The 2020 RSAA Travel Awards are now closed to applications.


The Royal Society for Asian Affairs invites applications for Travel Awards to support practical projects and research that have the potential to contribute to advances in scholarly or other public knowledge including, but not limited to, post-graduate degrees, journalism and travel writing. The awards are intended to support individual travel and may not be used for commercial purposes or to fund participation in activities arranged by another organisation.


Applicants must be aged 21-28 at the time of application.  Applicants may be of any nationality but should be normally resident in the UK.


Applicants should submit a proposal of no more than two sides of A4, involving travel in a country or countries of Asia in 2020 and relating to the geography, history, politics, environment, conservation, culture or art of the area to be visited. Any part of Asia, from eastern Turkey and the Middle East to Japan, may be chosen. Plans should be costed as far as possible and should state the duration of the travel involved and how the costs will be met. The awards will be made on the basis of originality, coherence, evidence of background knowledge, and the degree to which the proposal is likely to add to knowledge and understanding of the area chosen.  A one-page CV should accompany the proposal, including postal address, email address and date of birth.


Applications will be assessed by a panel appointed by the RSAA.  Applicants can expect to be informed of the outcome by mid-December 2019.


Awards are for travel in 2020 and may be of any amount up to £1,000 at the discretion of the awards panel.  The panel will have the discretion to make multiple awards or none.  Successful applicants will also receive two year’s free membership of the RSAA.


Successful applicants must, after completion of their travel, provide an account of the project undertaken (including a photographic or other pictorial record) to the RSAA.  This may be in the form of a presentation at a meeting of the RSAA or a video or podcast that the RSAA can share with its members and use in promotion of the Awards and of its activities more generally. The Society attaches particular importance to this commitment.


The Editor of the Society’s journal Asian Affairs will welcome submissions based on award-supported activities and research.


Applications should be sent to travelawards@rsaa.org.uk and must be received by 17:00 on 30 November 2019.


Hover over a recipients name to view more details about their projects.

  • 2019Anna Murray

    Name: Anna Murray

    Year: 2019

  • 2019Freya Smith

    Name: Freya Smith

    Year: 2019

    Paediatrics, Nepal

  • 2019Harry Potts

    Name: Harry Potts

    Year: 2019

    Hepatitis, Mongolia

  • 2019Hepzibah Ogunro

    Name: Hepzibah Ogunro

    Year: 2019

    TB, Nepal

  • 2019Hannah Ellis

    Name: Hannah Ellis

    Year: 2019

    Reproductive Health in Malaysia

  • 2019Francesc Vendrell CMG

    Name: Francesc Vendrell CMG

    Year: 2019

    On 11 March 2019, the Board of Trustees of the Society resolved to award the medal to Francesc Vendrell CMG in recognition of his lifelong commitment to the reduction and resolution of conflicts, particularly in Asian countries, and the important roles that he has played, and continues to play, in seeking peaceful outcomes to disputes within and between nations.

  • 2018Ben Sun

    Name: Ben Sun

    Year: 2018

    China: differences between its & UK’s healthcare

  • 2018Rathin Pujari

    Name: Rathin Pujari

    Year: 2018

    India: diabetic retinopathy

  • 2018Roshni Mansfield

    Name: Roshni Mansfield

    Year: 2018

    Bhutan: paediatric surgery

  • 2018Michael Gach

    Name: Michael Gach

    Year: 2018

    Indonesia: anti-microbial prescribing

  • 2018Haamed Al Hassan

    Name: Haamed Al Hassan

    Year: 2018

    Palestinian occupied territories: opthamology

  • 2018Ryan Young

    Name: Ryan Young

    Year: 2018

    Studying Sufi culture in Pakistani Punjab

  • 2018India Fallon

    Name: India Fallon

    Year: 2018

    Producing a film on protecting the rights of Dukha reindeer herders in Mongolia

  • 2018George Brill

    Name: George Brill

    Year: 2018

    Documenting subsistence skills in maritime South-East Asia

  • 2017Mr Tim Cope

    Name: Mr Tim Cope

    Year: 2017

    Mr Tim Cope travelled the entire length of the Eurasian steppe alone for three years on horseback from Karakoram – the ancient capital of Mongolia – through Kazakhstan, Russia, the Crimea and the Ukraine, to the river Danube in Hungary. This was a journey made in the footsteps of Genghis Khan, and, as far as is known, it is the first time it has been retraced on a horse.

    In 2004, at the at the age of 25, Tim Cope set out on a ride which eventually was to involve thirteen horses, many of which ended up being stolen. Travelling for three years he covered over 6,000 miles accompanied by his dog. He witnessed how traditional nomadism hangs on in a post-Soviet Union world. After his journey, he published “On the Trail of Genghis Khan: an Epic Journey Through the Land of the Nomads” in 2013, and his documentary film of the journey won several awards.

    From the publicity about his journey, Tim Cope has extended knowledge about this Central Asian region and its peoples, and in undertaking it, he made an exceptional and unusual achievement demonstrating outstanding courage, endurance, fortitude, personal effort and ingenuity – factors which are the basis of the Special Award. The award will be presented in Australia through the British High Commission at an event later this year.

  • 2017Thomas Bennett

    Name: Thomas Bennett

    Year: 2017

    India: Travel to Ladakh and Himalayas with Himalayan Health Exchange (HHE) to improve local well-being through public health strategies and primary care clinics.

  • 2017Timothy Seers

    Name: Timothy Seers

    Year: 2017

    Cambodia: To undertake a research project in malaria control

  • 2017Catherine Hsu

    Name: Catherine Hsu

    Year: 2017

    Vietnam & Taiwan: A four-week placement at the Ho Chi Minh Hospital for Infectious Diseases (HTD) and a three-week placement in the oncology department at the National Taiwan University Hospital

  • 2017Esther Park

    Name: Esther Park

    Year: 2017

    Pakistan: To explore systemic health-care issues alongside the culture and religion and how they all interact with one another. To find out the strengths and limitations of foreigner-led charity medical services and what difference such services can make to the women of the society, who are often reckoned as second-class citizens due to cultural or religious reasons.

