Lecture content is available for RSAA members only.

PAST LECTURES

The RSAA has been hosting thought-provoking lectures from expert speakers twice a month since 1901.

We maintain a record of all the lectures that have been given to the RSAA, and transcriptions of many of the most interesting lectures have been published in Asian Affairs. In recent years we have also started filming major lectures so that members around the world can enjoy them at their leisure.

LATEST LECTURES

		    			
June 2019
Following the Dragon: Rafting the Karakoram by Jonathan Rider View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Jonathan Rider
Job title
Development Specialist
Website
www.ishkar.com/en/partners/1p3xaMy2GIsA

As China seeks to extend its influence through the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, Jonathan Rider and Edmund Le Brun set out, by raft down the Hunza Valley, to see what impact the newly upgraded Karakoram Highway has had on the environment and local communities in this part of northern Pakistan. This is a timely look at how the BRI might play out elsewhere.The talk will provide a short historical and political overview, before exploring deeper geopolitical questions, as well as giving a lively account of the expedition itself.

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June 2019
Understanding Japanese Democracy in a Populist Age by Sir David Warren KCMG View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Sir David Warren KCMG
Job title
Chairman, The Japan Society, former Ambassador to Japan

Sir David was British ambassador to Japan from 2008 to 2012, having served twice before in the British embassy in Tokyo during his career with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He was also head of the FCO's China Hong Kong department from 1998 to 2000, and a member of the FCO's board of management (as director of human resources) from 2004 to 2007. He retired from the FCO in January 2013. He is now visiting professor at Sheffield University, and chair of the council of the University of Kent.
He is also chairman of the Japan Society, the leading independent body in the United Kingdom dedicated to UK-Japanese cultural, educational and business contacts, a member of the advisory board of Migration Matters, the campaigning group highlighting the benefits of legal migration, and a director of Aberdeen Japan Investment Trust.

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May 2019
Out of Europe, Into Asia: Strategy or Delusion by Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG

The Rt Hon the Lord Malloch-Brown KCMG is a former UK government minister and UN Secretary-General, as well as a development specialist at the World Bank and UN, and a communications consultant and journalist. He is active both in business and in the non-profit world, and remains deeply involved in international affairs.

Watch the speech made at the Biennial Dinner, 14 June 2019, here:  

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May 2019
Presentation of Sir Percy Sykes Medal by HE Mr Francesc Vendrell CMG View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
HE Mr Francesc Vendrell CMG

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.
At the United Nations as the Director for Asia and the Pacific in the Department of Political Affairs under successive Secretaries-General he led a mission to address the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in 1992; he was the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Cambodia and Papua New Guinea in 1996-9; Senior Advisor to the Secretary-General on Burma/Myanmar 1994-99; the Secretary-General's Deputy Personal Representative in East Timor through the peace agreement of 1999 and the independence referendum of 2000; and the Secretary-General's Personal Representative in Afghanistan 2000-2002. He was subsequently the EU Special Representative for Afghanistan 2002-8. Francesc Vendrell holds an MA from Cambridge and an LLB from King's College London.

Watch the presentation here:  

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May 2019
Ancient Roots to Modern Faiths in the Moslem World by Gerard Russell View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Gerard Russell
Job title
Author & Former Diplomat
Website
heirstoforgottenkingdoms.com

Gerard Russell MBE (@GSJRussell) is the author of the highly acclaimed book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms about middle-eastern religious minorities. He is the founder and director of Pall Mall Communications, a strategic communications consultancy focused on the arab world. Gerard was previously a British and UN diplomat and subsequently a Visiting Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He speaks Arabic and Dari

Watch the lecture here:

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April 2019
Drought and Instability in the Middle East by Dr Afshin Shahi View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Afshin Shahi
Job title
Academic

Dr Afshin Shahi is a senior lecturer in Middle East politics and International Relations at Bradford University. He obtained both his MA and Ph.D. from School of Government and International Affairs at Durham University.
Prior to joining the Department of Peace Studies and International development in 2013, he worked at the universities of Durham and Exeter. In 2018 he was a visiting research fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. He is a multilingual scholar and his research interests encompass sectarianism and the politics and security of the Middle East, with a particular focus on political Islam. His articles have appeared in scholarly outlets including the Middle East Journal, the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies and the Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs. He is the author of the Politics of Truth Management in Saudi Arabia (Routledge, 2013) and the co-author of a forthcoming book, Iran: the Shia State and the Sunni Minority

He is a council member for the British Society for Middle East Studies as well as associate editor of the British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. He is a regular contributor to national and global media outlets including the BBC and Aljazeera. His opinion pieces have appeared in various publications including Forbes magazine, Foreign Policy magazine, and Conversation. He also actively works with both practitioners and stakeholders in his field. In 2017, he was a recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement at the University of Bradford.

Watch the lecture here:  

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February 2019
The Dragon and the 55 Lions: China and Africa today by Dr Stephen Chan View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Stephen Chan
Job title
Professor, World Politics, SOAS
Website
www.stephen-chan.com/biography/

We naturally view China and Africa through our own history which makes little connection between them. Professor Chan takes a look at how China and Africa view the world and each other, producing a rather different set of perspectives. Professor Chan is a distinguished academic who has made a major contribution to the academic understanding of international politics, including through his involvement in high-level diplomacy and actions and advice on the ground. In 2006-7 he was a member of the Africa-China-US Trilateral Dialogue, an effort to establish a common set of principles to help govern the emerging trade wars involving the three continents.

Watch the lecture here:

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February 2019
Sins of the Grandfathers: Living with the Rowlatt Act 1919 by Mr Justin Rowlatt View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr Justin Rowlatt
Job title
Formerly BBC South Asia

Justin Rowlatt describes the challenges and complications of living and working in India with his own family’s dark history in the country’s past – in particular his great-grandfather’s role in colonial India.

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January 2019
Iran, the US and the Politics of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] by Professor Ali Ansari View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Professor Ali Ansari
Job title
Director of Institute of Iranian Studies, St Andrews

Professor Ansari is a leading expert on Iran and its history. He is founding director of the Institute for Iranian Studies, a Senior Fellow Associate at RUSI and is currently President of the British Institute of Persian Studies. He is therefore well-placed to give a talk on the current state of political affairs between Iran and the USA.

Watch the lecture here:

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January 2019
China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Strategic and Economic Consequences by Various View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Various

A joint conference of the RSAA and the Wilson Center at King's College London

  Watch on YouTube: Morning event – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xiYpfzF-RIY Evening event – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4hiwwH1kzE

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Society Tour

RSAA 2019 TOUR: CROSSING THE ANCIENT SILK ROAD: CHINA AND CENTRAL ASIA

Find out more >
3 JUL

UPCOMING EVENT

A Year after Imran Khan’s Election: the Challenges for Pakistan

Where: 7.00pm. The Medical Society of London, Lettsom House, 11 Chandos Street, London W1

Tickets: Free

Find out more > Show me all upcoming events
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