The British Czech and Slovak Association (BCSA) was launched by Alexander Dubcek in November 1990 and has been a registered charity since 1995. Its aim is to raise awareness of matters relating to the history, arts, literature, politics, economies and science of Britain and the Czech and Slovak Republics.
Over the years the BCSA has organised many events covering a wide range of topics that reflect its charitable purpose. They include talks by or about leading personalities, history, literature, panel discussions, film presentations, book launches and musical recitals. Most take place at the Czech or Slovak Embassies in Notting Hill Gate.
Members with their families and friends also get together for our two annual social and fund-raising events. An informal summer garden party is held in the gardens of the Czech and Slovak Embassies with traditional entertainment and culinary delights.
In November our annual dinner is held in a central London hotel with a guest speaker, often in the presence of the Czech and Slovak Ambassadors in London and also the British Ambassadors to Bratislava and Prague.
The BCSA also publishes the quarterly British Czech and Slovak Review for its members with in-depth articles, film and book reviews, related events in the UK, coverage of recent developments in the Czech and Slovak Republics and their relations with Britain.
People of many backgrounds join the BCSA including British individuals with an interest in the Czech and Slovak Republics. Some members are former Slovak or Czech citizens who have settled in the UK with their British partners and families. Others are Czech and Slovaks who live, work or study in Britain. Many founder members are former citizens of what was Czechoslovakia who left their country in difficult times.
Our monthly ‘get to know you’ social evenings are an opportunity for BCSA members, supporters and friends to meet. These are normally held at the Czech and Slovak Bar and Restaurant, West Hampstead, on the second Wednesday of the month.
Each year, the BCSA runs a writing competition for original writing in English on the links between Britain and the Czech/Slovak Republics (at any stage in their history), or describing society in transition in the Republics since 1989. The two winning entries are published in the Review. Entrants do not need to be members of the BCSA.
The School Support Fund was established in 2004 following our experience in helping a Czech and Slovak school affected by floods in 2002 and discovering how this made a difference to their teaching of the English language. Each year a school is selected from a short list provided by the British Council alternating between Czech and Slovak schools. These have included Czech elementary schools in Brno, Ostrov, Plzen, Tabor and a grammar school in Olomouc; two Slovak elementary schools in Kosice, one in Spisske Vlachy, another in Stara L’ubovna and a grammar school in Sucany.
I very much appreciate the work of BCSA, which helps to maintain the continuity of friendly relations between the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and Slovakia as well as the Czech Republic, on the other.
The founding of BCSA in the early 1990s was strongly interconnected with the return of freedom and democracy to former Czechoslovakia. It was launched by the Speaker of the Czechoslovak Federal Assembly, Mr Alexander Dubcek – a significant personality of our history.
I am delighted that the organization succeeded in adapting its activities even after 1993 when independent Slovakia and Czech Republic were established and that it has continuously been one of the most active organizations, contributing to the mutual cognition of the United Kingdom and our countries.
The present days bring new challenges and a need to get the young generation more involved in the BCSA’s work and management. I believe that this organization under the leadership of its Chairman, Mr Ladislav Hornan, will begin the necessary changes in the upcoming period. The Embassy of Slovakia and I, as a patron of the BCSA, will try to help at our best.
Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in London
I am delighted to support the work of the BCSA as a patron. From personal experience, I know that the BCSA’s excellent programme of awareness-raising activities is at the same time informative, educational and fun. I am confident that the Association will go from strength to strength as the UK’s relationship with the Czech and Slovak Republics develops.
British Ambassador to the Czech Republic