The Hudson Union has truly set itself apart in providing an intimate, welcoming place for me to discuss my personal experiences with success and career changes. I immediately felt right at home and I was privileged to share pivotal moments in my life. I was truly impressed with the authenticity and openness of everyone in attendance.
The Hudson Union® was created many years ago by Joe Pascal, an American and Louise Mensch (formerly Bagshawe), former Member of the British Parliament and author of fourteen best-selling novels. They had the support of Her Royal Highness Princess Badiya of Jordan, an advocate for interfaith and cross-cultural understanding. These three Oxford University graduates: a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim, collaborated to launch a Society to provide the public with access to some of the most diverse, relevant and powerful leaders in the world today, such as they had the privilege of hearing from during their days at Oxford.
They took inspiration from the famed Oxford Union, where for almost two centuries Oxford University students have sponsored free speech and great debate with luminaries from around the world. At the same time, they created something new: a society based in New York City, open to all who had a passion for fresh thinking and lively discussion with top leaders in fields ranging from politics and government to arts and sciences.
After the Oxonian Society was founded it immediately formed relationships with the Oxford Union itself, and with various other leading universities and university clubs. With a lot of energy, some good ideas, the Oxonian Society soon had a thriving speaker program. The Oxonian Society affiliated with Oxford University eight months after the Society's founding, and then, in order to preserve its independence, the Oxonian Society disaffiliated within a year and half; just as the Oxford Union is independent of Oxford University, it seemed the Oxonian Society should be too. At first, the idea was to restrict entry to members of Oxford University. The problem there was twofold. One, there was immediate interest to join the Society by many people from all universities; and two, it seemed elitist.
The Oxonian Society swiftly built a reputation for provocative, engaging events that attract a novel roster of speakers and a diverse melting pot of members. And as the organization grew, it became more and more distinctively a New York phenomenon with its own style and personality.
The Oxonian Society placed on its banner - Open to All. But as the Oxonian Society grew at a truly unbelievable rate, it seemed an appropriate time to reflect the organization's New York heritage and identity and in October 2008 the Oxonian Society changed its name to the Hudson Union.
The Hudson Union name means - close to a main artery river, where what happens here (at the Society) is disseminated to the Nation and the World, and Union - bringing unique people and leaders intimately together. The Yale Political Union, Cambridge Union Society, and Oxford Union amongst others, all use the Union term.
For those who are already familiar with the former Oxonian Society, you will find that all good things continue and keep getting better. For those new to the Hudson Union, we welcome you to an organization that will engage your mind and invigorate your soul.