Learned Society of Wales granted Royal Charter

The Learned Society of Wales (LSW), whose founders include members of Swansea University, has been granted a Royal Charter.

LSW charter group

The LSW was founded in May 2010 as a national academy for the sciences, arts and humanities, to celebrate excellence in research and scholarship and to serve the nation with ideas, actions and international connections.

Among the LSW’s Founders, and the first Officers of the Society, are the General Secretary Professor John Tucker from the College of Science, Swansea University; and Vice President Professor M Wynn Thomas from the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University. 

Awards of Royal Charter are rare and are typically reserved for eminent professional bodies, charities or universities.  Since the 13th century, only 900 have been granted.

Professor Tucker said: “Collecting the Charter from Parliament in October was a day I have looked forward to for several years and it was an intense pleasure, not to be forgotten.”

The LSW was born 227 years after Scotland’s national academy, the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Its first president was Sir John Cadogan, who was succeeded by Sir Emyr Jones Parry - both longstanding Honorary Fellows of Swansea University.

In five years the LSW has elected some 380 Fellows, published innovative and thought-provoking reports, and supported hundreds of activities in line with its mission of celebrating scholarship and serving the nation. It has gained support from all the universities in Wales. 

In an article in the Western Mail dated 12 November, Professor Peter Halligan, Chief Executive of the LSW said: “As Wales’ first national academy of learning, one of the Society’s key medium-term strategic goals was to be “acknowledged as a recognised representative of the world of Welsh Learning”.  

“Securing a Royal Charter is a major achievement for a young society in a short time frame and the Learned Society of Wales remains only the second organisation in Wales to secure this recognition and honour since devolution.”

On 19 November, the Society held a celebration at the Wales Millennium Centre where representatives from the Royal Society; British Academy; Royal Society of Edinburgh, and Royal Irish Academy presented messages of congratulation and endorsement.

Pictured: Officers of the Learned Society of Wales. From left: Vice-President Professor Meurig Wynn Thomas; General Secretary Professor John V Tucker; President Sir Emyr Jones Parry; Treasurer Professor John Wyn Owen and Vice-President Professor Ole Petersen


Story by Mari Hooson