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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

		    			
March 2019
March to March: Democracy’s Rise and Fall in Bangladesh 1971 – 2019 by Syed Badrul Ahsan View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Syed Badrul Ahsan

Syed Badrul Ahsan is Editor-in-Charge of The Asian Age, Dhaka, Bangladesh. From 1997 to 2000 he served as Press Minister at the Bangladesh High Commission, London, and he has been part of adjunct faculties at Dhaka University, Independent University Bangladesh, and University of Liberal Arts. Ahsan is a member of The Reading Circle (TRC) in Dhaka, and has been a Fellow at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. His biography of Bangladesh’s founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, From Rebel to Founding Father: Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was published in 2013. More recent works are Glory and Despair: The Politics of Tajuddin Ahmad (2018), and History Makers in Our Times (2018). He contributes to Dhaka Courier, First News, Dhaka Tribune, Bangla Tribune, Our Time, Indian Express, Asian Affairs, and South Asia Monitor.

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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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November 2018
Politics without Parties – Afghanistan’s Long Road to Democracy by Mr David Loyn View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr David Loyn
Job title
Foreign Affairs Correspondent

David Loyn has been a foreign correspondent since the late 1970s, mostly with the BBC. He returned recently from a year in Kabul advising President Ashraf Ghani on communications. He is now a Fellow of King’s College London.

Watch the lecture here:  

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November 2018
Central Asia in the 21st Century: Caught between Russia, China . the USA and Islamic Extremism by Dr Christoph Baumer View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Christoph Baumer
Job title
Author, photographer, explorer

Christoph Baumer is a Swiss scholar and explorer. From 1984 onwards, he has conducted explorations in Central Asia, China and Tibet, the results of which have been published in numerous books, scholarly publications and radio programs and at this event, launched Volume 4 of his series on the History of Central Asia

Listen to his talk here (apologies – no film of this event)

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October 2018
The View from Damascus by Dr Kamal Alam View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Dr Kamal Alam
Job title
Visiting Fellow, RUSI

Kamal Alam is a former advisor on Syrian affairs to the British Army. He teaches Syrian history at various Army Staff Colleges, and is currently a Fellow for Syrian Affairs at the Institute for Statecraft and at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). This talk will look at why and how Russia was successful, how many people, including David Cameron, got this war wrong, and the importance of Damascus as the heart of the Arab world. It will be a mixture of history, and views from the ground.

Watch the lecture here:

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October 2018
Over the Great Wall and Far Away by Mr William Lindesay View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Mr William Lindesay
Job title
Author, film-maker, explorer
Website
www.wildwall.com

A childhood fascination of the Great Wall of China meant that in 1986, William Lindsay OBE moved to China and became the first ‘foreigner’ to walk the full length of it. He recounted his experience in his first book Alone on the Great Wall in 1989. He has since written 5 more books on the subject and is a campaigner for its conservation. In 2016, he and his sons spent 60 days filming the wall with a drone.
William also runs a successful company for tours to the wall https://www.wildwall.com
In 2016 William received a Special Award from the RSAA, this being presented to him by the British Ambassador in 2017. This is in addition to the talks listed on our current lecture card.

Watch the lecture here:  

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October 2018
Partition: The Story of Indian Independence and the Creation of Pakistan in 1947 by Lt Gen Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB CBE View bio

SPEAKER BIO

Name
Lt Gen Sir Barney White-Spunner KCB CBE

Barney White-Spunner is a long-standing member of the Society. He has lectured at a variety of institutions during the past few years but not to us for some time. We are pleased to have him give this lecture to the RSAA, when he will be talking about the year of Indian partition and the circumstances that led to the appalling loss of life accompanying it. His book, Partition, addressing the same issues, was published in 2017.

This talk is given under The Hugh Leach Memorial Lecture series.

Watch the lecture here:

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