SOAS University of London

SOAS Centenary

100 years of SOAS

SOAS University of London celebrates its centenary in 2016-17. Our key anniversary dates are:

  • 5 June 1916 - the School (of Oriental Studies) receives its Royal Charter
  • 18 January 1917 - the first students are admitted
  • 23 February 1917 - the School is formally opened by the King Emperor George V

The SOAS story

SOAS was founded as the School of Oriental Studies. Over the last century we have built a strong academic reputation throughout the world and especially in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. To find out about the people and events that have made the School what it is today, explore the Centenary Timeline and the Centenary Blog and visit our alumni profiles.

Loading the player...

Planning our future

SOAS has marked a new era with the opening of the Paul Webley Wing. The building, named in honour of SOAS's eighth director Professor Paul Webley. SOAS Director Baroness Valerie Amos CH said:

“How we work, learn, teach and study has changed dramatically over the last 100 years and so our work spaces have to change too. The focus in this building is on supporting collaborative working and enhancing creative thinking. SOAS students and staff are all about ideas and thinking the unthinkable.”

Loading the player...

Our celebration so far

Nobel Prize winning poet and playwright Wole Soyinka, artist and social activist Forest Whitaker and food writer and author Claudia Roden have all been part of SOAS's centenary celebrations at the Centenary Lecture Series. Watch the Centenary Lecture Series.

Get involved

Be a part of the SOAS centenary celebrations

A chance to reflect

'I hope that all who support SOAS - and those who, as yet, don’t - will realise how fortunate we are to have such an institution in our midst. Understanding the world is just as worthy of our resources as defending ourselves against enemies – enemies we might not have made if we’d had a little more understanding in the first place.'

Michael Palin, Honorary Fellow

Contact the Centenary team

SOAS Centenary Blog