  • 2017Fatima Junaid

    Name: Fatima Junaid

    Year: 2017

    Jordan: to observe and describe the provision of palliative care in the Middle East

  • 2017Hasan Suida

    Name: Hasan Suida

    Year: 2017

    Beirut: how art is being used as a tool for change in response to the troubles there

  • 2017Ravi Kumar

    Name: Ravi Kumar

    Year: 2017

    Solo travel following footsteps of K P S Menon in Baluchistan, Punjab & N Pakistan

  • 2017Christian Dixon

    Name: Christian Dixon

    Year: 2017

    Research into displaced Syrian & Iraqi Christian refugees going to Lebanon, Turkey & South Kurdistan

  • 2017Laura Foley

    Name: Laura Foley

    Year: 2017


  • 2016Arani Vivekanantham

    Name: Arani Vivekanantham

    Year: 2016

    India: Clinical and Research Placement at Christian Medical College, Vellore

  • 2016Naa Akle Dromo Okantey

    Name: Naa Akle Dromo Okantey

    Year: 2016

    India: Study into sex workers healthcare in Maharashtra

  • 2016Kasha Rogers-Smith

    Name: Kasha Rogers-Smith

    Year: 2016

    India: Conduct a survey of pre-hospital care received by spinal cord injured patients in a specialist spinal hospital in New Delhi

  • 2016Ali Rezaei Haddad

    Name: Ali Rezaei Haddad

    Year: 2016

    Iran: The Influence of Iranian Lifestyle and History on the Prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis

  • 2016Mr William Lindesday OBE

    Name: Mr William Lindesday OBE

    Year: 2016

    Mr William Lindesay OBE,

    Mr William Lindesay O.B.E. will be the 8th recipient of The Special Award. He is a graduate of the University of Liverpool, specialising in geography and geology, who in 1987 made what China’s official Xinhua News Agency described as “the most successful foreign exploration of the Great Wall” when he made a 1,535 mile solo journey on foot along its length. During this endeavour he survived illness, injury, extremes of temperature, viscous dogs, arrest and deportation. From 1994 he made systematic research of the Great Wall in the Beijing region and brought the Chinese media’s attention, in 1998, to the fact that the environment around the wall was degrading. Consequently he organised two major clean up missions, which resulted in the Chinese government awarding him their “Friendship Medal” that year.

    Next, Lindesay founded the “International Friends of The Great Wall” in Hong Kong in 2001, so as to assist the Chinese authorities in their funding and efforts to preserve the wall’s authenticity. Working together they successfully nominated the wall to be included in the World Monuments Fund’s “2002 List of the World’s Most 100 Endangered Sites.”

    For his work on the wall, William Lindesay was awarded the O.B.E. in July 2006. Two years later he received awards in China, which include “Top Ten Volunteers in Beijing” and “Top Ten National Defenders of Cultural Heritage”.

    Lindesay has written many articles and reports about the wall and his books include:
    “Alone on The Great Wall” (1989); “Images of Asia: The Great Wall” (2003); “The Great Wall Explained” (2012); “The Great Wall of Two Williams” (2012, in Mandarin)

    Lindesay has lectured about the Great Wall to many learned societies in China, the USA, Hong Kong, Germany and Great Britain. In 2008 he staged exhibitions in Beijing and at the western and eastern ends of the wall as well along the wall’s route. These were followed in 2010 by a television documentary for the National Geographic television channel. Subsequently, in 2011 and 2012, Lindesay led two pioneering expeditions with fellow researchers to investigate “The Wall of Genghis Khan” in Mongolia.

    The Society’s “Special Award” was instituted in 1998 by resolution of Council to “be made in recognition of exceptionally outstanding and unusual achievement in Asia… in any sphere, including service to humanity, contribution to science, the extension of knowledge, innovation, individual ingenuity and resource, personal effort and courage, endurance, fortitude or contribution to culture.” In conclusion, Mr William Lindesay fulfils many, if not all, of the above criteria for his major efforts to help conserve, protect and increase knowledge about The Great Wall of China.

  • 2016Dr John Curtis & Dr Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis

    Name: Dr John Curtis & Dr Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis

    Year: 2016

    On 23 March 2016 the Council of the Society resolved to award the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal jointly to Dr John Curtis and Dr Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis, of the British Museum, in recognition of their outstanding contribution towards the improvement of cultural relations between Great Britain and the Islamic Republic of Iran by arranging the exhibition Iran and the World in the Safavid Age at the British Museum, patiently and tirelessly negotiating the loan of many items from Tehran and, subsequently, the loan of the Cyrus Cylinder from the British Museum first to Tehran and thereafter to a number of museums in the USA, thereby accomplishing an outstanding feat of cultural diplomacy at a time of difficult political relations between Iran and the West.

  • 2016Mr Michael Asher

    Name: Mr Michael Asher

    Year: 2016

    Michael Asher is a notable desert explorer who has traveled thousands of miles on foot and by camel. He has lived in Africa for much of his life. As a young man he served in the Parachute Regiment and the SAS. Later, he worked in The Sudan as a volunteer English teacher when he took to desert  travel in Kordofan and Darfur, thence to Egypt along the ancient slave-trade route on which he based his first book In Search of the Forty Days Road. From 1982, Asher lived with the Kababish tribe in Kordofan for three years, after which he took a famine relief camel caravan to the Bejan people in the Red Sea Hills. In 1986, with his wife, he traveled 4,500 miles with camels to make the first recorded crossing of the Sahara from west to east on foot. in 1992, Asher crossed the Western Desert with a local companion from Mersa Matruh, Libya to Aswan, Egypt. With his wife, he has crossed the Thar Desert in India by camel and the Uruq-ash-Shaiba, the highest dunes in the Empty Quarter of Arabia. A further journey on foot was made on the pilgrimage route around Mount Kailash, Tibet. Asher has published twenty one books and has worked for the UN Agencies WHO/UNICEF, UNEP AND UNPOS involved in famine relief, training peacekeepers, human rights and disengaging guerrilla forces. for the British Council he trained police in Western Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. He has campaigned for the preservation of the ecology of fragile desert and semi-desert environments as well as the forcible removal of indigenous peoples from then.

