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

		    			
November 2016
The Powers of Xi Jinping by Professor Kerry Brown View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Professor Kerry Brown
Job title
Director of the Lau China Institute, and Professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College, London


Professor Brown is Director of the Lau China Institute, and Professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College, London. He is Associate Fellow on the Asia Programme at Chatham House. He led the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN), funded by the European Commission, from 2011 to 2014. Prior to this he was Professor of Chinese Politics and Director of the China Studies Centre at the University of Sydney from 2012 to 2015, and Head of the Asia Programme at Chatham House up to 2012. Educated at Cambridge, London and Leeds Universities, he worked in Japan, and the Inner Mongolian region of China, before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. He worked in the China Section and then served as First Secretary, Beijing, from 2000 to 2003, and Head of the Indonesia East Timor Section at the FCO from 2003 to 2005.
He is the author of over 10 books on contemporary China, the most recent of which is `CEO China- The Rise of Xi Jinping’.

Professor Brown, delivered a lecture on how Chinese President Xi Jinping talks, acts and appears like the most powerful leader of China since the era thirty years before of Deng Xiaoping. And yet there is great ambiguity in his position. Is he really able to dominate the Communist Party with its 86 million members and

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October 2016
Report back on Society Tour to Iran 2016 by Mr Charles Humfrey CMG View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr Charles Humfrey CMG
Job title
Ex-Diplomat

Member of the Society and Council.

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October 2016
Spying for the Raj by Mr Jules Stewart View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr Jules Stewart
Job title
Journalist and writer
Website
www.julesstewart.com/home.html

Jules Stewart has spent most of his professional life in journalism, reporting from more than 30 countries. He began his career as an academic and lectured at two U.S. universities before moving to Madrid, where he spent 20 years as a journalist.

After joining Reuters, Stewart re-located to London in 1987, now his permanent home. He has been working as a freelance reporter since 1994. Stewart has published eight books to date, mostly historical works on Afghanistan and the North-West Frontier.

The talk tells the story of the Indian Pundits who were sent by the Raj, in disguise as traders or Buddhist monks, beyond the Himalaya to spy on Russian troop movements and to map uncharted territories. For personal prestige, the opportunity of employment or the sheer love of adventure, the Pundits displayed an extraordinary dedication

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September 2016
Inflated Ambitions: Descent of the Oxus River in Afghanistan by Mr Jonathan Rider and Mr Edmund Le Brun View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr Jonathan Rider and Mr Edmund Le Brun
Job title
Adventurers
Website
www.youtube.com/watch?v=2X7oCjOR5qg

To be done.

In September 2015, Jonathan Rider and Edmund Le Brun made the first descent of the Oxus River in Afghanistan. At a time of increasing insecurity in Afghanistan, there are still many places left untouched by the conflict. The Source of the Oxus is located high in the mountains of the Wakhan Corridor, a strip of

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September 2016
The Hugh Leach Memorial Lecture and Reception by Mr James Barr View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr James Barr
Job title
Historian and author
Website
www.jamesbarr.org.uk/Author.html

James read Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford. His book on Lawrence of Arabia and the Arab Revolt, Setting the Desert on Fire, was published in 2006. A Line In The Sand, on the rivalry between Britain and France for dominance in the Middle East, followed in 2011 and he came to talk to the Society about this book in 2012.
He has worked in politics, at the Daily Telegraph, in the City and as a political analyst at the British Embassy in Paris. Today he runs his own research business, and is a visiting fellow at King's College London.
His next book – which he is about to start writing – is a sequel to the last, this time covering the Anglo-American relationship in the Middle East, in the thirty years after 1941. Tentatively entitled Somewhere East of Suez, this of course covers the Suez crisis era, which is his chosen topic tonight.

Suez at Sixty  

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June 2016
Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka by Mr John Gimlette View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr John Gimlette
Job title
Award Winning Travel Writer
Website
www.johngimlette.com

John Gimlette started his travels in 1980 when he crossed the Soviet Union by train. He has since travelled to over 60 countries. These include Northern Argentina on the eve of the Falklands War, moving into Paraguay when hostilities commenced. He returned to England via Bolivia and Chile, read law at Cambridge and still practices as a barrister today. He has been the recipient of a number of writing awards including the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and the wanderlust Travel Writing Competition. John has lectured to the RGS in London and the provinces and has appeared at the Hay and Edinburgh Literary Festivals. His books cover travels in Paraguay, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Guyanas and his latest book, the subject of today’s lecture entitled ‘Elephant Complex: Travels in Sri Lanka’.

