BTS Van Fleet Award Speech — The Korea Society 2020 Annual Gala, “Enduring Alliance, Expanding Horizons

The Annual Gala Dinner is the Korea Society’s premier event of the year, celebrating the U.S.-Korea relationship as well as honoring those who work towards maintaining this special alliance.

This year, in light of health and safety concerns regarding COVID-19, they decided to “recreate” their Annual Gala as a virtually-celebrated event, with the theme “Enduring Alliance, Expanding Horizons.

President Moon Jae-in was the gala’s Keynote Speaker for the night. BTS was announced as one of honorees of The Korea Society’s Van Fleet Award alongside its other recipients, U.S. Korean War Veterans Honorable — Charles B. Rangel & Salvatore Scarlato, and the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Read the full invitation list, guest speakers, & organizers here.

The Significance of the Van Fleet Award

The Van Fleet Award is

Every year, the Korea Society awards its highest honor, the Van Fleet Award, to distinguished Americans and Koreans who have made an outstanding “contribution to the U.S.-ROK alliance.”

Past award honorees include;

Presidents Kim Dae-jung and George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter, Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Henry Kissinger.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, CJ Chairman Sohn Kyung-shik, SK Chairman Chey Tae-won, Doosan Group Chairman Park YongMann, Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong Koo, & Samsung Electronics Co. Chairman Lee Kun-hee.

Notable Mentions at the 2020 Annual Gala

“BTS set the world alight not only just by setting records but also by inspiring audiences of all backgrounds & cultures with their universal messages of hope, humanity & love.” — Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, Chair, Board of Directors, The Korea Society

“I want to congratulate you, together with my fellow Koreans, on your receiving the Van Fleet Award…and the members of BTS have been the central to promoting cultural exchange between our two countries (US and South Korea).” — President Moon Jae-in

“Korean culture was able to make it to the Academy Awards and Billboard Charts…” — President Moon Jae-in

“Korean soft power film, drama, art & music has also become a force to be recognize. Therefore, we extend our third Van Fleet Award tonight to the Korean Global Superstar pop band BTS who are at the top of the US Billboards.” — Thomas Byrne, President & CEO, The Korea Society

One group at the forefront leading the Korean Wave, it’s BTS.”— Juju Chang, Master of Ceremonies, Co-Anchor ABC Nightline

Credit: The Korea Society 2020 Annual Gala, Enduring Alliance, Expanding Horizons, Program.


Namjoon, RM

We are very honored to receive the Van Fleet Award presented to those who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion & relations between Korea & the U.S. We express our sincere gratitude to all the members of the Korean Society.

Seokjin, Jin

It’s 7 p.m. in NYC and 8 a.m. here in Seoul. We are living different time zones & locations but connected through music. We share our cultures and stories beyond borders & languages based on solidarity.

Taehyung, V

We are experiencing the amazing power of connection & solidarity in every moment of our careers. It brings changes to what seemed unlikely, & makes possible what seemed impossible. I believe this kind of power has brought BTS to become who we are today.

Hoseok, J-Hope

As you all are aware, we recently reached the summit of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Despite all the difficult times we went through since our debut 7 years ago, we’ve been able to proceed without giving up thanks to people who are connected with & joined together in solidarity.


It cheers us up when many people around the world, including the U.S. listen to our songs & sympathize with our words & messages. This allows us to clearly understand what are we doing & what we should be doing moving forward.


What I have learned from touring across the world, is that our thoughts are not so different even if we are in different places. The feelings of sadness, anger, & being touched is similar everywhere I go. I hope that our music plays a role as a link that allows people from all around the world to understand & respect one another.

Yoongi, SUGA

Thankfully a lot of people are supporting us and each and every one of them became a messenger, spreading a much bigger energy & influence. In the future we will make sure to not lose faith in power of connection and solidarity, & continue to create music and performances of our own.

Namjoon, RM

The Korea Society 2020 Annual Gala is especially meaningful as this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. We will always remember the history of the pain that our two nations share together & the sacrifices of countless men & women. After 70 yrs, the world we live in is much closer than before & boundaries in many aspects are more blurred. As members of the global community, we should build a deeper understanding & solidarity to be happier together. In pursuit of this cause BTS will always remind ourselves of the meaning of the Van Fleet award and keep doing our best in all that we do. Thank you very much


Event: The Korea Society 2020 Annual Gala
Speech by: BTS, Kim Namjoon (RM), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (SUGA), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung (V), and Jeon Jungkook.
Date and time: October 7th, 2020, 08:00 KST/7 P.M. EDT
Location: Seoul, South Korea

We would like to congratulate BTS and all of the recipients of the Van Fleet Award honored by The Korea Society. Thank you President Moon Jae-in for speaking at the event.

“As members of the global community, we should build a deeper understanding & solidarity to be happier together.” — RM

Written & Transcribed by Admin C.

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