From Simon THOMAS

Dear Friends,

As your International President, it is a heartfelt honour, and I am incredibly proud to welcome to the 65th UICH International Congress.

I know that for many of you it was a hard decision whether to travel given the geo-political situation. For those of you that have, I admire your responsibility to behave as a global citizen, sending a clear message that the world is a possession that belongs to all of us.

On behalf of the Executive Committee I would like to express my gratitude for the effort you put in to join us here. After all, for many of you this trip is literally half way around the world.

Seoul, as the capital of South Korea, is a city that has an official history of 600 years. With a metropolitan area that is estimated to be the home for almost half the country’s population. It has many; temples, fortresses, markets and restaurants, which certainly make it a metropolis on a global scale.

It has been a busy year for Les Clefs d’Or. There have been many changes, unexpected shifts, and more importantly developments. It is always encouraging to see long term members stepping up to offer their services to the organisation, more importantly it is vital that we have some of our younger members rising up to the challenge.

I am delighted to say the project of forming many smaller committees and commissions has been a great success. My mantra of many doing a little gets a lot done, rather than lots done by just a few; has proven itself.

For example, the membership committee, led by Western European Zone Director Paul Still, has achieved an amazing amount and I am looking forward to them presenting their findings to you at our AGM.

A shining star, Jeannie Mills heading up our newly formed Strategic Partnership Committee, has already transformed the funding and ongoing ealationships with our partners ensured that we have a clear direction and offer value for money for those who support us. As a result she not only provided support for this year’s congress but also created the road map for years to come.

Caroline Avaria, the Canadian President, and her branding and social media committee, with the assistance of General Secretary James Ridenour and Assistant General Secretary Burak Ipekci, continue to drive forward our social media presence and our website. Again, we look forward to their presentation at our AGM.

The Educational committee once again promises to provide us with an exciting and informative day with interesting speakers and interaction. Thank you to Maurice Dancer and his team.

Last, but by no means least, Mark Finn, one of our candidates of the Les Clefs d’Or Award in Berlin, has led the CSR initiative of which I am incredibly proud. All of the Candidates of the Les Clefs d’Or award participated in the committee who will present one of the issues close to my heart, the giving back to our communities, otherwise known as Corporate and Social Responsibility.

Finally, I would like to comment on the Les Clefs d’Or Award which I am delighted, extremely proud and grateful to Frank Marrenbach my CEO, and The Oetker Collection who are sponsoring this year’s award. This year is particularly poignant to me as this is named after one of my mentors and dearest friends, the late, great, Andre Demonte, many of whom, refer to as “The Godfather” of our organisation.

Welcome to Seoul!


Les Clefs d’Or Internationales