    His desert journeys and his appreciation of their environments and indigenous people with whom he has traveled , in what is a fast disappearing way of life, together with his studies of Thesiger and Lawrence, make him a worthy recipient of the Memorial Medal, in pursuance of the Council’s resolution on 23 March 2016.

  • 2016May Homira Rezai

    Name: May Homira Rezai

    Year: 2016

    Afghanistan: to look at the lives of the Hazara people

  • 2015Tarquin Bertram

    Name: Tarquin Bertram

    Year: 2015

    Nepal: Explore the differences in healthcare needs and provision across the varied landscape of Nepal

  • 2015Valmir Selimi

    Name: Valmir Selimi

    Year: 2015

    Cambodia: Attend the Cambodia Children’s Surgical Centre (CSC) to view and experience a range of surgical procedures

  • 2015Cara Ann Mason

    Name: Cara Ann Mason

    Year: 2015

    Mongolia: Evaluation of the effect of medical education

  • 2015Amber Barthorpe

    Name: Amber Barthorpe

    Year: 2015

    Japan: Comparing the characteristics of Japanese suicide and British suicide attempters from comparable tertiary healthcare centres of all ages

  • 2016Emilia Smeds

    Name: Emilia Smeds

    Year: 2016

    China: to look at the changing fortunes of bicycle culture

  • 2016Ben Jones

    Name: Ben Jones

    Year: 2016

    Iran: to create a photographic record of the markets of Iran

  • 2016Daoud Jackson

    Name: Daoud Jackson

    Year: 2016

    Turkey: to research the architecture and building decoration of the Seljuks

  • 2016Katherine Crofts-Gibbons

    Name: Katherine Crofts-Gibbons

    Year: 2016

    Uzbekistan: to recreate the journey of Rosita Forbes

  • 2015Dr Christoph Baumer

    Name: Dr Christoph Baumer

    Year: 2015

    Christoph Baumer: Explorer & Historian; Founder and President of the Society for Exploration of EurAsia


    On 18 March 2015 the Council of the Society resolved to award the Sir Percy Sykes Medal to Christoph Baumer in recognition of his outstanding contribution towards knowledge of the cultural history of Central Asia. His expeditions to the Taklamakan and Lop Nor deserts and to Tibet, where he discovered a number of unknown ancient settlements; his tracing of the spread of the Assyrian church from south-eastern Turkey to Mongolia, China and southern India; his expeditions to document all the Buddhist monasteries of Wutai Shan in north-west China; his founding in 2004 of the Society for the Explorations of EurAsia, active in five Central Asian countries, together with the publication of his many sumptuously illustrated books on these subjects, have not only brought to life the stones and artefacts of long gone or disappearing civilisations but also show the contemporary human story in a manner that is both scholarly and accessible to the amateur.

  • 2011Mr David Hempleman-Adams

    Name: Mr David Hempleman-Adams

    Year: 2011

    David Hempleman-Adams’s interest in adventure was inspired by The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for which he holds a gold medal and is a Trustee. In 1998, he was the first person to achieve the Explorers’ Grand Slam; by climbing the seven highest summits in the world’s seven continents and reaching the magnetic and geographical North and South Poles.

    In 2000, in the style of Jules Verne, he flew solo in a balloon across the Arctic Ocean to the North Pole. David broke five world records in 2007 when he flew the smallest gas balloon in an open basket across the Atlantic from St.John’s, Newfoundland to Nolay, France. In October 2008, David and co-pilot Jon Mason won the Gordon Bennett gas balloon race, the first time a British team had achieved this since the competition was launched 104 years ago. He has 46 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale world aviation records. David has recently returned from a two month long expedition on the north side of Everest. He successfully reached the summit at 8.05am on the 21st May 2011. He has now reached the summit from both the South and North sides.

    He has held a passion and special interest in the Far East since he made his first visit to Nepal as a young intrepid explorer at the age of 20 when he trekked to Everest Base Camp. He has given hundreds of lectures and talks in schools on his expeditions to help educate young people and raise awareness of issues affecting remote regions including climate change and is a founder member of the Mitchemp Trust, a UK based charity supporting disadvantaged youngsters and giving them an adventure experience.

  • 2013Mr Muhammed Syahmi Roslan

    Name: Mr Muhammed Syahmi Roslan

    Year: 2013

    Malaysia: Confusion: prevalence of dementia, delirium, depression and anxiety in hospital elderly, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.

  • 2013Ms Tianying Zhang

    Name: Ms Tianying Zhang

    Year: 2013

    Vietnam: Adult & paediatric infectious diseases: research into Klebsiella pneumoniae oropharyngeal carriage in rural and urban populations.

  • 2013Ms Jennifer Dodds

    Name: Ms Jennifer Dodds

    Year: 2013

    India: Qualitative survey re reasons of early removal of copper interuterine devices amongst Adivas women in Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu, India.

  • 2013Ms Jennifer Myo

    Name: Ms Jennifer Myo

    Year: 2013

    Cambodia: Demographic health survey of Katchcam Village, Lumphat District, Ratakiri, Cambodia.

  • 2013Ms Frances Yarlett

    Name: Ms Frances Yarlett

    Year: 2013

    Cambodia: Demographic health survey of Katchcam Village, Lumphat District, Ratakiri, Cambodia.

  • 2012Ms Michelle Wilmott

    Name: Ms Michelle Wilmott

    Year: 2012

    Various: joint project comparing end-of-life care in widely differing countries and situations

  • 2012Mr Arjun Kingdon

    Name: Mr Arjun Kingdon

    Year: 2012

    Various: joint project comparing end-of-life care in widely differing countries and situations

  • 2012Ms Sonia Sharma

    Name: Ms Sonia Sharma

    Year: 2012

    Malaysia: study of the helminth carriage in children living in rural villages in Sarawak

  • 2012Ms Lucy Loong

    Name: Ms Lucy Loong

    Year: 2012

    Various: to gain insight into how healthcare & conservation can work synergistically for local healthcare.

