About the RSAA

The RSAA’s objective is to advance public knowledge and understanding of Asia through its worldwide networks, its public events, its publications and its support to research.

History

The origin of the RSAA lies in the creation in 1901 of the Central Asian Society, which became the Royal Central Asian Society in 1931 and in 1975 adopted its present name of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs.

‘A Proposal to Establish a Central Asian Society’ was circulated in November 1901, at the instigation of Dr Cotterell Tupp, Captain Francis Younghusband, Colonel Algernon Durand, and General Sir Thomas Gordon. Their objectives were set out as follows: “At present there is in London no society or institution which is devoted entirely to the consideration of Central Asian questions from their political as well as from their geographical, commercial or scientific aspect, though Societies such as the Royal Geographical and Royal Asiatic Society discuss these subjects incidentally. It is therefore proposed to establish a society to be called the Central Asian Society, with rooms, where those who either have travelled in Central Asia, or are interested in Central Asian questions, could meet one another.”

It has often been assumed that the name of the proposed Society and the reference to “Central Asian questions” indicated an exclusive focus on what had become known as “the Great Game” – that cautious regional rivalry between British interests in India and the newly enlarged Russian Empire. But although Central Asia dominated the Society’s early interests, from the outset its members took the view that any Asian developments that could have a bearing on British interests in Central Asia fell within the Society’s remit. So when, in 1975, the society changed its name to the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, it was in effect acknowledging in its name what had been the practical reality since its earliest days. By then, the Society’s journal, first published in 1914, had been using the title Asian Affairs since 1970.

Strolling About on the Roof of the World

The history of the RSAA, Strolling about on the Roof of the World, was written in connection with the Society’s centenary in 2001 by the late Hugh Leach OBE, then the Society’s Historian.  It covers the first hundred years of the Society’s existence and includes some of the Society’s unique archival photographs, not previously published.  It tells the story of an organisation originally founded so that imperial administrators and explorers could network with each other, gaining the attention and participation of the political classes of the 1920s and 1930s, providing a channel for semi-covert briefings during the Second World War, and adapting to the post-imperial commercial focus of British interests in Asia.

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Strolling About on the Roof of the World

The First Hundred Years of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs

£25 + P&P

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Governance

The Society is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation no 1179300.

Board of Trustees

Frank Slevin
Frank Slevin

Chairman

Andrew Cartwright
Andrew Cartwright

Treasurer

Vanessa Easlea
Vanessa Easlea

Robin Lamb
Robin Lamb

Bijan Omrani
Bijan Omrani

Adrian Steger
Adrian Steger

Dr David Taylor
Dr David Taylor

Staff

Michael Ryder CMG, Chief Executive
Briony Watson, Assistant Secretary

Downloads

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RSAA CIO Constitution
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    RSAA Accounts 2018
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    RSAA Accounts 2017
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    RSAA Accounts 2016
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    RSAA Accounts 2015
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    RSAA Accounts 2014
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      AGM Minutes 2019
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      AGM Minutes 2017
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      AGM Minutes 2016
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      AGM Minutes 2015
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      AGM Minutes 2014
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        President

        Professor Peter Frankopan

        Honorary Vice-Presidents

        Sir Harold Walker KCMG
        Neville Green OBE FCIB

        Honorary Secretary

        W (Bill) Norton

        Society Archivist

        Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

        Accountants & Examiners

        Prentis & Co LLP

        Bankers

        Lloyds Bank

        Investment managers

        CCLA

        Council

        Carolyn Browne
        Roger Croston
        Sophie Ibbotson
        David Kemmis-Betty (Chair)
        Ravi Kumar
        Bill  Norton
        Martin Skipper
        Antony Wynn

        Asian Affairs – journal of the RSAA
        Editorial Board

        Gerald Dorey, Chairman
        Professor Kerry Brown
        Dr William Crawley
        Dr Hildegard Diemberger
        Janet Hancock
        Lucy Kelaart
        Professor Neeti Nair
        Professor Nalanda Roy
        Barney Smith CMG
        Dr David Taylor
        Professor Robert Taylor
        Sir Harold Walker KCMG

        Editor

        Dr Bijan Omrani

        Local Honorary Secretaries

        Australia – Mr Bruce Bowers
        Hong Kong – Vacant
        India (Chennai) – Vacant
        India (Mumbai) – Vacant
        India (New Delhi) – Vacant
        Malaysia – Mr Henry Barlow OBE
        New Zealand – Mr Andrew De Pree
        United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) – Dr Frauke Heard
        United Arab Emirates (Northern emirates) – Mr Gordon Rouquette
        United States (Middle Atlantic States) – Mr Ronald F Rosner
        United States (New England) – Mrs Susanna Sutro