About ESU



The English-Speaking Union believes every child should be able to make their voice heard. We believe that the ability to progress and thrive in life relies on oracy - speaking and listening - skills, which are not currently a prominent part of school curriculum. Our debating, public speaking and cultural exchange programs help young people to engage with the world, to speak more confidently and to listen to, and understand, different points of view. These skills improve young people's emotional intelligence and social skills and help them to live their lives to the fullest.



The English-Speaking Union was founded in 1918 at the end of the First World War by Sir Evelyn Wrench, who believed that “…the peace of the world and the progress of mankind can be largely helped by the unity in purpose of the English-Speaking democracies.” Sir Winston Churchill was an early Chairman whose command of the English language is universally recognised and changed the course of world history. Since then, it has grown into a world-wide organisation operating in over 50 countries, promoting international understanding through the ever-increasing use of the English language.



The English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth is a registered UK charity. It is governed by a Royal Charter granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (RIP) in 1957. His Majesty King Charles III is Patron of the ESU and Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal serves as President, having in 2011 succeeded her father (RIP), His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.
HRH Princess Anne is a regular attendee of UK and international events and in 2018, in celebration of ESU´s Centenary, she met the participants of our International Public Speaking Competition at a reception at St James´s Palace (the most senior Royal Palace in the UK) and was also present here in Santiago de Chile for the award ceremony of the Chilean participants in the Public Speaking Competition and Teacher Oracy Award.

The Official Launch of The ESU Chile

The English-Speaking Union Chile (ESU Chile) was legally established as a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation under the terms of Nº1322 on 21st March 2005. ESU Chile was officially launched by its first Chairman, Richard Collingwood-Selby, at a ceremony at the British Ambassador’s residence in Santiago, on 23rd October 2006. This event was hosted by the then British Ambassador, Mr. Richard Wilkinson, and in attendance were the previous Chairman of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth, Lord Watson of Richmond, the Director-General of the ESU, Mrs. Valerie Mitchell, and 35 delegates from ESU branches from several countries.



Richard Collingwood-Selby, our first chairman, was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for the outstanding results in establishing ESU Chile and in celebration of the first committee of dedicated volunteers.

Richard Collingwood-Selby, our first Chairman, shares some memorable moments from ESU.

ESU International

The English-Speaking Union was founded in the belief that more effective communication between nations would lead to improved global understanding and ultimately, world peace. This belief holds true today and there are currently over 50 International English-Speaking Unions established across the globe from Argentina to Yemen.
The English-Speaking Union runs several diverse and stimulating programs bringing together people from countries from all over the world, including the prestigious International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC), the World Schools Debating Championship, and The International Oracy Award.

International members of English-Speaking Union are expected to attend meetings of the annual International Council and organise a public speaking competition in their country, the winner of which attends the IPSC final in London, England. Many ESUs also run additional programs, such as the debating academy in Malta, English language summer schools in Romania, and English support for new migrant arrivals to the US. The international ESUs are also encouraged to host debate tours. In so doing they can count on visiting support of by expert UK oracy coaches to strengthen the ties between nations and help in embedding speech and debate skills development in classrooms around the world.

In Memory of HRH, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, former President of ESU
HRH Princess Royal Anne, current President of ESU

Our ESU Chile Team

Ana Maria Tomassini



After studying to be an English teacher and earning her Master’s Degree in Political Science, Ana Maria began teaching 7th and 8th grades at Villa Maria Academy in 2004.  By 2007, she was the temporary Head of the English Department. Over the next 2 years she moved on to become Vice Principal (2008), then Principal (2009).  Ana Maria served as Principal for 10 years then assumed the role of Executive Director of a group of 6 private Jesuit schools in 5 different regions of Chile.

Ana Maria joined ESU in 2007 while coaching the Villa Maria debate team. After volunteering for many years in different positions and committees, she is now our current Chair. She has a passion for debating, evident in her involvement as the lead organiser of our annual Debate Tournament, and a love for reading that she rarely gets to enjoy unless on vacation.

What Ana Maria hopes the ESU can achieve in the coming years is to have more volunteers come on board that are enthusiastic about education and bringing English-promoting activities to students. She aspires to reach more schools around Chile, especially those with limited access to English, so that every student has an opportunity to enjoy the many benefits of learning the language.

Jacinda Forster


Young Learners Coordinator


An Oregon native who has lived in Chile for the past 18 years, Jacinda Forster has a combined 20 years’ experience in teaching and coordinating teachers. She is married to a Chilean, mother to 5 ½ year old boy-girl twins, and currently a 6th grade teacher at Villa Maria Academy. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in English and Spanish from Santa Clara University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Portland.

After identifying the need to get younger students involved in oracy, Jacinda initiated the Poetry Recitation Contest. Not having any other event like this at the time, she spoke to ESU and was invited to become part of the team in 2012.  She has helped coordinate the contest ever since.

Jacinda believes communication in general is a life skill that all students need and wants to provide them with opportunities to build oracy, which will be invaluable for them in the future. She loves seeing children seize the opportunity to speak in front of an audience for the first time and believes that participating in the ESU Poetry Recitation Competition is a first step towards becoming an effective confident speaker.