  • 2013Mrs Nancy Hatch Dupree

    Name: Mrs Nancy Hatch Dupree

    Year: 2013

    On 25 September 2013, the Council of the Society resolved to award the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial medal to Nancy Hatch Dupree in recognition of her contribution to education and research in Afghanistan and, in particular, the establishment of The Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University. She and her husband, Louis, were forced out of Afghanistan in the 1970s and based themselves in Peshawar, Pakistan, where alongside helping Afghan refugees, they began collecting historical documents that now form the nucleus of the Afghanistan Centre. Louis died in 1989, but Nancy continued their joint work and returned to Afghanistan in 2005. There she arranged for the records, almost 300 sacks full, to be returned; however with nowhere to store or present them, she set about the establishment of the Afghanistan Centre. Her efforts prevailed and, with funds from the Finance Ministry and land from the university, the Centre is a testament to Nancy’s dedication to promoteeducation and research into Afghan history.

  • 2012Major Geoffrey Langlands

    Name: Major Geoffrey Langlands

    Year: 2012

    On 3 October 2012, the Council of the Society resolved to award the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial medal to Major Geoffrey Langlands CMG MBE in recognition of his contribution to education in Pakistan. First teaching English and Mathematics for 25 years at Aitchison College, becoming Principal of the Cadet College at Razmak, in the Tribal Areas and then, in 1989, taking over a school in Chitral in the Hindu Kush, now formally named the Langlands School and College,  and overseeing its growth from 86 to 900 pupils, both boys and girls. He formally retired in early 2013 and resides again at Aitchison College, Lahore.



  • 2014Sebastian Rumsby

    Name: Sebastian Rumsby

    Year: 2014

    Vietnam: travel to research recent changes in water puppet performances

  • 2014Anna Kellar

    Name: Anna Kellar

    Year: 2014

    Tajikistan: travel to explore four valleys in Western Badakshan province.

  • 2013Rohit Dasgupta

    Name: Rohit Dasgupta

    Year: 2013

    India: travel to rural belt around Bihar/Orissa to find out more about ‘Launda’ (dancing boys) community

  • 2013Kim Jacobsen

    Name: Kim Jacobsen

    Year: 2013

    India: travel to Tiruvallur, Tamil Nadu State to interview Irula tribe re snakes in areas of human habitation.

  • 2013Jamie Maddison

    Name: Jamie Maddison

    Year: 2013

    Central Asia: following in footsteps of Sir Charles Howard-Bury, who travelled there in 1913.

  • 2012Giulia Camerra

    Name: Giulia Camerra

    Year: 2012

    China: analyse causes & consequences of labour shortage hitting manufacturers; will visit 8 textile factories

  • 2012Shaun McPhee

    Name: Shaun McPhee

    Year: 2012

    China: Study of N Korean children in China; long history of migration from N Korea for work, freedom & food.

  • 2011Felix Vicat

    Name: Felix Vicat

    Year: 2011

    Sri Lanka: interviewing military leaders of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam having spoken to those who won.

  • 2011Daria Singh

    Name: Daria Singh

    Year: 2011

    Mongolia: Six months work with Wild Camel Protection Foundation for the breeding & calving season.

  • 2010Andrew Daynes

    Name: Andrew Daynes

    Year: 2010

    Pakistan: Focusing on oral histories/recollections of  Gilgit uprising & their thoughts for current & future Gilgit.

  • 2010Mohammed Khuram

    Name: Mohammed Khuram

    Year: 2010

    China: retracing George Hayward’s & Robert Shaw’s journey in 1869 from Yarkand to Kashgar (by horse)

  • 2009Idris Ouahes

    Name: Idris Ouahes

    Year: 2009

    Israel: Travel to 5 countries in the ME to study the back-ground of Father Antonin Jaussen, priest & spy WW1

  • 2009Matthias Determann

    Name: Matthias Determann

    Year: 2009

    Saudi Arabia: travel to study changes in the public sphere, especially in Riyadh & its surroundings

  • 2008Hannah Warren

    Name: Hannah Warren

    Year: 2008

    India: travel to Madhya Pradesh to study & make pictorial record of female weavers in a community.

  • 2008Peter Cole

    Name: Peter Cole

    Year: 2008

    Yemen: travel to Yemen to make a study of the Mehri tribe.

  • 2008Sonal Barot

    Name: Sonal Barot

    Year: 2008

    Japan: travel to gain a deeper understanding of what lies behind the Indian dance style ‘Bharata Natyam’ in Japan.

  • 2007Nicholas Farrelly

    Name: Nicholas Farrelly

    Year: 2007

    China: travel to the Jingpo Wunpawng Manao Festival in Lonchuan County, Yunnan Province.

  • 2007Alice Ekman

    Name: Alice Ekman

    Year: 2007

    China: photographic project in four coastal cities (Beidaihe, Tangu, Tianjin & Qinhuangdao)

  • 2006Aidan Harris

    Name: Aidan Harris

    Year: 2006

    Tibet: Tibetan identity inside Tibet compared to those in exile; includes travel to Lhasa, Sakya, Amdo & Shigatse.

  • 2006Ben Caldecott

    Name: Ben Caldecott

    Year: 2006

    Malaysia: Survey of environmental & livelihood change in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak.

  • 1985Professor Mary Boyce

    Name: Professor Mary Boyce

    Year: 1985

    In recognition of her work in connection with Zoroastrianism.

  • 1988Lady Alexandra Metcalfe

    Name: Lady Alexandra Metcalfe

    Year: 1988

    In recognition of her work in Asia for the Save the Children Fund.

  • 1998Mr. Peter McMillan

    Name: Mr. Peter McMillan

    Year: 1998

    For his ingenuity, resource and courage in re-enacting the original flight in 1919 from Britain to Australia by the Smith brothers in a replica Vickers Vimy FB 27A bomber.

