SOAS University of London

SOAS Wins Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education

19 November 2009
Queens Anniversary Prizes for Higher Education Logo

SOAS has been awarded a prestigious Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher Education. The award honours the Faculty of Languages and Cultures for the excellence, breadth and depth of its teaching in the languages of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The announcement was made on the evening of Wednesday 18 November at a special reception at St James’s Palace.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher Education reward "outstanding achievement and excellence in UK universities and colleges." They are much coveted, particularly since they are rarely given. There have only been eight rounds of awards since the prizes were founded in 1994. About 20 prizes are given in each round.

Winning a single Queen's Anniversary Prize is considered a great achievement for a higher-education institution: SOAS has now won two.

"This is a great honour for SOAS," said Paul Webley, the School's Director and Principal. "The Queen's Anniversary Prizes go only to higher-education institutions doing world-class work of exceptional importance. SOAS's award is a testament to the outstanding quality of our teaching in the languages and cultures of Africa, Asia and the Middle East."

The prizes are awarded every two years to institutions of higher and further education across the UK. Twenty-one institutions have received the 2009 award.

“I warmly congratulate the twenty-one universities and colleges which have been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education in this the eighth biennial round of the scheme," said Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, in a statement. "Together the winners represent a distinguished and sustained contribution to human progress and to the UK’s high international standing in education.”

The SOAS award honours the Faculty of Languages and Cultures for its "specialised teaching of a wide range of African, Asian and Middle Eastern languages." 

In particular, the prize recognises the uniqueness of many of SOAS's language offerings, the high levels of proficiency achieved by its language students and the School's work in producing educational materials for teachers and students of these languages around the globe. It identifies SOAS as a centre of language leadership and innovation and demonstrates that the teaching and learning of African, Asian and Middle Eastern languages is an activity that enriches research and teaching all across the range of social science and humanities subjects offered by the School.

The award also recognizes that the School's Language Centre is of great importance to and held in high regard by governmental and non-governmental organisations and the general public in the UK and internationally.

Her Majesty the Queen will present SOAS's award to Professor Webley; Professor Michael J. Hutt, Dean of the School's Faculty of Languages and Cultures; and Baroness Kennedy, the President of SOAS, at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 19 February 2010. A number of SOAS language teachers and students will also attend the ceremony.

For further information, contact:

William Friar
Communications Officer
School of Oriental and African Studies
Tel. :+44 020 7898 4135

Peter Chenery
General Manager
The Royal Anniversary Trust
Tel: +44 087 0242 7160