Annual General Meeting, 26 March 2018

Written by: Chris Hollands  |  Posted on: April 23rd, 2018

Warwick Morris

Chairman Warwick Morris addressing the meeting

The Annual General meeting of the BKS was held at the Korean Cultural Centre on March 26. There was a good turnout of around 50 people.

After introductory remarks from our Chairman, we received a short address from Minister and Charge d’Affaires Sun from the RoK Embassy. He thanked the BKS for its help in keeping important elements of the bi-lateral relationship in good shape and promised ongoing support.

The meeting then progressed through the formalities, including apologies from our Joint Presidents. Sir Stephen Brown was away in Australia and Ambassador Hwang had been recalled to Seoul suddenly earlier in the month. The minutes of the previous AGM were voted through before our Chairman made his last address to the Society. His address was met with solid applause and the good wishes of all present.  [Read the Chairman’s Report]

This was followed by the Treasurer’s presentation of the accounts. In summary, we are in a sound financial position, but as ever we could do with more sponsorship, so we can continue the good works of the Grants Programme.

Cathy Kim then explained the membership situation. Typically we hover around the magic 200 number, made up mainly of individuals and their partners, who count as one, a small number of Corporates and some lifetime members.

The spectre of GDPR, the new EU data protection regulation, is likely to cause some issues. We need to contact all our members and ask them to agree to our holding their personal information. The impact of this need to positively “opt in” is difficult to estimate.

Ian Simm then gave a brief summary of the good works we have been able to support during the year including five grants and four bursaries. He noted that this was to be the last year of our bursary programme, which we had developed with BAKS (British Association of Korean Studies). It is stopping due to a decrease in funds, but he said we would continue the Grants Programme, which was popular. [Read the Outreach Report]

Enjoying the Korean buffet

Sylvia Park then outlined proposed events for the coming year. We would continue to have a mix of our more traditional events, such as Chuseok or Seollal, and some new ones such as the “The Two Judges Presentation” in April. She asked us to make a note of the date of the Annual Reception on October 18 at the House of Commons.

We then moved to what is the most important part of the AGM, the election of officers for the forthcoming year. Whilst most of the Committee were standing for re-election, our Chairman was standing down after seven years in office as well as our Vice-Chairman, Derek Marsh and Mark Baumfield, who helped us with communications and most importantly the Newsletter. Their wisdom and counsel will be missed.

In their place Martin Uden, a former Ambassador to the RoK, stood as Chairman and Philip Gowman, known for his London Korean Links website, joined the existing Committee. Warwick then handed over to Martin to finish the meeting in his newly elected role as Chairman.

Martin made a short speech, acknowledging Warwick’s contribution to the Society over the past seven years and giving us a few thoughts on what the future might bring. With the meeting concluded, there followed short presentations from Bursary recipients Sangwon Shin and Hoon Song.

Hoon Song explained he had used his bursary to explore the history of the unification movement of South Korean Protestant Churches and a constructive approach toward the unification of Korea, borrowing the theological ideas of healing memories and reconciliation. He gave a presentation at the 2017 Edinburgh-Yale Conference of World Christianity.

Sangwon Shin had been looking into the social status and structures that existed in Korea in the late Chosŏn dynasty, with a focus on the continuity of slave status within the legal system of Chosŏn.

Both presentations were well received and were followed by an enjoyable Korean buffet and wine to end the evening.

Photos from Liz Ryan and Cathy Kim

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