  • 1999Dr. Ina Russell

    Name: Dr. Ina Russell

    Year: 1999

    For long and dedicated service to the Royal Society for Asian Affairs both as a Member of Council and as an Honorary Secretary.

  • 2003Miss Susan Farrington

    Name: Miss Susan Farrington

    Year: 2003

    In recognition of her contribution to the aims of the Society, in particular to a sympathetic understanding of British links with Southern and South East Asia.

    The award recognises her painstaking and enthusiastic work in locating, researching and recording British graves outside the remit of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the Indian sub-Continent and in South East Asia, both on behalf of the British Association for Cemeteries of South Asia and independently. Her role in recording on audio-tape and in print the memoirs of former British Crown servants in Asia. Several of these records have been deposited in the archives of the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol. Her major contribution to the Society’s Centenary History, both by independent research and in preparing the text for printing and publication. Her role in administering Operation Raleigh in Pakistan in conjunction with the Adventure Foundation, Pakistan.

  • 2004Miss Mary Mackay

    Name: Miss Mary Mackay

    Year: 2004

    In recognition of her active loyalty as a member of the Society and her generosity to the Library and Archives of the Society.

    Mrs Mackay’s donations to the Library are particularly valued and noteworthy because they relate to British experience in Central Asia during the late nineteenth century and first decade of the twentieth century, overlapping the period when this Society was founded and developed as the Central Asian Society. Her loyalty to the Society has been demonstrated by regular attendance at meetings to which she travelled from Northumberland. She also took part in travel by members of the Society to Iraq in 1978, to Kashgar in North-West China in 1990 and to Uzbekistan in 1994. From the visit to Kashgar, she contributed a number of outstanding photographs to the Society’s Archives.

  • 2005Miss Caroline Hawley

    Name: Miss Caroline Hawley

    Year: 2005

    This award recognises her distinguished career as a foreign correspondent in the troubled areas of the Middle East, which have included tours in Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

    It reflects especially her continuing service with the British Broadcasting Corporation in Iraq, both before the outbreak of war in that country in March 2003, and in its aftermath. It acknowledges her determined approach to factual reporting and her courage in seeking, in very difficult circumstances, to convey to the British public the realities of present-day Iraq. The consistent quality of her reporting in hazardous conditions has evoked admiration from a wide public and has followed a distinguished tradition set by former journalists and BBC World Service reporters also honoured by this Society.

  • 2011Dr. Alex Duncan

    Name: Dr. Alex Duncan

    Year: 2011

    Dr Alex Duncan first went to Pakistan to teach English in his gap year, and remained interested in Asia. Following his medical training in Cambridge and London, he did some brief spells in hospitals in Pakistan before doing his GP training. He married in 1997, and they went to Pakistan in 1999, working with Afghan refugees, and to Afghanistan in 2002. He and his wife and four children lived in a village high up in the Wakhan Corridor of north-eastern Afghnistan for six years, trying to improve the health of some of the poorest people on earth. They lived in a typical Wakhi one-roomed mud hut with no running water or drains, no beds and little food, using many blankets to negotiate the -25ºC winter temperatures.

    The region had a terrifyingly high mortality rate from respiratory diseases among the children, caused by cooking in the one-roomed houses that everyone in the region live in. This increased the mortality rate in children by 10% and when Dr Duncan and his family arrived there in 2002 a third of the children died before the age of five. The number of deaths was a big shock to his wife Eleanor, a linguist, who had taken on the role of talking to the local women and teaching her own children. Five years later this mortality rate in children had dropped to a quarter.

    In January 2010 Dr Duncan and his wife were each awarded an MBE for their work in Afghanistan. In recognition of their time spent in the Wakhan Corridor improving the health of the people there and in pursuance of the Council’s resolution, this award is made and a citation is presented on 11 May 2011 to Dr Alex Duncan MBE.

  • 2011Major Roddy Jones

    Name: Major Roddy Jones

    Year: 2011

    Major Roddy Jones is a long standing member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and served with the Royal Welch Fusiliers in Arabia and Afghanistan until the late 1960’s when he suffered a severe leg injury. After retirement from the Army he remained working in Saudi Arabia and Oman as Keeper of the Arabian Horse Stud Dhirab and as a Field Officer at the Oryx Preservation Park Jabuni in Oman.

    In 1997 he became involved in the Afghan Mother and Child Rescue organisation in the Panjshir Valley. Working in the area had been made very difficult by the eruption of the Taliban in the region, but Major Jones set to work supervising the building of a Mother and Child Health Clinic at Rokha in the Panjshir Valley. After its completion in 2000 other clinics were started in the Panjshir Valley and despite his leg disability he makes twice yearly visits either from Kabul or from Dushambe in Tajikistan, depending on the political situation.

    In recognition of long service in Arabia involved in research, equine stud management and the Oryx Conservation Project in Oman, and for over ten years primary humanitarian involvement in the Afghan Mother and Child Reserve Clinics in Afghanistan in pursuance of the Council’s resolution, the award is made and a citation is presented on 11 May 2011 to Major E R L Jones.

  • 2004Mr John Hare

    Name: Mr John Hare

    Year: 2004

    John Hare, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers’ Club of America has lectured to the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, the United Nations, the Great Britain-China Centre, the Grocers’ Livery Company and the Scientific Exploration Society.
    He has lectured in the USA to the National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Explorers’ Club, the China Institute, to Societies in Hong Kong, China and Kenya and to numerous schools and colleges. He has also lectured aboard the Queen Mary 2.

    In 2004 John Hare was awarded the Ness Award by the Royal Geographical Society for raising awareness about wild Bactrian camels and the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal for exploration under extreme hazard by the Royal Society of Asian Affairs. In October 2006 the Royal Scottish Geographical Society awarded him the Mungo Park Medal for distinguished contributions to exploration.

  • 2001Mr Colin Thubron

    Name: Mr Colin Thubron

    Year: 2001

    A regular lecturer at the RSAA, Colin Thubron CBE received his medal in 2001 for his literary output, lectures and broadcasts, the product of forty years of travel in Asia through which he has enlarged knowledge of its peoples and cultures.



