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.
This year’s annual dinner will be held on Friday 23 November, further details on our events page.
BCSA Chairman, Ladislav Hornan, welcomes guests to the 26th annual dinner in November 2017, including our patrons the Czech and Slovak Ambassadors in London.
In June an informal summer garden party was held in the gardens of the Czech and Slovak Embassies with traditional entertainment and culinary delights.
The BCSA also publishes the bi-monthly 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. We are very grateful for the support of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Czech Republic with its production.
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 honoured to take on the role of patron of the BCSA as I take up my posting in Prague as British Ambassador. As Britain leaves the EU, the role of such as this organisation in nurturing close people-to-people contacts will be more important than ever. I know that the BCSA’s excellent programme of awareness-raising activities has a high reputation for being at the same time informative, educational and fun. All these qualities will be needed to ensure that Britain’s commitment to remain in Europe, and fully engaged with its allies in Europe, is understood and realised in its relationships with the people and governments of the Czech and Slovak Republics. I shall do all I can to support the Association in this valuable work.
British Ambassador to the Czech Republic
In the recent months, when the prospect of the United Kingdom leaving the EU has gotten closer, the essence of contemporary Czech-British relations has become increasingly ambiguous. We have reached a new phase and set out to search for ways to utilise the relations to their maximum potential, to contribute to a new dynamic, and to help identify new Czech interests in this traditional territory. I have found a potent partner in the BCSA in pursuing this goal and I am pleased to say that this organisation has always played a vital role in actively promoting the good name of the Czech Republic in the United Kingdom. I am very grateful to the BCSA for the good work that it does and wish the Association continued success as well as fresh ideas.
Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Court of St. James´s