” It gives me pleasure to share a few moments with you on the occasion of this annual dinner, hosted by the English Speaking Union.

Each year is a new challenge for all of us and I am sure that the President and Members of the English Speaking Union must have spared no effort to enhance the propagation and use of English Language. A word of praise must go to Ms Sharmilla Bhima, who because of professional commitments, had to resign as President of the Union on 4 th of this month. She has been working selflessly for the Union since quite a long time, and hope she will continue to extend her help as and when possible.

My best wishes go to the newly elected President, Mr Mohamad Vayid, whom I know since a very long time, and am sure he will take the English Speaking Union to still greater heights.

It gives pleasure to learn that the Union has been instrumental in furthering the importance and widespread use of the English Language. Regarding the achievements of the Union, the National Public Speaking Competitionhas again been a success, with a considerable number of participants. This year has seen the success of Mr Shaun Payen from “Collège du Saint Esprit”. Mr Payen proudly represented Mauritius at the International Public Speaking Competition held in U.K. The theme of his intervention was“words are not enough”.

As you are aware, English being an international language is widely used across the globe. Through the internet, and the use of English Language as a medium, much trading is being done, and this will continue to be so in the future.The ultimate aim is to create global understanding through English.

Today distance or geographic position is no longer aproblem. Communities are connected together through technologies and the use of English Language.Understanding and speaking the English Language has become a “sine qua non” condition for progress and success in today’s world economy.

Apart from promoting the English Language, the Union also believes in the potential of our youth. It is for this reason that every effort is being made to empower the youth,through the various competitions that are being organized.

For many years, we focused our attention on the formal mainstream of education. Gradually we moved towards extracurricular programmes with a view to moulding the child’s character and potential. Today we all agree that imparting education and training alone is not sufficient.Good communication skill is a must to achieve success.Public speaking is an art which is not given to all. However,we should create opportunities for our youngsters, so that in future they do not face difficult situations. Given the opportunities, I am sure our youngsters will do well.

I am pleased to note that there has been an increase in participation in the main educational activities,namely the Public Speaking Competition, the National Spelling Bee Competition and the Commonwealth Essay Competition.For this, I must congratulate the past and present Presidents and Members of the English Speaking Union.

I heartily congratulate Mr Shaun Payen for his sucess and wish him plenty of sucess in future.”