  • 1998Mr Hugh Leach

    Name: Mr Hugh Leach

    Year: 1998

    Hugh Leach OBE spent his career as a soldier and diplomat in the Arab world and has served with both regular and irregular Arab troops. He is the Society’s Historian and the author of Strolling About on the Roof of the World.

    He received the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial  Medal in 1998 for exploration and research in Arab countries and NW areas of the Sub-continent, and leadership of Young People’s expeditions.



  • 1995Mr George Popov

    Name: Mr George Popov

    Year: 1995

    Mr. George Popov MBE was awarded his medal for his lifelong services as a locust control expert in Central Asia and Arabia.


  • 1986Mr Sandy Gall

    Name: Mr Sandy Gall

    Year: 1986


    Mr. Sandy Gall CBE received his medal for his hazardous inquiry into the intervention by the Soviet Union in Afghanistan and the consequences for that country. He has previously lectured to the Society and also written for Asian Affairs.


  • 1985Sir Christian Bonington

    Name: Sir Christian Bonington

    Year: 1985

    Sir Christian Bonington CBE is a British mountaineer. His career has included 19 expeditions to the Himalayas, including four to Mt. Everest and the first ascent of the south face of Annapurna.

  • 1980Miss Elizabeth Monroe

    Name: Miss Elizabeth Monroe

    Year: 1980

    Miss Elizabeth Monroe received the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal for services to Arab studies. She has written extensively about a variety of topics including Philby of Arabia and the  1973 Arab-Israel War.

  • 1974Professor Robert Serjeant

    Name: Professor Robert Serjeant

    Year: 1974

    Prof. Robert Serjeant MA PhD received his medal for services in the Yemen and South Arabia. A fine Arabist, he worked extensively in  Aden, as well as other parts of Arabia, and held a number of academic positions, including as Director of the Middle East Centre at Cambridge University.

  • 1973Sir Olaf Caroe

    Name: Sir Olaf Caroe

    Year: 1973

    A prolific writer for Asian Affairs, Sir Olaf Caroe was Governor of the North West Frontier Province 1946-47. After leaving India, he became a respected writer on Asia and the Middle East.

  • 1970Professor Seton Lloyd

    Name: Professor Seton Lloyd

    Year: 1970

    Prof. Seton Lloyd  CBE was President of the British School of Archaeology in Iraq, Director of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, and Professor of Western Asiatic Archaeology in the Institute of Archaeology at the University of London.

  • 1969Sir Max Mallowan

    Name: Sir Max Mallowan

    Year: 1969

    Sir Max Mallowan CBE was a prominent British archaeologist specialising in the ancient history of the Middle East. His excavations included sites at Ur and Nimrud, about which he published Nimrud and its Remains.

  • 1966Sir Charles Dalrymple Belgrave

    Name: Sir Charles Dalrymple Belgrave

    Year: 1966

    Sir Charles Dalrymple Belgrave KBE was a senior adviser to the rulers of Bahrain from 1926-57. He was responsible for the establishment of civil and criminal courts in the country, and he went on to write about Bahrain extensively.

  • 1965Colonel Sir Hugh Boustead

    Name: Colonel Sir Hugh Boustead

    Year: 1965

    Colonel Sir Hugh Boustead was a British military officer, modern pentathlete and diplomat. He earned two military crosses and was Commander of the Sudan Camel Corps during WW2.

  • 1964Mr D Neville Barbour

    Name: Mr D Neville Barbour

    Year: 1964

    Mr. D Neville Barbour was an Indian Civil Servant, Arab scholar and writer. A one-time correspondent of The Times, he took a particular interest in the Palestine, and was a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and their cause.

  • 1961Brigadier Stephen Longrigg

    Name: Brigadier Stephen Longrigg

    Year: 1961

    Brigadier Stephen  Longrigg OBE DLitt received his medal is recognition of his work in Iraq and his books on political and economic development in the Middle East.



  • 1960Dame Violet Dickson

    Name: Dame Violet Dickson

    Year: 1960

    Dame Violet Dickson received her medal for her work amongst the Bedouin women of Arabia, and her study of desert flora and fauna.

  • 1954Sir Wilfred Thesiger

    Name: Sir Wilfred Thesiger

    Year: 1954

    Sir Wilfred Thesiger KBE DSO was an explorer and travel writer. Known also as Mubarak bin London (the blessed one from London), he travelled extensively in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran and Pakistan.

  • 1953Lord John Hunt

    Name: Lord John Hunt

    Year: 1953

    Lord John Hunt CBE DSC was awarded the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal for his 1953 conquest of Everest. 

  • 1949Lt Colonel F Spencer Chapman

    Name: Lt Colonel F Spencer Chapman

    Year: 1949

    Lt Colonel F Spencer Chapman DSO served in Malaya during WW2, where his specialty was guerrilla warfare. He published a number of books about his travels including Lhasa: The Holy City and The Jungle is Neutral, which is about his time surviving in the Malayan jungle.

  • 1948Sir Henry Holland

    Name: Sir Henry Holland

    Year: 1948

    Sir Henry Holland CIE MB ChB FRCS FICS received his medal for his medical work in Afghanistan and Baluchistan.

  • 1947Sir Charles R Pawsey

    Name: Sir Charles R Pawsey

    Year: 1947

    Sir Charles R Pawsey was a British military officer and colonial administrator. Hew as Assistant Commissioner to Assam and District Commissioner,  Naga Hills during the Burma Campaigns 1942-44. The Battle of the Tennis Court was fought in the grounds of his bungalow.

  • 1944Miss Ursula Graham Bower

    Name: Miss Ursula Graham Bower

    Year: 1944

    Miss Ursula Graham Bower received her medal for anthropological work amongst the Nagas of North East India.

  • 1943Major General Orde Wingate

    Name: Major General Orde Wingate

    Year: 1943

    Major General Orde Wingate DSO created the Chindits and is considered as one of the founders of modern guerrilla warfare. 

