English Language Evenings

Looking for a stimulating evening of intellectual pursuit in English? Then English Language Evenings offers a variety of lectures from a range of speakers followed by discussions and questions from the floor.

English Language Evenings is an independent public lecture and discussion forum established in 1998 by the Moscow-based American author, essayist and editor Stephen Lapeyrouse. "In Santa Cruz, California, in the '80s, I participated in a community discussion group which modeled itself on the old tradition of British coffee houses," he said. "I wanted to have something intellectual like that in my life here, but in English."

The talks are attended by a mix of nationalities: "Of the average 50 to 60 people who attend an evening, we usually have a few non-Russians from various parts of the world," said Lapeyrouse. "But most of the people who come are Russians with excellent English."

The lecture on Feb. 15 is by Rowena Hume,the deputy head of mission at the New Zealand Embassy, . Her talk is titled "Life in New Zealand" and will be an attempt to acquaint people with life in her homeland, she said. "New Zealand is a long way from Moscow, so I want to try to explain to people what New Zealanders are about."

She hopes to give a broad snapshot of the country's history and culture. "I'm going to talk not only in terms of European settlement, but also the influence of indigenous people."

Over the past decade there have been over 100 meetings with more than 90 speakers: from ambassadors to journalists, from professors to heads of charitable organizations. "Our goal is to allow members of the public to meet and perhaps establish contacts with the speakers," said Lapeyrouse. "And to promote intercultural and intellectual contacts."