Colin Rogers



Colin Rogers was born in Chile and educated at the Mackay School in Viña del Mar. He later went on to earn a degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in History at the Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. A Jack-of-all-trades, he has worked in a variety of different industries in the business world, including tobacco, confectionery, wine, and financial services before moving to academic management as the Dean of Undergraduate Schools at his alma mater, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez. Colin has also been an all-round sportsman playing football, rugby, cricket, tennis, and even hockey for the Chilean national team in the 1970s.

Colin recently joined ESU as our Treasurer in March of 2021 and has quickly integrated with our team. What drives his involvement in education is the wide array of possibilities that ESU can provide to young people, particularly to those that, by the strength of their willpower and sheer doggedness, and despite the odds against them, manage to overcome the restrictions that leave many out of the game. He believes that through the command of the English language, young people can make progress in their life, find a voice of their own, and surpass even their wildest expectations.

Ignacio García

Legal Advisor


Throughout his childhood, Ignacio García attended international schools in many different countries throughout South America, including Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and Ecuador. A Chilean with family ties to Spain, he studied Law at the Universidad Católica and earned a Master’s Degree in Law in Germany. After graduating he started working for an international law firm, and later joined a local firm, where he works mainly for international clients. His wife became a teacher at an ESU member school, Villa Maria Academy. He currently teaches International Law at Universidad Católica and Universidad de Los Andes.

Ignacio started collaborating with ESU after a former Chair invited him to join and is currently acting as Secretary to the Board and Legal Advisor, making sure our non-profit runs smoothly and without obstacles. He was eager to get involved in ESU since the activities and events that were put on reminded him of his academic experience growing up.  He believes that the English language will help the younger generation, and that communication is the way to a better world. Ignacio enjoys observing the progress of young people using language.  He believes that the English language is a vehicle for young people to know other cultures, make friends, and travel.

Lynnann Lovejoy

ESU Chile EVENTS Manager


Lynnann Lovejoy was raised in Wisconsin USA.  In her early years she attended, and later worked at, Girl Scout camps where, among other attributes, she developed her love for singing around a campfire. She earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Wisconsin with a major in Elementary Education and a minor in Children’s Theatre and went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Portland State University, earning additional endorsements in Media Centre Education, Students with Special Needs, English as a Second Language, and School Administration.

Lynnann´s experience in education is tremendous, having worked over forty years in public and private schools around the world, including the USA, Canary Islands, Spain, Bahrain, and Chile. Her most recent contract in Santiago involved working at The International School Nido de Aguilas as Assistant Principal of Early Childhood Centre and Elementary School.

Lynnann first came on board in 2018 as an ESU volunteer judge. Now, she oversees the educational guidelines and procedures for each of our annual events.  The goal being to support and supplement the Chilean schools, private and public, regarding their English Language curriculum provided within the academic calendar.  Each of our annual events encourage inner-school activities as well as networking with other ESU member schools to provide information and resources to teachers and student participants.  Giving opportunities to “Discover Their Voice” especially through our “flagstaff” event.  The Public Speaking Competition is organised by all ESU Chapters including over 50 countries throughout the world. 

Jose Miguel Castro

IT and Innovations Advisor


Jose Miguel grew up in Santiago, Chile and studied at the Andrée English School. After completing a Degree in Computer Science Engineering from the Universidad de Chile, he earned a Master’s in Innovation and MBA at the Universidad Adolfo Ibañez. When not dealing with computers, he is a self-taught guitar and piano player who also loves chess.

Over the years, Jose Miguel has developed a career around technology and innovation, having held positions as Chief Information Officer, Innovation Director, and Product Manager for organisations like Entel, Enaex, Abastible, IBM, and VTR.  Jose Miguel has also taken on the role of entrepreneur and started two companies as well as participated in entrepreneurship programs for Corfo and Startup Chile. Since 2009, he has taught Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategy.

His background in technology and teaching is what he cites as the source of his passion for joining ESU in July 2021 – believing in the power of English language fluency in a connected and changing world. Jose Miguel is proud that ESU helps open the door to more opportunities for students who participate in our events so they can connect, develop, and innovate with people all over the world to make a greater impact on society.

David Bamford



David Bamford was in the engine room of ESU Chile from the beginning, in 2005, and continued to be involved with the organisation until he left Chile at the end of 2010. His involvement owed itself, for the most part, to a number of happy accidents. A self-indulgent taste for public performance led to his devising and running the annual With Great Pleasure event in the British Ambassador’s residence until 2010 (in addition, in that year, two additional manifestations of this event were staged, one in Santiago and the other in the V Region, to help with relief after the earthquake that had occurred in February). 

He was invited to chair the finals of the first ESU Chile Public Speaking competition, then became a fixture in the role. The task of writing for the duologue competition somehow landed on his plate. This led to his claim to having his work performed on a national stage! He also contributed to a similar competition when it was ‘borrowed’ by INACAP, in which context it also ‘went national.’

When David returned to his native UK to retire, he actually made a return to the classroom, to the amateur stage and to the world of writing and poetry, founding a local poetry group, which is currently working on its fourth collection of poetry, to be published during 2022. He has self-published four books: two memoirs, Recollections of a Has-been and Beyond the Chalkface, a series of reflections, Flowers in the Desert, and a collection of poetry, Rhymes (and other sorts of poetry) and Reasons. He is currently working on another book, which he likes to refer to as a ‘miscellany.’

A continuing acquaintance with Philip Ray during the pandemic led to David’s being drawn back into ESU Chile, and he looks forward to further involvement in rebuilding confidence in areas which have become dormant.

British Ambassador´s Residence, Santiago, Chile