The RSAA hosts regular lectures between September and June. Lectures typically take place on a Wednesday in a Central London location either at lunchtime or in the early evening.

In addition to the lecture programme, there are also a number of social events where members and their guests can meet others with similar interests.

A printed calendar is sent out to members, but dates and venues are subject to change and additional events may be added to the calendar at short notice. It is therefore advisable to check this online calendar for the latest details.

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  • JUNE 2015

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In-the Library Talk: Phongun Razi-Climbing in The Burmese Himalayas

3 June 2015

In-the Library Talk: Phongun Razi-Climbing in The Burmese Himalayas

A presentation by Mr Rod Baber

He will give a talk on a climbing trip in The Burmese Himalayas. Phongun Razi lies in the eastern reaches of the Himalayas. At 3,635m /11,926ft high, Phongun Razi is typically snow-capped all year and higher than many walking peaks in Western Europe. Starting from Yangon (Rangoon) they flew to the northern outpost of Putao, followed by a short drive to the trailhead. Starting from farmland they entered the jungle moving upwards to pine and then rhododendron forests, passing through villages of the Rawan and Lisu tribes on this locally guided trek. From local trading routes they then followed huntsman’s paths up to the snow line. At the summit they had views stretching across the Himalayan chain and into Assam in the far north of India. The remoteness of this mountain means that the forest remains undisturbed, so is of great interest to conservationists and botanists. However even now tourism is beginning to make small marks on this pristine environment which they hope can be managed through local education on sustainability.

Rob Baber held the 2000 Guinness World Record for climbing the highest point of every European country in the quickest time.
The record was completed in 835 days from the first summit of Hvanndalshnukar in Iceland to Mt Ararat in Turkey (47 sovereign states in total). In 2007 he set the Guinness World Record by making first mobile call on summit of Everest. He is currently a High Ropes Instructor Trainer/Rescuer for Vertex, a Technical Advisor/instructor/trainer and operational support for SS Great Britain, is involved in fundraising for Tree of Hope & James Hopkins Trust and is owner and operator of Zooropia Bristol Zoo. UK’s busiest recreational high ropes course and Head 4 Heights Ltd. Educational High Ropes Course Keynes Country Park as well as providing High Ropes consultancy services.

Where: This is an 'In-the-Library' talk to be held at the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, 1st Floor, 25 Eccleston Place, London SW1W 9NF at 6.30pm. Cash bar and nibbles are available from 6pm. Space is limited to 30 attendees, so early prior booking by telephone is essential (020 7235 5122) to avoid disappointment. Attendees who turn up without confirmed bookings may regretfully be turned away.

Tickets: Members and their guests only. Free

AGM (for members only) followed by the Lord Denman Memorial Lecture

9 June 2015

AGM (for members only) followed by the Lord Denman Memorial Lecture

The Lecture entitled ‘Russia Looks East: Or Does It?’ will be presented by Sir Tony Brenton KCMG, former UK Ambassador in Moscow.

Where: The Army and Navy Club, 36 Pall Mall, London SW1
The Lord Denman Memorial Lecture will start at 6.30pm

Tickets: Free: Members and Invited Guests only

Denman Memorial Lecture: ‘Russia looks East: Or does it?’

9 June 2015

Denman Memorial Lecture: ‘Russia looks East: Or does it?’

The 3rd Denman Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Russia looks East: Or does it?’ will start at 6.30pm and be presented by Sir Tony Brenton KCMG, former UK Ambassador in Moscow.


It will immediately follow the Society’s AGM to be held in the same venue at 6pm.


Where: Army & Navy Club, 36 Pall Mall, London SW1

Tickets: Free: Members and their guests only

DEEPER THAN INDIGO: Travels in search of Thomas Machell

24 June 2015

DEEPER THAN INDIGO: Travels in search of Thomas Machell

Presented by Dr Jenny Balfour-Paul

Hon. Research Fellow, IAIS, Exeter University
Fellow, Royal Geographical Society and Explorers Club
President, The Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

Machell of Crackenthorpe, born in 1824, left the family rectory in northern England at sixteen to follow his dream of travelling to the East. He witnessed many important historical events, including the infamous ‘First Opium War’ and the ‘Indian Mutiny’ and spent most of his working life in India. Machell also travelled up the Indus River to the North West Frontier and undertook an extraordinary voyage by dhows and by camel, joining Muslim merchants trading between the Bay of Bengal and Egypt.

When Balfour-Paul chanced upon Machell’s illustrated Journals, now in the British Library, she recognised parallels with her own career and journeys. This talk relates how the she tracked Machell (and sometimes her younger self too) to indigo and coffee plantations of rural Bengal and Kerala’s Malabar Hills, to little known regions of central India, to Calcutta, heart of the British Empire, and to southern China. She also voyaged aboard the last freighter to take passengers from UK to India via the Suez Canal and Red Sea, facing the same threat of pirate attack as Machell, and followed in his wake by cargo ship to the extraordinary Polynesian Islands of the Marquesas.

Her remarkable tale of East-West connections brings to life, with colourful illustrations, the untold story of a spirited outsider at the height of the British Raj.

Where: The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1

Commences at 1.15pm

A Sandwich lunch with wine and/or soft drinks is available from 12.30pm but must be booked in advance by the previous day. £10 with wine or £7 with soft drink.

Tickets: Members and their guests only. Free

Society Tour

No tours are currently being organised

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27 MAY


Prospects for Peace in Afghanistan: Past, Present and Future

Where: Online webinar

Tickets: Free

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