The annual general meeting of the English Speaking Union (ESU) is held once a year not only as a gathering of all members to cement friendship, but also to review the activities of the ESU in the preceding year. This year, the meeting was held at the residence of politician and businessman, member ESU, Anwar Saifullah Khan.
The meeting began with a welcome to members by president ESU, Lieutenant General (r) Masud Akram and ‘fateha’ for the soul of recently deceased, long time member, Malik Muhammad Nawaz. The president then gave an account of his two year tenure after the death of his predecessor; his approaching the British High Commissioner Adam Thomson to become the patron of ESU (Islamabad chapter) his acceptance and the two subsequent meetings held at his residence with an interesting programme and dinner. Other monthly meetings have been held in members homes (It is a custom at ESU to accept offers of members to hold meeting at their premises). Apart from these meetings ESU has organised two international debates in the spring of 2011 and 2012. These debates are ordained by the English Speaking Union of London in which many countries of the world participate. These debates were held at the Preston University and ESU stands indebted to the Vice Chancellor, Abdul Basit for promoting these in every way possible.
Other points put before the house were that the month of June is no month to have the AGM. A great many people are way on holiday or otherwise and it was proposed that the AGM be held in next mid September 2013. The next point was the necessity to have more members, so it was proposed that every member should try to enrol a new one. The candidate should preferably be acquainted with the objectives of the ESU and be willing to promote them. “The English Speaking Union is a charitable organization registered in Great Britain. We are an off shoot and manage and function on donations,” he said. “We are not part of any business organisation. The donations come from within and without.” He concluded by thanking Anwar Saifullah Khan for having so kindly and generously offered to host the event and requested Muzaffar Qurashi to present the financial report.
This was done in detail and looked more promising than previous years despite a few unexpected expenses. The meeting was thrown open to questions, answers and suggestions - some practical others not so much but all showing a keen interest in the ESU and its continuity. This despite the fact that a member dropped a bit of a bombshell that he had read the ESU was being ‘disbanded’ in Britain because there were now many forms of ‘English!’ The meeting concluded with thank you’s all around especially to the two female members who are ‘the hardworking backbone of this chapter’ VP Parvin Malik and GS Talat Azim. In the end, donations were given and accepted.
After the meeting an interesting and enjoyable time followed as members interacted with each other and the hostess — not a member of ESU — joined her guests and looked after them before and when dinner was served. Despite members having to work hard at sustaining such groups they should be kept going because they are instruments of bringing a positive change in the social fabric of the country by reaching out and encouraging the younger generation to excel in some way — even if its only in a language. It can lead to many other opportunities for career enhancement; literary pursuits and other forms of self-fulfilment.