 with 50 ESU international friends.  Her stay in London will be rich with incredible encounters, a unique opportunity to realise her full potential, a valuable platform for exchanges and a fertile soil for developing skills in communication: an undeniable asset in our media-centred world.


The theme for the next round is: “Great Artists have no Country”.


We address warm thanks to the organizers, the teachers and the fantastic young participants who will become confident communicators, critical thinkers, and empowered citizens. They are our future.

Participants in the International Public Speaking Competition, London, May 2017
Kate Burton, Adjudicator ( Chair), Ogechi Egonu ( Winner of the national Shakespeare Competition, New York May 1st, 2017), Lucia Dumont Renard, President ESU International Council
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