John Gimlette describes his three months of travels in Sri Lanka.  Few places are as contradictory.  The island is home to over 5,800 wild elephants and yet it’s only the size of Ireland.  For the last three decades, it’s hosted not only an alluring tourist industry but also the most savage civil war Asia has

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June 2016
Change and Discontinuity: Planning for War in Afghanistan, 1904 – 1924 by Dr Chris Wyatt View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Chris Wyatt
Job title
Research Fellow
Website
www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/government-society/centres/iccs/staff/profiles/wyatt-chris.aspx

Chris is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security at the University of Birmingham researching Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan and Yemen and working on aspects of psychology, conflict and conflict resolution. He is also interested in terrorism, insurgency and military issues more generally. Chris has a background in International history and politics, which he studied at the University of Leeds, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He was awarded his PhD there and this was later published as Afghanistan in the Defence of Empire by IB Tauris. He has taught International History and International Relations at the Universities of Leeds and Reading and has also worked for several non-departmental public bodies, including the Economic and Social Research Council. He has been a member of the Society for nearly two years.

In the imaginations of many, war in British India had its focus on the North-West Frontier and was fought against the tribes of that region. However, British thinking about Indian defence involving Afghanistan underwent tremendous change over the period under consideration. British plans to meet a Russian invasion on the Kabul-Kandahar Line in 1904 resembled

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May 2016
Report back on the 2015 Society Tour to West Bengal by Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones MBE View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones MBE
Job title
Writer & Historian

Rosie is an authority on colonial India from the 18th to the 20th century. She studied Indian languages at the School of Oriental & African Studies, London and has lived in India, written extensively about it, and visits at least once a year. She has published a number of books on Lucknow, its buildings, and inhabitants including Engaging Scoundrels: True Tales of Old Lucknow (2000) and the acclaimed Lucknow: City of Illusion (2006). Her book on the Mutiny, The Great Uprising in India: Untold stories, Indian and British (2007) won critical praise. She has worked in Saudi Arabia as supervisor for two female PhD students at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah.
She lectures for the Asian Arts course at the V&A Museum, London. She is founder and editor of 'Chowkidar', the Journal of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). She works part-time at the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, as the archivist and is also a Council Member of the Royal Asiatic Society. She has led two tours for Martin Randall Travel, going up the Hooghly river in Bengal by boat. She has appeared on a BBC TV programme with the Scottish comedian, Mr Billy Connolly and in the New Year¹s Honours list 2015 she was awarded an MBE for charitable work for BACSA and for British-Indian studies.



Report back on the 2015 Society Tour to West Bengal   See the lecture below

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May 2016
North Korea Exposed: Propaganda and the Cult of Kim by Mr Jeremy Hunter View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr Jeremy Hunter
Job title
TV and Photo Journalist
Website
www.jeremyhunter.com/asia.html

Jeremy Hunter began his career in advertising but over the last 30 years he has divided his time between television and photo-journalism, specializing in 'Travel-Reportage'.

North Korea (DPRK) is the most repressive nation in the world, probably the most brutal and certainly the most secretive.  Robert Gates, former CIA director, considered the country to be “the toughest intelligence target in the world”. Jeremy Hunter entered the country just before the death of Kim Jong-Il to photograph “ARIRANG” – an epic, propagandist

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April 2016
Tracks on the Desert’s Dusty Face by Mr John Hare View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr John Hare
Job title
Explorer, conservationist and author. Recipient of the Lawrence Medal 2004
Website
johnhare.org.uk

A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and an International Fellow of the Explorers’ Club of America, John Hare 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, the Zoological Society of London, the Scientific Exploration Society, Exxon and Shell. He has lectured in the USA to the National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Explorers ‘ Club, the Reform Club, the Travellers’ Club, the China Institute, to Societies in Hong Kong, China and Kenya and to over 200 schools and colleges. He has also lectured aboard the Queen Mary 2 and at the Hay-on-Wye, Buxton, Canterbury and Edinburgh Literary Festival

In 2013 John Hare’s Wild Camel Protection Foundation made a first ever release of captive bred wild camels into the Mongolian Desert. Two young male camels wearing satellite collars were taken 250 miles by truck to a remote natural spring. Their subsequent adventures, tracked over a two-year period, provides a fascinating narrative for this highly illustrated

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Society Tour

RSAA 2016 TOUR OF BHUTAN

Find out more >
6 MAR

UPCOMING EVENT

Dinner Club Event: MENA Regional Responses to the Rise of IS

Where: David Lloyd George Room, National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London SW1

7.00pm for 7.30pm

Dress Code: Men - Jacket and tie

Tickets: Dinner Club Members and their guests only: £50 (includes dinner and wine)

Find out more > Show me all upcoming events
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