Annual General Meeting, 27 March 2017

Written by: Ian Simm  |  Posted on: April 13th, 2017

With the kind support of the Korean Cultural Centre UK, some 45 members of the BKS assembled at the centre on 27 March for the Annual General Meeting.

Notably, we welcomed our Joint-President, Dr Robert Hawley, and his wife, together with representatives of the Korean Embassy.

Chairman Warwick Morris opens the proceedings

In his Chairman’s report, Warwick Morris noted that the Society had successfully celebrated its 60th anniversary during the past year. Not only did we hold an Anniversary Dinner at the House of Lords, where Defence Minister and Deputy Speaker Earl Howe spoke of the closeness of relations between UK and Korea, but BKS also broke new ground with a business seminar at the Mansion House with the participation of the Lord Mayor of London and the Ambassador Hwang of the ROK, which attracted some 100 participants. Read the full text of the Chairmans Report.

Peter Poole made his last report as membership secretary as he has decided to stand down from the committee. The Society maintains a membership of about 200, but there remains a small group of people who fail to pay their subscriptions. Peter said that he had valued his association with Korea very highly following his service in the Korean war, and felt he had been able to give something back through participation in the committee. The meeting agreed thoroughly and thanked Peter most warmly for his long service to the Society and the committee.

In the absence of treasurer Chris Hollands, Derek Marsh presented a financial report. He noted that reserves had fallen during the year, but said that this was a deliberate policy to help fund a modest outreach programme. He echoed, however, the Chairman’s point about finding new sources of income to help keep our programmes in operation. In general terms, the Society is in good financial health. Derek also passed on a message from the treasurer asking all members to be sure to pay subscriptions into the new account at Lloyds Bank as we needed to close the KEB account.

Ian Simm summarised the outreach programme for the year. We had as usual awarded 4 bursaries to post-graduate students following the assessment made on our behalf by the British Association for Korean Studies. There had been 12 applications for grants of which we supported 6, covering a diversity of programmes including Korean cookery classes in Northern Ireland, co-operative studies in astronomy and the promotion of Korean pop music through on-line radio.

Sylvia Park drew attention to the programme of events for 2017. Our next meeting would be held jointly with SOAS on 11 May and would bring to London the UK’s ambassadors to the ROK and DPRK to give an update on what is going on on the Korean peninsula. In June, Michael Breen will be introducing his new book entitled ‘New Koreans’. There would be another guided walk led by Sue King and we again looked forward to the Chuseok reception to be hosted by the ROK Ambassador. This year there will be a reception at the House of Commons terrace in November, hosted by James Berry MP who is Chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Group on Korea. Derek Marsh added that we also plan a presentation on the world in 2050, with special reference to East Asia, from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Possible events include an award ceremony for this year’s recipients of bursaries and grants, a meeting bringing together judges from the UK and Korea and a visit to the Maersk container depot at Felixstowe.

Most of the current committee were willing to continue and were re-elected. In addition to Peter Poole, Charlotte Horlyck was standing down following her election as President of BAKS and Chair of the SOAS Centre of Korean Studies. In their place Jack Hands and Hazel Smith were elected to the committee for the coming year. The full list can be found on our executive committee page.

After the formal business of the AGM, Ian Simm introduced Niccoló Durazzi, Nadeschda Bachem and Kyoung-mi Kim, recipients of bursary awards in 2016, who spoke in very interesting terms about their research work. The talks illustrated the variety of areas in which work is going on in studies of the social and cultural trends under way on the Korean peninsula.

Following the AGM a most agreeable networking reception was held around a tasty Korean buffet. The evening ended at 2130 hrs.

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