English-Speaking Union Discovering Voices Changing Lives Since 1918
                  English-Speaking Union                  Discovering Voices                  Changing Lives                  Since 1918            

English-Speaking Union

Discovering Voices

Changing Lives

since 1918




10th Anniversary !!!!!


Sunday 6th September 2020 at 12.00 noon







« Le Plantagenêt »

Hostellerie de la Croix Blanche



With Musical Entertainment Provided by




“Le Plantagenêt”, Tel :


Although a branch of the ESU France was first established in the Anjou region in 1995, our association as we know it today became active in 2010.  The inaugural general meeting of the ESU Loire Valley took place Wednesday 29th September 2010 at 18h30 at the English Language Library, Angers.

Despite restrictions caused by the current Covid-19 situation, today’s committee could not let the occasion pass without us celebrating together the 10th anniversary of our branch.  Additionally, as this is the first meeting since February, we have another reason to celebrate.



Some of you will remember the welcome we received at the restaurant “le Plantagenêt” in May 2018 when the owners’ daughter, Laure Chabenat, spoke to us about her experience in London as the French candidate at the IPSC.   In June last year, we were given another warm welcome by our hosts when we enjoyed a meal in the sunshine on the terrace with our ESU London Region visitors.

To add to the festive atmosphere on this special occasion, we shall be entertained by Ambak, two musicians whom many of you may recognise from their appearances at various events in the Anjou region.







Apéritif maison et amuse bouche









 Tartare de bar et St Jacques au gingembre,

coriandre et citron vert et huile d’olive




 La Gouline Angevine: tourte régionale aux rillauds, chenin blanc,

champignons, sauce au fromage









 Pavé de saumon à l’oseille, beurre blanc et céleri rave façon risotto




Cuisse de canard à l’orange, mousseline de carottes aux zestes d’orange








 Nougat glacé au Royal Combier et son coulis de fruits rouges




 Fraîcheur de fraises au Coteaux du Layon, miel et menthe fraîche





Two glasses of Loire Valley wine and coffee included.




Cost: 25 Euros per head per members  - 40 Euros per head non-members





Please complete and return with your cheque, payable to ESU Loire Valley to:



Julie Dufour, 47 rue des Bouteilleries, St. Lambert des Levées, 49400, Saumur








Name: ……….………………………………………………………………………………………..


Telephone: ................................Email: ..................................................................................


Names of additional guests: ……………………………………………………………………….


Do you have any special dietary requirements? .....…………………………………………….


Number of members attending                             @ 25€………


Number of non-members attending                      @ 40€………


Total enclosed…………………………..


I can provide transport for ……people/I would like transport from …..……………………….


TOTAL ENCLOSED ……………………………………………….. Euro


For members paying by Bank Transfer please ensure you add the appropriate code to your bank payment.  For example:  ESUSmithSeptember2M2G – John Smith pays for the event in September for himself and partner + 2 non-members.













Nougat glacé














Nougat glacé














Nougat glacé














Nougat glacé









Hostellerie de la Croix Blanche


02 41 51 71 11


The hotel and restaurant are in the main square close to the entrance to the Abbey, which is at the right of the picture.  For parking please use one of the two main car parks: in the rue du Logis Bourbon or near the Centre de Secours where there is an electric charging station.






Happy 4th of July, ESU USA!!!!!!

Congratulations from all of us at ESU France!



Please read the messages from the Chairman of the ESU USA and from the Chairman of the ESU of the Commonwealth


ESU of the United States, Chairman's Message

Global pandemic of unparalleled magnitude, cries against racial injustice are echoing throughout our country and across the nations, and at the same time we remember two seminal events that occurred 75 years ago - the day when American, British and Allied forces combined together in Europe to drive the scourge of Nazism from our planet, and the day when nations of good will met together in San Francisco to sign the declaration that marked the establishment of the United Nations.


Far from being remote acts that adorn the pages of history books, both these events of 75 years ago are central and vital to what we are as an organization and both of them have significance as we face a world that has changed rapidly in six months, and shows no sign of reversal. The ties that bind America to the United Kingdom and to Europe, enshrined in the Atlantic Alliance, Nato and countless associations and affiliations that bring us together, are as necessary today as they ever were. Beware those who would decry or undermine bonds forged in blood in defense of liberty, freedom and tolerance. Our links extend far beyond the shores of Europe and, through our international outreach, the ESU is truly global in its desire for peace and fellowship between all people.


