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What's on


Following the success of our first SOAS Alumni & Friends Weekend in 2011, this summer we are bringing you another weekend of high-profile panel debates, academic-led workshops, exhibitions, language tasters, music and film! There is much to get involved in, and to find out more about the events and activities on offer, please use the menu on the right.

Featured events


Challenging gender roles in India: in fact and fiction

 19:00-20:30 | Fri 28 June 2013 | Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

Ever since the shocking gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old Delhi student in December 2012, and incidents since, there has been an unrelenting international focus on sexual violence in the world's biggest democracy. Questions have been raised about blame and shame and the scope for viable remedies.

Having published a series of books concerning critical women’s issues in India, award-winning author Lady Kishwar Desai creates compelling characters who challenge gender roles and the problem of sexual assault in India. In this topical event, Lady Desai will exchange views with SOAS’ Professor Stephen Chan OBE, Professor of International Relations, with a contemporary commentary on the attitudes of men and women towards victims of sexual violence, looking at issues of gender bias in the police, the caste system and impact of skewed demographics caused by sex selection, where India has 37 million more men than women.

With the growing importance of South Asia as a regional power, and the shift in the center of gravity of global economic power from the trans-Atlantic to Asia, SOAS recognises the key role the School has in analysing South Asia from different perspectives. Launching later this year, the SOAS South Asia Institute will bring together a rich hub of more than 50 South Asian specialists, providing inter-disciplinary teaching and research in over 100 courses. SOAS Pro-Director Professor Nirmala Rao OBE will provide an opening introduction to the creation and strategy of the School’s new major academic initiative.

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A History of SOAS

13:00-13:50 | Sat 29 June 2013 | Starts in G2 Lecture Hall, SOAS

With our centenary fast approaching in 2016, SOAS has been rummaging through its archives, discovering fascinating anecdotes and artefacts from our rich history. Professor Ian Brown's lecture and archive tour will be a chance for SOAS Alumni to get a sneak preview of what has been found

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Tales of the not entirely unexpected: fair trade coffee, tea and flowers in Ethiopia and Uganda

14:00-15:00 | Sat 29 June 2013 | Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

Fairly traded goods are an increasingly present in the shopping baskets of UK customers. Today, an estimated 20% of all bananas and 20% of roast and ground coffee brought in Britain are Fairtrade certified and there are many other ethical consumption initiatives all claiming to benefit those who grow our food. But do we really know nearly enough about how these schemes work, about who benefits most, and about whether they make a difference to the lives of the often very poor people who work for certified producers? Is Fairtrade really the best way to improve the living standards of the poorest people involved in agricultural export production?

Join SOAS Professor Christopher Cramer as he discusses recent SOAS research, putting the issues in a longer term historical context of ethical anxieties of consumption, from those surrounding chocolate made by William Cadbury over hundred years ago to contemporary high street cappuccinos. This engaging and interactive lecture will offer a great chance to hear first-hand the initial findings of a major DFID funded research project investigating Fairtrade experiences in Ethiopia and Uganda.

 The event will be introduced by author and journalist Orla Ryan ("Chocolate Nations") and will be followed by a Q&A giving you a chance to be a part of this very topical conversation.

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Global advocacy with CISD

15:00-16:00 | Sat 29 June 2013 | G2 Lecture Hall, SOAS

From disarmament, to corporate accountability, to UN war crimes commissions, SOAS' Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy is involved in a number of high-level research and advocacy projects. What you might not know is much of this work is driven by current students and alumni volunteers!
Join the Centre’s Director Dr Dan Plesch as he gives insight into this ongoing research. If you like what you hear, remember, the Centre always welcomes interest from those willing to volunteer their passion and professional experience to its work.   

The talk will focus on the following projects:

SCRAP – a Strategic Concept for the Removal of Arms and proliferation – which offers a holistic approach to global disarmament that proposes the adoption of an international legally binding agreement for complete and general disarmament with a ten-year implementation period.

CALL – Corporate Accountability and Limited Liability – which aims to open the debate on the reform of limited liability. While limited liability was originally only legal on condition that it provided social value it has become widespread amongst corporations

UNWCC – United Nations War Crimes Commission – as part of broader work on UN History for the Future this project aims to explore the relevance to present policy and practice of the UNWCC, an overlooked paradigm of international criminal law

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Global vs Tribal: a look at the 'War on Terror' today

16.00-17.30 | Sat 29 June 2013 | Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, SOAS

The United States declared war on terrorism in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. More than ten years later, the results are decidedly mixed. In his latest book, ‘The Thistle and the Drone’, world-renowned author, diplomat and scholar Professor Akbar Ahmed argues that the use of drones has actually exacerbated the already-broken relationship between central governments and the tribal societies on their periphery. Beginning with Waziristan in Pakistan and expanding to similar tribal societies in Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and elsewhere, he offers an alternative and unprecedented paradigm for winning the war on terror.
A notable SOAS alumnus, Professor Ahmed (Phd Anthropology 1978) will talk about his research and exchange views with a panel of experts on his central theme that the US-led war on terror is being seen by some as a global war on tribal Islam, as well as regional and security concerns. He will be joined by SOAS’ Professor Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations, and Dr Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Reader in Comparative Politics and International Relations.

The event will be chaired by Gavin Esler, the award winning television and radio broadcaster, novelist and journalist, and presenter of the BBC’s flagship political analysis programme, Newsnight. This special thought-provoking talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, giving you a chance to be a part of this very topical conversation.


Find out more about Professor Ahmed’s book ‘The Thistle and the Drone’


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University Challenge: A SOAS Special

18.00-19.00 | Sat 29 June 2013 | G2 Lecture Hall, SOAS

Fingers on the buzzers - to celebrate SOAS’s appearance on the BBC quiz show, this year’s team are set to compete head to head against a team of former SOAS Contestants. Youth versus experience – who will triumph in this pan-generational show down? To be chaired by SOAS' charismatic Professor Stephen Chan

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