WSDC 1999: London, England
Host: The English-Speaking Union
The competition was organised by The Centre for International Debate and Communication Training, part of The English-Speaking Union. The ESU is an independent, non-political, educational charity, founded in 1918, with members throughout the UK, the USA and over 40 other countries. Its purpose is to promote international understanding and human achievement through the widening use of English as the language of our global village. As we enter the 21st century, English is positioned as the increasingly shared language of an interdependent world. For millions it is the key to personal achievement in the arts, business, politics and technology. The language has never been more needed, its uses more varied, its contribution to international friendship and co-operation more vital.
The ESU's response is to work through people-to-people exchanges, scholarships, speaking competitions, conferences, and national and international programmes made possible by the generosity and interest of its members worldwide.
The ESU and Debating
The Centre for International Debate and Communication Training was set up in 1995 to coordinate the ESU's speaking activities, in particular our five major competitions: the Schools Mace Debating Competition, which involves over 500 schools in England and Scotland; the Schools Public Speaking Competition; the John Smith Memorial Mace (the British Isles Universities Debating Competition); the International Public Speaking Competition; and the National Mooting Competition. The British Debate Squad Scholarships have allowed top student speakers to perform demonstration debates and workshops in Portugal, Israel, Japan and the USA - where teams have been sent annually on the American Debate Tours since 1922. Since 1993 the ESU has supported the England Schools Debating Team sent to World Championships in Canada, New Zealand, Wales, Australia, Bermuda and Israel with notable success, reaching the Grand Final three times and winning the title twice.
Based at Dartmouth House, the International Headquarters of the ESU, the Centre also offers a programme of workshops run by staff members and volunteers, which have taken place around the UK and in Portugal, Japan, Argentina, Georgia, and Hungary. Our Page Memorial Library houses many learning materials for communications students and academics, while our own publications include the Schools and Universities Debating Handbooks, the Public Speaking Handbook, and Pros and Cons: A Debater's Handbook.
The ESU offers a number of scholarships for study abroad, including the Secondary School Exchange programme in which British students may study in American high schools (and vice versa) for a year prior to university. Our Capitol Hill Exchange Scheme allows undergraduates to be placed with Senators in Washington, D.C., and with MPs in Westminster. British teachers are given grants for study tours of the USA while teachers of English from overseas are brought to the UK. The Duke of Edinburgh ESU English Language Book Award is made annually to the publisher and author of the best book on the learning and teaching of English.
Guildhall, where the Grand Final of the World Schools Debating Championships will be held - normally the headquarters of the Corporation of London and the official base of the Lord Mayor of London - is also the venue for the annual Churchill Lecture given by a prestigious international speaker - including, in recent years, Ronald Reagan, Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, Mary Robinson and Henry Kissinger. Many other lectures have been given by celebrities such as Anthony Hopkins, Judi Dench and Diana Rigg to raise support for books or for our music and drama scholarships.
Finally the ESU organises several annual conferences including the Branches' Conference for ESU members, the Cultural Seminar to highlight issues in the arts, the International Summer Conference focussing on British policies and institutions, and the triennial World Members' Conference.
The English-Speaking Union
Promoting international understanding through the English language
37 Charles Street
London W1X 8AB
Tel. +44 171 493 3328
Fax +44 171 495 6108
Patron: Her Majesty The Queen
President: HRH The Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh KG KT
Vice-Presidents: The Rt. Hon Tony Blair MP The Rt Hon. William Hague MP The Rt Hon. Paddy Ashdown MP
Chairman: The Baroness Brigstocke Director-General: Mrs Valerie Mitchell
Deputy Chairmen: Mr Alan Cox and Professor Alan Watson CBE
Chairman of National Council for England and Wales: Mr Peter Sparling
The English-Speaking Union is a Registered Charity No. 273136
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