an independent educational organization, based in London and with branches in many countries across the world. It was started in 1918. At first its aim was to help the peoples of Britain and the US to become closer, but it was soon decided to include people of other countries where English is spoken. The English-Speaking Union promotes the effective use of English as an international language of communication, organizes social events, lectures, etc., and helps young people to travel and study. It is famous for the public speaking competitions that it organizes in schools and universities.