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It is a great honour & privilege for me in my capacity as Director-General of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth & Secretary-General of the English-Speaking Union worldwide to send a message of best wishes for the English-Speaking Union of Pakistan theatre event to be held in June 2009. During my time Director-General, it has been an immense pleasure to work closely with the English-Speaking Union of Pakistan. This is an ESU which has contributed both to the international objectives of the English-Speaking Union.

English-Speaking Union annually runs an international Public Speaking Competition and in 1999 Ms Sidra Iqbal was the winner of that international competition that year which was represented by 30 counties worldwide. In addition to this, in November 1997 ESU Pakistan hosted an International Council Meeting in Karachi at which 28 countries were represented by 40 delegates. It was an outstanding and memorable meeting, and particularly because we received the warmth of welcome from your people. I know that the play “Who’s Under Where” will be a great success and we wish you all the very best for the three evenings on which this will be performed.

The Year 2009 is the 91st Anniversary of the English-Speaking Union, Which was founded in London in 1918 to promote understanding and friendship through the use of the English language. The young people who take part in our programmes, nationally and internationally, emerge better equipped to contribute to their society and to a better understanding of the world, by using a shared language to reach across the global barriers. The ESU in London is a registered charity and works in partnership with over 50 ESU’s worldwide, in every continent; most recently we have seen rapid expansion in East Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America.

The International Public Speaking Competition was founded in 1981 and is run annually by the English Speaking Union to promote both cultural enlightenment & education through the English language. This year its 28th Competition was held 73 students from 42 countries gathered to compete in this Competition.

School and university students from Pakistan and around the world, who have won prestigious national public speaking competitions in their own country, participated in the English-Speaking Union’s International Public Speaking Completion in London in a week-long programme of events, culminating in the competition on 21st May 2009 to claim the Grand Final Prize. Our Regional Competition is held before annual event in London, and ESUP undertakes to arrange for two Air Fare Return tickets & send the winner and runner-up to London.The annual Competition not only showcases the highest standard of public speaking by young people from around the world, but also gives the students, an opportunity to understand each other’s backgrounds and cultures.

The English Speaking Union of Pakistan held a Poet Laureate Competition in 2006, which was open to all citizens of Pakistan and also for students under the age of 18 years, to establish standards of literary excellence that reflect genuine merit and artistic skills. A large number of participants from all over Pakistan competed, suffice it to say that well over a thousand entries were received and handsome cash prizes were awarded to the winners in different categories.

Every year, ESU London arranges for Shakespeare Course and Cultural Seminar in Stratford and International Summer Conference at Oriel College, Oxford and some teachers avail of the opportunity from Pakistan to avail these courses.

We regularly arrange for Guest Speakers to come and address our members and their guests/dignitaries. During the coming months, we expect the German Ambassador, Dr. Michael Koch, and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan, Sardar Asef Ali, to visit Karachi and speak on different subjects. This always evokes much enthusiasm and interest amongst the audience, followed by a Question and Answer Session.