In Memoriam: Sir Victor Glover, Kt, GOSK
By English Speaking Union, Mauritius
On Monday 3rd February 2020, English Speaking Union (ESU) said “Farewell till we meet again” to its Founder Member in Mauritius, its Past President and its devoted Patron of Honour, Sir Victor Glover.
It is indeed rare to meet truly great and inspirational men who leave a mark on a cultural organization and its members. This, Sir Victor has undoubtedly done. The English language and the cultural landscape in Mauritius owe him an immense debt of gratitude. As ESU President, Sir Victor took the initiative to launch the Public Speaking Competition (PSC) in Mauritius in 1994. As such, high school students have been all the richer thanks to his legacy.
Such a competition adequately prepares participants for global professional careers where communication is the key to success. Scattered around the world today, young Mauritians may still reflect on the preparatory workshops generously organized by ESU. The winner of the PSC Final represents Mauritius at the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in London each year. Mauritius was even world champion in IPSC 2009. Without Sir Victor’s vision, irrepressible enthusiasm and passion for the English language, all these might not have happened.
The ESU is a long-standing organization, dating back to 1918, of which an early Chairman was Sir Winston Churchill. It has become a worldwide network with branches in 55 countries, all independent but bonded together by the annual ‘International Council Meeting’. ESU Mauritius was established by ‘The English Speaking Union Act 1993’ to promote a vision driven by Sir Victor Glover. Since that auspicious year, this vision has never failed to inspire such Presidents as the Late Sanjit Teelock, the Late Mohamad Vayid, Ms Sharmilla Bhima, Prem Burton, Marie-France Roussety and Prof Serge Rivière, as well as numerous office-bearers and loyal members.
Moreover, ESU aims at fostering understanding and fellowship among the English-speaking peoples of the world. In our fast-changing world, this is becoming an essential component of peace and diplomacy. No one personified this mission better than Sir Victor Glover, with his gentlemanly ‘British’ manners, his irresistible sense of humour, his mastery of English syntax and vocabulary and his equal dedication to the British and Mauritian cultures. To us at ESU, Sir Victor was the very embodiment of humanism, classical erudition and linguistic rigour. He was very sensitive to the importance of oral and written communication in English. True to Shakespeare’s ‘brevity is the soul of wit’, Sir Victor was the national expert at writing succinct and lucid legal documents. Therefore, it is best to follow his example and avoid being verbose.
Since its inception, ESU Mauritius has been surging past all obstacles thanks to Sir Victor Glover’s reassuring presence. His unfailing moral support and wise legal advice were never found wanting. He always made himself available whenever the President and office-bearers needed counsel. His pragmatism and art of diplomacy saved the day on many occasions. His knowledge of ‘The English Speaking Union Act, 1993’ and the ‘ESU Mauritius Rules’ was unparalleled. Hence, he found solutions within the twinkling of an eye, without giving offence to any party.
Leadership is as much inspirational as visionary, and, in both cases, Sir Victor was unsurpassed. His generosity, his friendship and his guidance will live long in the memories of those who have shared his passion for Language and Culture. He rarely missed our Annual Dinner, and a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to him through his son, Me Gavin Glover, at ESU’s last Annual Dinner on 26 September 2019. He will be sorely missed by all members of ESU Mauritius.
So, Fare ye well, beloved Patron:
“We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne”
(Robert Burns, 1796)
ESU Mauritius wishes to extend its most sincere sympathies to Lady Ginette Glover, Maîtres Gavin and Brian Glover and the entire Glover Family.
* Published in print edition on 14 February 2020