  • 1942Miss Mildred Cable

    Name: Miss Mildred Cable

    Year: 1942

    Miss Alice Mildred Cable received her medal for exploration of the Gobi Desert. She joined the China Inland Mission in 1901, initially working in Shanxi and then in Gansu. With her two companions, Eva and Francesca French, she travelled 1,500 miles across Central Asia, to Russia via Siberia, and spent a year living in Xinjiang.

  • 1941Captain C E Corry

    Name: Captain C E Corry

    Year: 1941

    Captain C E Corry was awarded his medal for his work amongst the Marsh Arabs of Iraq.

  • 1940Major General F G Peake

    Name: Major General F G Peake

    Year: 1940

    Major General F G Peake (also known as Peake Pasha) was a British Army officer and creator of the Arab Legion. He served in the Sudan Camel Corps and later became Major General in the army of Transjordan.

  • 1939Mr Harold Ingrams

    Name: Mr Harold Ingrams

    Year: 1939

    Mr. Harold Ingrams CMG OBE is credited with ending the blood feuds of the Hadhramaut.

  • 1939Mrs Doreen Ingrams

    Name: Mrs Doreen Ingrams

    Year: 1939

    Mrs. Doreen Ingrams received the medal jointly with her husband for ending the blood feuds of the Hadhramaut.

  • 1938Major C S Jarvis

    Name: Major C S Jarvis

    Year: 1938

    Major C S Jarvis CMG OBE was a noted Arabist, naturalist, and Governor of Sinai.

  • 1937Sir Charles Bell

    Name: Sir Charles Bell

    Year: 1937

    Sir Charles Bell KCIE CMG was a Tibetologist and Britain’s de facto Ambassador to Tibet. He was at various times the British Political Officer for Bhutan, Sikkim and Tibet, and he participated in the Simla Convention in 1913.

  • 1936Lt. General Sir J B Glubb

    Name: Lt. General Sir J B Glubb

    Year: 1936

    The first recipient of the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal was Lt. General Sir J B Glubb, the soldier, scholar and author who led the Arab Legion from 1939-56.

  • 2011Professor Avi Shlaim

    Name: Professor Avi Shlaim

    Year: 2011

    On 16 March 2011 the Council of the Society resolved to award the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal to Professor Avi Shlaim, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the study of the Middle East in general and the Arab-Israeli issue in particular. Born to Jewish parents in Baghdad in 1945, he later did his national service in the Israeli armed forces. His distinguished career as writer, commentator, lecturer (to the Society among others) and academic culminated in the Professorship of International Relations at St. Antony’s College Oxford. His academic interest in the history of Israel began in 1982, when the Israeli government archives about the 1948 Arab-Israeli war were opened. He is considered one of the leading ‘new’ historians, a group of Israeli scholars who put forward critical interpretations of the history of Zionism and Israel.

    Professor Shlaim’s frequent visits to the area have added insights and authority to his writings. His publications have been pre-eminent in the revisionist interpretation of Israel’s policy towards the Arab world during the sixty years following the achievement of statehood. His remarkably lucid style is always thought-provoking and often overturns orthodoxies on the Arab-Israeli issues. Particularly relevant are two of his works regarded as classics on the Middle East: ‘Collusion across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement, and the Partition of Palestine’ (1988) and ‘The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World’ (2000).

    Professor Shlaim has stimulated wider and more informed interest in Israel and Palestine and the broader region, in keeping with the aims of the Award and the traditions of the Society. In pursuance of the Council’s resolution, the award is made and a citation is presented on 11 May 2011 to Professor Avi Shlaim, FBA

  • 2009Mr John Keay

    Name: Mr John Keay

    Year: 2009

    In recognition of his outstanding literary contributions about the history of Asia. John Keay is an English journalist and historian who specialises in writing about India and the Far East, often with a particular focus on their colonisation and exploration by Europeans. He first visited India in 1965, and has made regular returns ever since including several visits to cover elections and conflicts as a political correspondent for the Economist.

    He became a full-time author in 1971, publishing his first book ‘Into India’ in 1973 which stayed in print for 30 years. Since then he has been the author of over 20 books, all factual, mostly historical and largely to do with Asia. Reviewers and readers praise his work for its combination of meticulous research, irreverent wit, powerful narrative and lively prose. In the 1980s he worked for BBC Radio as a writer and presenter during which time he wrote ‘India Discovered’, the story of how British Colonists came to find out about the great artefacts of Indian culture and architecture. He is now hailed as one of our most outstanding historians.

  • 2007Professor Fred Halliday

    Name: Professor Fred Halliday

    Year: 2007

    Fred Halliday FBA is a Fellow of the Royal Academy. He has been Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics since 1985.


  • 2006Dr Shirin Akiner

    Name: Dr Shirin Akiner

    Year: 2006

    In recognition of her contribution to the study of Central Asia. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, her frequent visits to the area have added insights and authority to her writings which have helped in increase a general understanding of regional developments, including the emergence of political systems and the role of Islam in the Central Asian States. Her publications have cast light on such subjects as the emerging political order in the Caspian states, the formation of Kazakh identity and minorities in a time of change. Her role as an editor or co-editor has added much to scholarship about the area and her lively and sometimes controversial engagement in discussion of regional issues has stimulated wider interest in Central Asia in keeping with the aims of the Award and with the traditions of the Society.

  • 2005 Mr William Dalrymple

    Name: Mr William Dalrymple

    Year: 2005

    In recognising that his writings and broad-casting have stimulated a wide interest in several regions of Asia. The travelling and historical research integral to his work have increased public knowledge of those regions and conveyed a message of tolerance and mutual understanding. The themes of quest and journey that recur in the content and titles of his books aptly fit the criteria for the Medal. Together with the learning which dedicated research has brought him, he exemplifies values for which the Royal Society for Asian Affairs stands and for which it considers him eminently worthy of the award.

  • 2004Mr Charles Allen

    Name: Mr Charles Allen

    Year: 2004

    Mr Charles Allen is a respected scholar and writer. He has lectured to the Society on topics as diverse as the search for Mt. Kailas and Asoka Maurya.

