English-Speaking Union Opens Season With Author Jim Dodson
The English-Speaking Union (ESU) of the United States is a non-political organization, whose concept originated in 1918 seeking to continue the close relationship that evolved during World War I between the United States and England. Membership grew quickly and by 1920 numerous branches had been established in both countries. Today there are more than 80 branches active in the United States and in 50 countries around the world, including Sri Lanka, Argentina and Pakistan.
The Sandhills Branch was founded in 1980 with an annual membership numbering nearly 300. All residents of the Sandhills are welcome to join the branch and participate in its many educational, entertaining and culturally enriching activities which benefit both the membership and the community. Programs and activities include teacher scholarship awards for expense-paid summer studies programs in renowned UK Universities.
The branch also sponsors Shakespeare and speech contests for high school and community college students with winners attending National contests in New York or London.
The ESU dinner meetings are black-tie dress affairs that occur at the Country Club of North Carolina on the second Wednesday of each month from October through April, with a break in December. The meetings begin with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6 p.m. Dinner is served at 7 p.m. with the program beginning at 8 o'clock.
The speaker for the kickoff of our formal program year on Oct. 11 is golf humorist, Jim Dodson, the author of several books and many articles which appear in national publications including Golf Magazine, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and The Pilot. His topic for the evening will be "Golf and Gardening; A Sandhills Potpourri."
The speaker for the Nov. 8 dinner meeting is Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese, Ph.D. who, at the present time, serves as professor and chairman of the Department National Security Decision-Making at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. She is a national security expert in the political intricacies of Asian nations with a major focus on the space programs found in China and Japan. She also holds an adjunct teaching appointment at Harvard University and maintains a faculty position at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France. Her topic for the evening will be "U.S. Strategic Communication with China: What Message? Why Does It Matter?"
After a December holiday break, Dr. Elliott Engel, who always performs to packed audiences at ESU meetings, will present the program "King Arthur" on Jan. 10. Like his literary muse, Charles Dickens, Engel is a writer, who has published seven books, a number of articles and essays and three plays. Several cassette recordings of his prior presentations are available in the Given Memorial Library. He lectures as many as 250 times each year, both in this country and abroad.
The Feb. 14 dinner speaker is Dr. Larry Ellis, the associate minister at the Village Chapel in Pinehurst. A native of Tennessee, Ellis graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in English literature. His presentation is titled "Death, Sex and Religion," and his focus will rest upon the work of the 17th-century poets, particularly Donne and Herbert. These often-misunderstood poets were men of their time and some of their lives and exploits may seem strikingly modern. Ellis will explain Donne's daring use of sexual metaphor in his early love poetry, as well as his later literary preoccupations with death and the issue of mortality that underlie some of his best work.
On March 14, the ESU welcomes David Allen, who has had a distinguished career with both BBC radio and television. As an author, he has written books on cricket, boxing and wine! As a producer, he has been involved in wide-ranging activities from opera to variety shows to documentaries. He has lectured extensively in the UK and Europe as well as Australia and Asia, receiving standing ovations. His ESU topic will be "An Englishman in Hollywood." He conducted interviews with legendary film stars and directors, including Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, Rosalind Russell, Yul Brinner, Dudley Moore and Billy Wilder.
The ESU formal dinner program year ends April 11 with a presentation by Dr. Theodore Leinbaugh, an authority and distinguished scholar in the field of medieval English literature. In 2003, he was awarded membership in the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. He will speak on the subject of "Aelfric, Beowulf and Grendel: Medieval Literature for Today." After receiving his doctorate and teaching at Harvard, Leinbaugh moved to UNC where he has taught for the past 20 years and holds a Bowman and Gordon Gray Professorship and has been recognized for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
Those wishing further information on joining the Sandhills/ Pinehurst Branch of the English-Speaking Union should call membership chairperson Jane Galan at 215-5645 or Sue Caperton at 215-0684.
There are still memberships available at $75 per person.
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