A little bit of history

The English-Speaking Union was founded 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».  an early chairmen was Sir Winston Churchill, whose own command of english changed the course of history.
Since then it has grown into a world-wide organisation operating in more than 50 countries, creating international understanding through the ever increasing use of the english language. 

The English-Speaking Union of the commonwealth is a registered charity. It is governed by a royal charter, granted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1957. Her Majesty the Queen is patron of the ESU and Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal serves as president, having succeeded her father, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired in 2011.

Princess Anne is a regular attendee of UK and international events and in 2018, she met the participants of our international public speaking competition at a reception at St James’s Palace and was also present in Santiago for the award ceremony of the chilean participants. 

The English-Speaking Union Chile (ESU Chile) was legally established as a non-governmental, non-profit-making corporation under the terms of decree Nº 1322 on March 21st, 2005. Our Patron is Her Excellency the Ambassador of the United Kingdom and ESU Chile was officially launched at a ceremony in the British Ambassador’s residence, Santiago, on October 23rd, 2006.

This took place in the presence of the then British Ambassador, Mr Richard Wilkinson, the previous Chairman of the English-Speaking Union, The Lord Watson of Richmond, and the Director-General of the ESU, Mrs Valerie Mitchell, together with 35 delegates from ESU branches in several countries




Richard Collingwood-Selby, our first chairman, was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire)  due to the outstanding results of the first committee of dedicated volunteers.

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

Our Mission

The English-Speaking Union believes every child should be able to make their voice heard. We believe that the ability to progress and to thrive in life relies on oracy – speaking and listening – skills, which are not currently a prominent part of the school curriculum. Our debate, public speaking and cultural exchange programmes 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 attainment, emotional intelligence and social skills, helping them to live their lives to the fullest.

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 54 international English-Speaking Unions spanning the globe from Albania to Yemen.

The English-Speaking Union runs a number of programmes bringing people from different countries together, including our Secondary School Exchange and the prestigious International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC).

All International English-Speaking Unions are expected to attend the annual International Council meeting and to organise a public speaking competition in their country, the winner of which attends the IPSC final in London. Many also run additional programmes such as public speaking and debating academies in Malta, English language summer schools in Romania, and English support for new arrivals in the US. We also encourage International ESUs to host debate tours. In so doing they welcome expert UK oracy coaches to their countries, strengthen links between nations, and help to embed speech and debate in classrooms around the world.

Our Team

After studying to be an English teacher and earning her master’s in Political Science, Ana Maria started part-time teaching 7th and 8th grade at Villa Maria Academy in 2004. By 2007 she was asked to head the English department temporarily. Over the next 2 years she moved on to become Vice Principal in 2008, then Principal in 2009. After being the principal for 10 years, she has now assumed the role of Executive Director of a group of 6 private Jesuit schools in 5 different regions.

Ana Maria joined ESU in 2007 while she started coaching the Villa Maria debate team. After being a volunteer 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 organizer of our annual debate tournament, and a love for reading that she rarely gets to enjoy unless on vacation.

What she hopes ESU can achieve in the next couple 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 can learn the language.

As a member of the hippy generation, inspired by Henry David Thoreau, Bob Dylan and «Easy Rider», Philip developed an early aversion to academia and dropped out of virtually everything! Nonetheless he had a surprising early career as a Sales Manager for Spain of an International Hotel Chain, an inspection engineer in the Oilfields of North Africa, and Commercial Manager for a Language Training Organization in Madrid. This was where he discovered his passion for teaching.

On settling in Chile in 1981, he set up his own language training company, representing BBC English, and in 1996 migrated to Leadership Training, Organizational Effectiveness, and Coaching. As one of the founder members of ESU Chile he was responsible for its first website and Facebook pages.

He was invited to become Vice-Chair of ESU in June 2021. In this role, his initial focus has been to ensure that all internal structures, systems, and processes are updated and fine-tuned to cope with the challenges and opportunities of this «Brave New World». Philip is keen to understand the new needs of our members and adapt our activities accordingly. He loves to share the thrill and excitement of young learners, students and their teachers and coaches as they participate in ESU competitions, workshops, fairs, and other events.

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 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 the same university he had attended. Colin has also been an all-rounder sportsman, playing football, rugby, cricket, tennis, and even hockey for the Chilean national team in the 1970s.

He recently joined ESU as our treasurer in March of 2021 and has been quickly incorporated into 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 -despite the odds against them- somehow manage to overcome the restrictions that leave many out of the game. He believes that through the command of the English language, they can make progress in their life, find a voice of their own and surpass even their wildest expectations.

Lynnann Lovejoy

Activities App Coordinator

Lynnann Lovejoy was raised in Wisconsin, USA with her early years consisting of attending and later working at Girl Scout camps that instilled her love for singing around a campfire. She earned her bachelor’s 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.

Her 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 has overseen the development of the new ESU Activity App to bring about an innovative way for our organisation, and other branches around the world, to provide information and resources to student participants.

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 3 ½ year old boy-girl twins, and currently a 6th grade teacher at Villa Maria Academy. She earned her bachelor’s 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 about it and was invited to become part of the team in 2012.  She has helped coordinate the contest ever since.


Jacinda thinks 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 poetry contest is the first step towards becoming an effective speaker.

Ignacio García

Legal Advisor

Throughout his childhood, Ignacio García grew up attending international schools in many different countries across 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 and believes that the English language will help the younger generation and that communication is the way to a better world. Ignacio has loved seeing the process of kids using language and words and thinks it allows you to know other cultures, make friends, and travel, even if it only be confined to your mind.

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 he 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 being fluent in the English language 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 that they can connect, develop, and innovate with people all over the world to make a greater impact on society.