Executive Commitee

Joint Presidents

HE Yeocheol Yoon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea
Sir Stephen Brown KCVO


Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is made up of volunteers who give freely of their time and skills.


Executive Chairman: Simon Smith CMG

Simon’s 35 year career in the British diplomatic service ended with his four years (2018-2022) as Ambassador in Seoul. He first visited Korea (both South and North) in 2003, while he was head of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s North-east Asia & Pacific Department. During his years as Ambassador to South Korea he travelled the country extensively, with a particular emphasis on supporting and encouraging activism on the climate change agenda at regional and local levels.  He also welcomed K-pop superstars Blackpink on their first visit to the British Embassy in Seoul, to salute their work championing international climate change action. While in Korea, Simon enjoyed his first (but slow!) explorations of literature in the Korean language, was a frequent spectator at KBO baseball games, and a devotee of Korean TV dramas. His career as a diplomat also took him to Tokyo, Moscow, Vienna –  where he was Ambassador to Austria, and the UK’s Governor on the Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency – and Kyiv, as Ambassador to Ukraine. His involvement in Ukraine continues in his role as chair of the steering committee of the Ukraine Forum at Chatham House. He is married to Sian Stickings MBE, who taught at Ewha Woman’s University during their time in Seoul.


Secretary: Hannah Giles

Hannah GilesHannah comes from Seoul, South Korea. She came to London in 1996 having worked for Korean Air. She read Linguistics at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London and graduated with BA First Class Honours. She was awarded a scholarship by SOAS to continue her PhD in Linguistics until 2004 when she got married to her British husband, Alex, and then had two children.

She started teaching Korean and Linguistics in 1999 at SOAS. She also worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office until 2007 as a Lecturer in Korean, and is still continuing to teach British diplomats at FCO. Hannah also works as a principal examiner for IGCSE First Language Korean. She has taught a wide range of students including many diplomats to South and North Korea and business people. She specialises in Korean language and culture training, applying linguistic theories to practical language teaching, as well as designing Korean courses, exams and setting course syllabi.


Treasurer: Hee Yu Lee

Hee Yu is a Partner at Ernst & Young London, where she trained as a Chartered Accountant (ICAEW). At EY, she is specialised in the audit of Energy clients including upstream, downstream, trading and renewable energy companies.

Prior to joining EY, Hee Yu worked as an Analyst at AccountAbility, a non-profit organisation. She was the lead-author of the Climate Competitive Index 2010, which analysed climate leadership in 95 countries around the world.  Hee Yu graduated from Cass Business School in London, obtaining a Merit for her Master of Science degree in Management.

Hee Yu is originally from Seoul and moved to London for her study in 2004.  When Hee Yu was growing up in Seoul, she learnt Taekwondo as well as playing the piano. She enjoys playing tennis and boxing.


Events Secretary: Sylvia Park MBE

SP6Sylvia Park became a member of the Anglo Korean Society in the early 1970’s, joined the Committee and became the Society’s Events Secretary, a role that she has performed for almost twenty years.

After graduating from Ewha Woman’s University, Sylvia joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul, later working for a number of international airlines.

Once known as the “The Hermit Kingdom” the land of the  morning calm Korea was still relatively unknown to western people at that time and for this reason Sylvia was appointed in 1977 by the Korean Embassy in London to promote tourism and trade and to set up the Korean National Tourism Corporation (now the KTO) in the UK.

She organised, in association with the Korea Trade Centre London (KOTRA) and supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, trade missions to participate in various conferences and exhibitions in Korea.

Using her wide experience of the international travel and trade industry Sylvia established her own travel agency specialising in Korea; which continues to trade to this day as Park Air Travel Ltd.  Sylvia is also the founder and chairman of the British Korean Women’s Society.


Membership Secretary: Claire Moon

Claire was born in Busan, Korea where she spent her childhood in beautiful beaches of Haewoondae. She moved to New Zealand as a teenager and studied Accounting and Japanese in University of Canterbury before starting professional career with EY.

Claire is now living in London, working as a professional accountant (ACA ICAEW) in KPMG offices in Canary Wharf. Prior to her current role, she was a UK tax advisor to international businesses based in London, including a number of Korean and Japanese companies and expatriates.

Claire’s patriotism is especially strong when it comes to K-pop and sports. She enjoys going to K-pop concerts and her favourite so far is BTS concert in Wembley Stadium in 2019. She followed Korean football team in 2010 South Africa and 2014 Brazil World cups. She supports All blacks as for rugby.


Lauren Barnes

Lauren works at National Museums Scotland and is Assistant Curator Asia, with a focus on the East Asian and Korean collections. Previously, she has curated the permanent Korean Gallery at Durham University’s Oriental Museum and coordinated Durham’s first Korean Culture Festival in 2015.

In addition to her work in museums, Lauren has had the privilege of living in Daejeon for one year, an experience which allowed her to travel around South Korea and develop her understanding of local histories and artistic practices. She is currently studying for a PhD in Museum Studies, focusing on the histories of Korean collections in UK museums. Her research interests include Korean ceramics, 20th century Korean material culture, and minhwa (folk art). She is slowly, but surely, learning Korean. Her work for the British Korean Society is to support the website.



