Chairman’s Message May 2020

Written by: Martin Uden  |  Posted on: May 13th, 2020

Chairman’s message to BKS members

The Korean practice of asking after the health of the recipient at the start of many letters is all the more appropriate at this time of uncertainty.  So I must express my hope that you and your family and friends are doing as well as can be expected.

The BKS Committee found it far from easy at the time to pull the plug on our AGM in March, although in retrospect the decision was clearly right.  I am happy that we managed to circulate all the appropriate paperwork to you so that you had the chance to see how the Society had fared over the past year and challenge us with any questions that arose.  We can still hope that we might be able to hold the AGM this year, but I frankly think the odds are lengthening against it.

The BKS Committee has managed to hold a meeting using the video-conferencing tool, Zoom, which worked well enough for an efficient run-through of the issues confronting us.  Naturally, the plans we had for any further events in the first half of the year have fallen by the wayside.  As you will understand, it is very hard to predict when anything like normal business can be resumed.  We have to take into account not just government advice, but also the willingness of our members to attend events in London, coupled with our responsibility towards you regarding the safety of any events we organise.

For now, we have kept in the diary two events in October.  We had already opted to change our annual reception in the House of Commons into a sit-down dinner in the House of Lords and had pencilled in 29 October for that, when separately it made sense to arrange our hoped-for event honouring British veterans of the Korean War on 14 October.  I do not imagine that we shall hold both events, but we can keep both in play until it becomes clear what might be feasible.  We shall need to make a decision in the early summer given the planning that either would require.

Not surprisingly, our ability to make best use of our grant funds has also been affected.  Happily, two events took place in the UK early in the year with our support (at the LSE and the University of Edinburgh) but other recipients who hoped to use our grant for travel were not so lucky.

I hope that this short message will reassure you that the committee is working to be able to resume normal services as soon as possible.  We shall use our normal means to get the word out, but you might find helpful to keep an eye on our Facebook page at  For those of you wanting to maintain your levels of Korean culture while stuck at home, I’d also recommend (BKS committee member) Philip Gowman’s Facebook page at or his website at  Sadly he has all too little to let his eager readership know about at present, but he also informs us about what Korean culture can be available from home.

With all best wishes from the whole committee,

Martin Uden

BKS Chairman