  • 2002Mr Maurice and Mrs Taya Zinkin

    Name: Mr Maurice and Mrs Taya Zinkin

    Year: 2002

    The award recognises the joint contribution of Mr Maurice Zinkin OBE and Mrs Taya Zinkin to increasing man’s knowledge of India and the surrounding region, and to stimulating interest in Asia more broadly, through their joint and individual publications as well as through their output over a period of some 30 years of articles and reviews in the Society’s Journal Asian Affairs, and in Mr Zinkin’s case through his membership for 12 years of the Journal’s Editorial Board. These activities have earned them widespread esteem for their deep understanding of an extensive range of Asian topics. The award is made in recognition of her work and that of her late husband.

  • 2001Sir Mark Tully

    Name: Sir Mark Tully

    Year: 2001

    For increasing man’s knowledge of the Indian sub-continent through his work as a journalist, broadcaster and writer, and for the empathy he has for the Indian people and the esteem in which he is held by them.

  • 1999Mr Peter Hopkirk

    Name: Mr Peter Hopkirk

    Year: 1999

    In recognition of his outstanding contribution to increasing man’s knowledge of Central Asia through his extensive travels, scholarship and writings.

  • 1994Professor Akbar Ahmed

    Name: Professor Akbar Ahmed

    Year: 1994

    In recognition of his notable contribution towards promoting knowledge and understanding of Asia and fostering cultural relations between Commonwealth and Asian countries.

  • 1992Professor Albert Hourani

    Name: Professor Albert Hourani

    Year: 1992

    In recognition of his long and distinguished academic record and wide range of writings covering the history, culture and politics of the Arab and Islamic lands.

  • 1990Sir Denis Wright

    Name: Sir Denis Wright

    Year: 1990

    In recognition of his knowledge of, and involvement in, Anglo-Persian relations and his advancement of understanding between the two countries over many years. And as an author.

  • 1987Professor Charles F Beckingham

    Name: Professor Charles F Beckingham

    Year: 1987

    Emeritus Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of London. In recognition of his work in Islamic Studies.

  • 1983Mr Tim Severin

    Name: Mr Tim Severin

    Year: 1983

    In recognition of his work as an author, traveller and historian.

  • 1980Mr David Stronach

    Name: Mr David Stronach

    Year: 1980

    In recognition of his services to archaeology.

  • 1977Mr Basil Gray

    Name: Mr Basil Gray

    Year: 1977

    Keeper of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum.

  • 1975Professor Sir Cyril Philips

    Name: Professor Sir Cyril Philips

    Year: 1975

    Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies. An academic who has furthered communications between Asian countries and this country.

  • 1974Dr Gunnar Jarring

    Name: Dr Gunnar Jarring

    Year: 1974

    For his contribution to the fields of learning and diplomacy and to the knowledge of Turkestan.

  • 1973Professor William Watson

    Name: Professor William Watson

    Year: 1973

    For his contribution to the knowledge of East Asian Civilisation.

  • 1972Mr W E D Allen

    Name: Mr W E D Allen

    Year: 1972

    For his work on Caucasian and Turkish history.

  • 1971Professor Giuseppe Tucci

    Name: Professor Giuseppe Tucci

    Year: 1971

    For distinguished services to archaeology and study of Tibet and Buddhism.

  • 1970Colonel C H Ellis

    Name: Colonel C H Ellis

    Year: 1970

    In recognition of his work on Transcaspia and adjacent regions.

  • 1969Mr S C Sutton

    Name: Mr S C Sutton

    Year: 1969

    For his work as Director of the India Office Library.

  • 1968Mrs Violet Conolly

    Name: Mrs Violet Conolly

    Year: 1968

    For her work as a Russian Specialist.

  • 1967Mr C J Edmonds

    Name: Mr C J Edmonds

    Year: 1967

    Cecil J. Edmonds was a British political officer who served with the British Expeditionary Forces in Mesopotamia and western Persia, and later in the civil administration of Iraq. From 1935 to 1945 he was adviser to the Ministry of Interior in Iraq.

  • 1967Lt Colonel G E Wheeler

    Name: Lt Colonel G E Wheeler

    Year: 1967

    Director of the Central Asian Research Centre.

  • 1965Professor C von Furer Haimendorf

    Name: Professor C von Furer Haimendorf

    Year: 1965

    Anthropologist, Traveller and Author

  • 1964Dr Laurence Lockhart

    Name: Dr Laurence Lockhart

    Year: 1964

    Traveller, Scholar and Historian



  • 1963Mr Hugh Richardson

    Name: Mr Hugh Richardson

    Year: 1963

    For Service in India, Tibet and his ‘History of Tibet’



  • 1962Sir Reader Bullard

    Name: Sir Reader Bullard

    Year: 1962

    Diplomat and author

  • 1960Professor Ann K S Lambton

    Name: Professor Ann K S Lambton

    Year: 1960

    Persian historian

  • 1958Lt. General Sir Francis Tuker

    Name: Lt. General Sir Francis Tuker

    Year: 1958


  • 1956Mr Douglas Carruthers

    Name: Mr Douglas Carruthers

    Year: 1956

    Naturalist, Explorer and Author



  • 1955Mrs Ella Maillart

    Name: Mrs Ella Maillart

    Year: 1955

    Traveller and author

  • 1954Mr Tom Stobart

    Name: Mr Tom Stobart

    Year: 1954

    For his work in filming the conquest of Everest



  • 1951Dame Freya Stark

    Name: Dame Freya Stark

    Year: 1951

    Traveller and author

  • 1947Mr Fakhri Dai Gilani

    Name: Mr Fakhri Dai Gilani

    Year: 1947

    Persian historian

  • 1941Professor Sir Keppel Archibald Cresswell

    Name: Professor Sir Keppel Archibald Cresswell

    Year: 1941

    Authority on Muslim architecture

The RSAA Travel Awards, 2020


No awards were made in 2018-19
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