Douglas Barrett

Douglas joined the Foreign Office in 1978 and retired in 2018. During his time in the Foreign Office he enjoyed a close relationship with Asia Pacific.

He was HM Consul for Western India based at the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai. He was then Head of Trade & Investment at the British Consulate in Shanghai from 2003 to 2005. During a home posting he was seconded to private industry and was Director for Asia Pacific at British Expertise from 2005 to 2009. During his time at British Expertise he wrote a scoping report on the Incheon Asian Games.He then went to Korea where he was Head of Trade & Investment at the British Embassy. He wrote a report to help UK companies benefit from the UK-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and worked with British companies involved in the Global Sports sector to access opportunities surrounding the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. He was heavily involved in the St Andrew’s Society of Seoul and also worked on the Seoul Friendship Fair. Douglas now lives in London.


Alison Evans

As an undergraduate Alison read Japanese and Korean Studies at The Queen’s College, Oxford University. She specialised in classical literature, translating and studying texts from Dangun in the Samguk Yusa to the 1 March 1919 Proclamation of Korean Independence. She enjoyed a four-week language course at Kyunghee University in Seoul, and returned to Korea in the summer of 2012 for an internship in the Cargo Marketing Department of Korean Air Cargo. For her Master’s in International Relations and Economics, from the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University, she also specialised in Korea Studies, carrying out a research trip in Seoul and passing an equivalent of the US State Department’s highest-level Korean language tests. For over six years working on the Country Risk team at IHS (Markit), Alison was responsible for the analysis and forecasting of North Korea and South Korean politics and security.


Philip Gowman


Philip’s interest in Korea dates back to the 1980s and 90s when his clients included a number of Korean banks wishing to open their London operations and the first European investment trust authorised to invest in the Korean stock market. His interest in Korean history and culture, which began with a growing interest in Korean films from around 2000, led him to launch the website London Korean Links in 2006, which is the longest-established Korean culture website in the UK. He is author of Royal Ancestors and Ancient Remedies – a brief journey through Korea’s heritage (2011), published by the Korean Culture and Information Service.

Robert Kim

Robert was elected as a local councillor for New Malden Village, the largest Korean community in Europe, in 2022 after spending 3 decades helping individuals and businesses in the community. As a solicitor, he has advised the Korean Embassy in London on energy projects and was formerly a director at KEPCO Management.

Robert is currently working for the community with Korea Town Foundation (KTF) aiming to promote and create sustainable development and partnership in New Malden. He started five projects to improve the situation in New Malden, such as the War and Peace Memorial, the making Korean Parliamentarian(“HanKookman”), the British Korean Business Alliance (BKBA), the Korean Advice Centre(KAC), and the K-Hub Centre.

Robert often enjoys go game online when he has spare time and tries to introduce the first healing “Jjimjilbang” and “Hallyu” experimental facilities in New Malden.



Elizabeth Ryan


Elizabeth mediates the BKS Facebook Group and manages BKS’ social media presence.

She joined Daewoo Corporation (UK) in 1982 as a Business Development and Marketing Assistant, and was invited to visit Daewoo’s Korean operations in 1988, just ahead of the Olympics. From 1989 – 1995 she lived in Seoul, initially teaching English to professional adults in Yeouido. A number of her students worked for KBS, which led to her securing a regular slot on Kim Kwang Han’s ‘Good Morning Pops’ and several guest appearances on TV following her participation in the KBS/Korea Herald Foreigners’ Folk Contest.

She later worked as a freelance editor for the ‘Business Times’ and KOTRA’s monthly trade magazine, before joining PanCom International (Korea’s sole representative for IMAX) where she worked as a manager during the period leading up to and during the Taejon Expo 93.That year she married a Korean and they moved to the UK in 1994 with their daughter, Byul, who was born in Seoul. Elizabeth subsequently worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for nearly 14 years including postings to Slovakia and Croatia, before leaving to start her own business as a confidence and performance coach for young figure skaters and other athletes.


Dr Ian Simm


Ian joined the British Council in 1976 after a few years as a research chemist.   Following postings to Iran, Egypt, India and Vietnam, and a stint as Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa based in London, he went to Seoul as British Council Director Korea in 2005 and stayed until 2009.   Besides supervising a large English Language Teaching programme, his work involved building better relationships between people in Korea and UK through joint programmes of school links, arts events and promoting joint activities combating climate change, among many others.   Since returning to UK, Ian has retired from paid work and does a number of voluntary activities. He is Chairman of the BKS Outreach Committee.



Jay Turner

Jay spent a number of years living in South Korea where he taught English and studied Korean. Jay met his wife Jihyun in 2008 whilst living in Jeonju. They now live in Kent, England and regularly return to Korea for family visits. Jay has a particular passion for Korean cuisine and is working to develop the BKS’s relations with business.

He works in political communications, managing Government Relations programmes for corporate clients across a number of sectors including financial services, retail, cyber security and transport.




Contact the committee: info@britishkoreansociety.org.uk