This weekend we celebrate the great national holiday of the United States, Independence Day. Justly proud, justly free and justly independent, the American Colonies set a new direction for the world when they eschewed the traditional norms of feudal governance, and broke new ground. As is often said, America is a 'work in progress' and the Black Lives Matter movement is a stark reminder that inequalities and institutionalized brutality still exist in our society. Our willingness as a nation to confront our inner demons and try, however imperfectly, to make things right is an attitude that is enshrined in America's psyche and which we have shared across the world. It was written in the steadfast determination of those brave men and women who fought in Normandy, and it gave life to the UN Declaration. 


As the ESU of the US celebrates our first century and as America remembers its 244 years as a nation, let us stand together as an organisation proud of our nation and equally proud of our international ESU family. Together, and across the oceans, we can link arms in fellowship and fearlessly face the brave new world that is upon us!


Ambassador Paul Beresford-Hill, CBE

Chairman, English Speaking Union of the United States


ESU of the Commonwealth, Chairman's Message


My greatest disappointment in current restrictions is the cancellation of the 4th July large party in my Cambridge college to celebrate the landmark centenary of the ESU of the United States. But if the Stars and Stripes cannot fly over Magdalene College with 200 or more glasses raised in your honor, I can at least send a message of warm greetings and heartfelt congratulation.


That we share a common language and common values is ever more important to our ESU mission in this troubled world where knowing how to communicate with civility and understanding is too often at a premium. It’s my greatest wish that the ESUs of the US and of the Commonwealth should work ever more closely, revivifying our collaborations and exchanges of views, programs and people. It was during the First World War that Evelyn Wrench conceived the idea of a new organization to promote friendship and co-operation between our countries, a concord vital to the stability of the post-war international order. As we know, with the help of Walter Hines Page, US Ambassador to Britain, Wrench launched the ESU in London in June 1918, and was closely involved in establishing the sister ESU of the United States, with William H. Taft as its first president, in May 1920.


Half a century later, I came to the US for the first time– by an ESU branch-to-branch exchange between New Brunswick, NJ, and Colchester in the UK. Like hundreds of young people before and after, I benefited from the immense warmth and indelible generosity of the American people and an educational experience which transformed my life and stays with me today. By such exchanges – immersions in different cultures which can never be replicated by on-line meetings – and by the extraordinary range of ESU activities and programs to promote speech, debate and greater cultural understanding, we advance the ardent wish of Wrench that ‘international relations should not be left to governments alone’. 

Today, our communities are increasingly and rightly multicultural, and yet are often more polarised. There has never been a greater need to understand different perspectives and opinions within and between our countries and across the world. And in the post-Covid world inequalities and misunderstandings are likely to increase. We all need to listen to and evaluate other points of view; we need to disagree without being disagreeable. The ESU teaches these skills. The need to develop confident, civil communicators and critical thinkers in our ever-changing world has never been more important. Together we can proudly further this cause: my glass is raised. Congratulations and here’s to another and even more successful hundred years….


Professor James Raven, LittD FBA FSA

Chairman, English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth




Join us for the celebration of the centenary of ESU USA

Paris, June 4-5-6, 2020


More information on the ESU France celebration page


This event was cancelled due to the pandemic




International Public Speaking Competition London, May 2019

The six finalists:

From left to right: candidates from the Philippines, Lithuania, China, Australia,  China and Spain.

The winner is the last one on the right: Ennio Campoli Patak.

                The ESU International Public Speaking Competition 2019


The ESU International Public Speaking Competition, now in its 39th year, is the largest public speaking competition in the world, currently involving over one million students in more than 50 countries.  The aim of the finals in London is to help young people to develop skills to become confident communicators and at the same time to encourage understanding and friendships that will last a lifetime.  The IPSC 2019 achieved this for sure.


France was represented at the competition by Eve Bertevas, a pupil at the Lycée Joachim du Bellay in Angers.  Eve was the winner of the NPSC which took place in Angers, 23rd March, organised jointly by the ESU Loire Valley branch, the Bibliothèque Anglophone, Angers, and the Maison de l’Europe, Angers.


Imagine what it must feel like to arrive at Dartmouth House as a teenager from abroad; to enter the impressive lobby with its panelled walls and ornate plasterwork; to climb the double staircase and to be led into an imposing room which is filling up with 50 other young people from around the globe, all of whom, like you, are there to compete against each other.  This is what happens every year when the candidates arrive.  It is a tribute to the staff at Dartmouth House and the team leaders that within two hours of meeting each other these young people are chatting and laughing together and exchanging ideas and stories relevant to their different backgrounds and cultures.


