RSAA members have access to a range of activities that enrich their understanding and appreciation of Asia.
The Society’s well-regarded journal, Asian Affairs, is published three times a year by Taylor and Francis. All RSAA members receive a hard copy subscription, and also unlimited online access to the back catalogue of articles and book reviews.
Lectures are held twice a month in Central London. Given by an authoritative speaker, they are typically illustrated and followed by questions from the floor. Topics include current affairs, economics and finance, history, art, archaeology, anthropology, culture, travel and other special subjects connected with Asia.
The RSAA hosts regular dinners, drinks receptions, exhibition visits and other excursions that allow members and their guests to meet others with similar interests. Highlights of the calendar include the Annual Tea Party at the House of Lords, and the Biennial Dinner.
Now housed mainly at Haileybury School, the RSAA’s library contains several thousand books spanning the breadth of Asia. Approximately one-third is housed at the RSAA offices at 1A St Martins House, Polygon Road. The digital catalogue is searchable online, and members are welcome to come in and browse. The library is complemented by the Society’s extensive archive of images, maps and personal papers also housed at the London office.
Education is at the heart of the Society’s aim to increase knowledge about Asia. Our annual Sixth Form Day, hosted jointly with SOAS, gives young people the opportunity to hear expert speakers and try taster sessions in Asian languages; our bi-annual lecture evening at the East India Club enables students to lecture on their own travels and research; and we have a list of members able to talk from first-hand experience to school groups and the media.
Annual tours and expeditions are specially organised by the RSAA to enable members to make detailed visits to particular countries, including to areas that would be hard to reach as an independent traveller. Study groups are occasionally established on subjects of particular interest, and these attract acknowledged outside experts to work with members.
The RSAA awards two medals, namely the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal and the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal, to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their contribution to cultural relations, exploration, research or literature. The Society also awards its own Special Award, and administers two awards for young people: the RSAA Travel & Adventure Award for purposeful travel by young people aged between 21 and 28, and the JPT Award for medical students undertaking electives in Asia.