Annual General Meeting, 25 March 2019

Written by: Chris Hollands  |  Posted on: April 18th, 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the British Korean Society was held at the Korean Cultural Centre on 25 March 2019.

Chairman Martin Uden with Joint Presidents, Ambassador Enna Park and Sir Stephen Brown

There was a good turnout of some 50 people from a wide cross section of our membership, including both our Joint Presidents, Ambassador Enna Park and Sir Stephen Brown, as well as a number of former UK Ambassadors to both the North and South.

Before the formal meeting we were given a short address by Ambassador Park. She stressed the importance of the bilateral Korean – UK relationship and the part BKS played in that, particularly in this the 70th anniversary of the establishment of formal relations. She applauded the vigour with which Martin Uden had undertaken his new role as Chairman and the work that was being done to enhance the BKS, and pledged her support.

The formal meeting then proceeded with the Chairman’s address in which he summarised the past year. The full text can be read here, but of note was the contribution by our sponsors Samsung, Diageo, Maersk, Hay Designs, Korean Air and Asiana. Of special note was the recent announcement that Samsung had offered to increase its contribution for the next three years. This was welcomed by all.

The next item on the agenda was the Treasurer’s report which showed a net reduction in funds for the year of about £1,500, somewhat less than in previous years mostly due to our decision to make the majority of events self-funding and a reduction in our grants programme.

Cathy Kim then reported on Membership which at the end of 2018 stood at 190. She had been very strict on non-payers and as a result this was a true number. She pointed out that individual membership was for a family or in the case of a corporate for a group of up to 5 people, so our actual membership reach was much higher.

She said that the membership fees had increased for 2019, but that we appeared to have lost relatively few members because of that. She also noted that the issue of GDPR remained to be addressed by the Society, although there appeared to be low risk of any significant issues. Chris Hollands has agreed to take this on in 2019.

Cathy advised that she was standing down at the end of the 2019 year due to other commitments and that she was looking for volunteers to take on the membership secretary and newsletter roles. If anyone is interested they should contact her.

Grant recipient Philip Dobison of Cranford Community College

Ian Simm then gave a brief summary of the good work of the Outreach Committee. He thanked his fellow team members for their support, particularly Hazel Smith and Seoyoung Kim who had now had to stand down due to other commitments. He noted that two award recipients would give an address after the meeting to update members on what the grants achieve.

Sylvia Park then gave us a brief summary of the events we could expect from the Society for the coming year. Of note would be the Ambassadors’ Update event in June when it is hoped we might get both the Korean Ambassadors from the ROK and the DPRK to attend, as well as the UK Ambassadors to the ROK and DPRK. Interest is high and the event will be held at Chatham House.

Our flagship event will of course be the Annual Reception at the House of Commons on October 24th.

In addition, in November a Veterans’ event will be held at the National Army Museum followed by a reception at the Royal Chelsea Hospital; the date is to be finalised but will be after Remembrance Day.

The final part of the meeting was to arrange for the election of the Committee and Officers. Several members have stood down during the year, notably Hazel Smith, Seoyoung Kim and Jack Hands, and the Society welcomed new members Hee Yu Lee, Douglas Barrett and Jay Turner who had joined during the year and have agreed to stand for election.

Chris Hollands stands down as Treasurer, as he noted last year, and his role will be filled by Hee Yu Lee, a Chartered Accountant from Ernst and Young.

The new committee was elected “en bloc”.

Martin then closed the formal meeting and this was followed by two marvellous presentations by recipients of our grants. Philip Dobison of Cranford Community College spoke of their exchange programme with a school in Pohang and Sarah Duffy about her Artist’s Residency at the Seoul Museum of Art. She finished her presentation with a short film she produced.

Members then adjourned to the reception area for refreshment. The wine, supplied by our sponsor Diageo, flowed freely and a good time was had by all.

Some pictures from the evening from Liz Ryan.

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