Award of Medals

The Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal

The Society has in its gift an award called “The Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal.” The award is named after its founder benefactor who was the Society’s Honorary Secretary from 1932 till his death in 1945. In a lifetime spent as scholar, soldier and diplomat in Persia, Chinese Turkestan and other parts of Central Asia he had a wealth of knowledge both of its past history and present circumstances such as few other of his time could claim to possess.

The Donors of the medal were the Sykes family who contributed and founded a Trust in 1947

to be awarded by The Council of The Royal Society for Asian Affairs at such time or times as The Council may in its discretion think fit, to any distinguished traveller, writer or any other distinguished person whatsoever approved by the Society, who is deemed to have increased man’s knowledge of and stimulated man’s interest in Asian countries, or done work furthering cultural relations between the Commonwealth and Asian countries.....

Recipients of the medal are listed here

The Lawrence of Arabia Memorial Medal

Instituted in 1935 and awarded “in recognition of work of outstanding merit in the fields of exploration, research or literature. Such service must be rendered by British subjects by birth, within the area covered by the activities of the Society, but it is not intended to limit the objects for which the medal will be awarded, and naval, military and air force officers, explorers, writers and administrators, pioneers of trade routes, archaeologists and anthropologists may be specially mentioned as eligible, especially where work involved personal hazard.

Recipients of the medal are listed here

The Special Award

The Society's Special Award was instituted in 1998 by a resolution of Council. The criteria are that “the award shall be made in recognition of exceptionally outstanding and unusual achievement in Asia, or any part of it or in connection with Asia. The achievement may be in any sphere, including service to humanity, contribution to science, the extension of knowledge, innovation, individual ingenuity and resource, personal effort and courage, endurance, fortitude or contribution to culture.

The Special Award is intended to supplement the categories of persons who may be recognised by the Society by the award of the Sykes or Lawrence medals and not to exclude anyone who might also be considered for the honour of either of these medals.

Recipients of the award are listed here

Sir Peter Holmes Memorial Award

The Sir Peter Holmes Memorial Award was established by Lady Holmes in memory of her late husband, Sir Peter Holmes MC (1932-2002), a long-standing member of the Society who besides becoming Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group was a distinguished traveller, mountaineer, fisherman and photographer.

The aim of the award is to encourage purposeful travel in Asia by young people. Applicants submit a plan of a project involving travel in a country or countries of Asia and relating to the geography, history, politics, environmental conservation, culture or art of the area to be visited. Any part of Asia, including the Middle East, may be chosen. The award will be made on the basis of originality, coherence, evidence of background knowledge, and the degree to which the project is likely to add to general understanding of the area chosen and/or to benefit local people or the applicant. Preference is given to projects that are not requirements in an academic or other course.

 JPT Family Trust Medical Science Award

Established in 2012, the JPT Family Trust Medical Science Award is aimed at individuals aged 21-30 who have a special interest in medical science and practice in challenging environments. Applicants for this annual award should submit a plan of a project involving travel in a country or countries of Asia, related to a medical project (practise or research) with details of the area to be visited. Any part of Asia, including the Middle East, may be chosen and the project needs to show an understanding of how this medical practise/research will benefit the area or the local people chosen and what it will bring to the applicant. Projects linked to academic or speciality courses will receive preference. Successful applicants will be required to make a presentation to the Society upon completion. Further details are available from the office.

Images of Asia

Forthcoming Events

Wed 24 Sep Why Kashmir is Still Important at The Royal Astronomical Society
Wed 1 Oct Experiences of Asia at The Royal Astronomical Society
Tue 7 Oct K2: The Italian Mountain? at The RSAA Library
Wed 15 Oct The Great Game: Central Asia Overland at St Peter's Church Parish Hall


Expedition Silk Road Treasures from the Hermitage Exhibition at the Hermitage, Amsterdam, ends 5 September 2014 more…

Dunhuang Culture and Art Hong Kong Heritage Museum from 28 November 2014 - 16 March 2015 more…

PIAC 57th Annual Meeting 9 - 14 September 2014 more…

Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle A rich collection of items from across Asia, the Middle East and other areas more…

Contemporary South Asian Youth Cultures and Fashion Symposium 25 and 26 September 2014 more…

Recent Recordings

Soqotra: Life in the Arabian Periphery Thanos has an excellent collection of photographs of Socotra having participated in two expeditions there

Churchill's First War: Young Winston & the Taliban A riveting and revelatory account of Winston Churchill's first campaign, in Afghanistan in the 1890's, offering shocking parallels into today's Afghan war

A Journey to the Source of the Oxus


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