Royal Society for Asian Affairs
The Royal Society for Asian Affairs is a learned society based in London, in the United Kingdom, founded in 1901 as the Central Asian Society to "promote greater knowledge and understanding of Central Asia and surrounding countries". The geographical extent of the Society's interest has since expanded to include the whole of Asia. Taylor & Francis publishes the society's journal, Asian Affairs, which has been in print since 1914.
The Society was founded in 1901 to promote greater knowledge and understanding of Central Asia and surrounding countries. With the passage of time, the area has been extended to include the whole of Asia, from the Middle East to Japan. The Society is an active and friendly organization, which provides those interested in Asia with many ways of expanding these interests. In pursuit of these aims, the Council of the Society seeks to provide a balanced programme of activities which, though by no means neglecting the past, gives opportunities for keeping up-to-date with developments and for discussion on a wide variety of topics of common interest to Asia and the West.
The Society's activities may be summarised as follows:-
Meetings are held about twice a month at 14 Belgrave Square, at which lectures are given by authoritative speakers. The programme includes lectures, films and slides on current affairs, economics, finance, history, art, archaeology, sociology, culture, travel and other subjects of special interest connected with all parts of Asia.
Social Functions, which include an annual dinner, an afternoon tea party in the summer, an anniversary meeting, and buffets at lunch-time and refreshment at evening lectures which give members and their guests an opportunity to meet the guest speaker and others with similar interests.
A Library and Reading Room with a fine and easily accessible collection of about 7,000 books on Asian subjects.
The Journal of the Society Asian Affairs, is published three times a year and occupies a respected place in the current literature on Asia. It contains reports of lectures, original articles and book reviews. Its world-wide circulation includes universities, institutes, companies, banks and governmental officials.
Educational Activities undertaken by the Society to further its aim of increasing the knowledge about Asia. The Society has a list of members prepared to give talks to appropriate groups, organisations such as schools and the media.
Tours specially organised by the Society in most years, to enable a group of members to make detailed visits to particular countries. Study Groups are occasionally established on subjects of particular interest; these have attracted acknowledged outside experts to work with members.
The RSAA awards two medals, namely the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal (named for Percy Sykes honorary secretary 1924-1932) and the Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal, to individuals who have distinguished themselves in their contribution to cultural relations, exploration, research or literature. The Society also awards its own Special Award, and administers the Sir Peter Holmes Memorial Award for purposeful travel by young people aged between 18 and 25.
- Sir Vyvyan Holt (1887-1960) was a diplomat, Oriental scholar and British Minister who was captured during the Korean War
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