The competition ran from Monday 13th to Friday 17th May.  The opening ceremony took place early evening Monday 13th .  Following supper at Dartmouth House the participants were taken by their group leaders via the underground to their hotel.  Tuesday and Wednesday are busy days when the candidates receive training in public speaking and debating skills from ESU mentors and performance experts at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.  However, it isn’t all hard work.  This year’s itinerary included a guided tour of the Globe Theatre, a sightseeing trip, a visit to the British Museum, an evening spent ten pin bowling and an evening performance of Aladdin at the Prince Edward Theatre.


The prepared speech heats took place during the morning of Thursday 16th.  Eve was one of a group of 8 contestants from Argentina, Mexico, Armenia, Romania, Hong Kong, France and 2 from China.  All candidates spoke on the theme “A Lie has Speed, but Truth has Endurance”.


The impromptu speech heats followed on Thursday afternoon.  For this round, the candidates are given a choice of 3 titles from which they select one on which to base a 3 minute speech.  They are supervised during 15 minutes preparation time with nothing but a dictionary to assist.  One by one, they are ushered into the room to deliver their speech to the three judges in front of an audience of guests, family and friends.


The six finalists were announced on Friday morning: candidates from the Philippines, Australia, Lithuania, Spain, China (2) and Hong Kong.  While other participants and guests relaxed over lunch these young people were busy practising their speeches before walking the short distance to the Royal Institution for the grand finals.  The theme was “Nature is a Common Language”.  The judging panel was chaired by BBC and ITN broadcaster, Jon Briggs, supported by Finia Kuhlmann and Amanda Moorghen.  The candidates were all outstanding but there could only be one winner and one runner up.  The winner was from Spain: Ennio Campoli Patak.  The runner up was from Australia: Justin Lai.  Congratulations to them both and indeed to all the contestants, all of whom were winners of their country competitions.  The standard was simply amazing.  It is an uplifting thought that the world will one day be in the hands of such bright and enthusiastic young people.


To take part in the competition students must be between 16 and 20 years old.  Here in France, we would welcome more competitors, and more teachers, lycées and universities becoming involved.  If you would like more details, please contact president@esu-loire-valley.fr.  If you like working with young people and think you may be able to help with their training, please let us know.  We would be delighted to welcome you on board the IPSC 2020.


Click on the link below to listen to some of the impromptu speeches:




To know more, listen to the 2019 IPSC grand final:



Patricia Curd, chairman of the Loire valley branch of ESU France




    Eve Bertevas, French finalist of the 2019 National Public Speaking Competition

Sabrine Oudjedi Damerdji, Florence Guémas, Anne Milou, Juliette Bontems, Côme Bernier, Maëlle Charlette, Inès El Hattaoui, Titouan Pemzec, Nicolas Gauttier, Mathilde Diron, Eve Bertevas, Simon Martineau.  John Cassini, Lucia Dumont Renard and Frederic Chotard (members of the jury) Michèle Moreau ( Angers city council member) Anne Lebeugle (president of the Anglophone library).

All the participants were given books donated by WHSmith English bookstore in Paris.


National Public Speaking Competition

Angers, March 23rd, 2019


On Saturday, March 23rd, Eve Bertevas, a student from Lycée Joachim du Bellay in Angers, beat 11 other contestants to win the National Public Speaking Competition 2019.

The grand final of the National Public Speaking Competition  in English took place in Angers, organized by the Loire Valley Branch of the English-Speaking Union in partnership with the English Language Library in Angers and La Maison de l'Europe Angers & Maine-et-Loire.

The participants of this year's National Public Speaking Competition delivered a five-minute speech on: Nature is a common language.

Eve will go to London from May 13 to 18 to participate in the international competition with 50 other finalists from 50 countries across the globe.

The semi-finalists will deliver a speech on: “ A lie has speed but truth has endurance”. And the winner of the International Competition who will deliver the best speech on “Nature is a common language” will go to the United Nations in New York!

This event is a great opportunity for this wonderful youth to discover their voices and become empowered citizens.

“If you can speak in this country, you can do anything” said W. Churchill.

Good luck to Eve! Onwards and Upwards!


Discover your voice !

Watch this short video to understand what "ORACY" is all about  and how important it is! 


Watracy is to spe

                                                 WHAT IS ORACY?


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 skillssets: reasoning, and evidence; listening and response, expression and delivery, and orgnisation and prioritisation. Just as numeracy and literarcy 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 soadwriting. Dova it’

IPSC Finalists in London, May 2018.

Beyond competition, it was a matter of global exchange, understanding and friendship!




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
Version imprimableVersion imprimable | Plan du site
© English Speaking Union France