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King's student recognised for his work on social change, youth empowerment and promoting East Asia

Symington W. Smith, an MSc student at the Lau China Institute, has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Life Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Symington W. Smith

Symington W. Smith, who is studying on the MSc China and Globalisation course, has been granted two fellowships for his work on youth empowerment, social change and promoting East Asia.

Symington has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for his contributions to social change and youth empowerment. This was in recognition of having co-founded China's first and largest plant-based festival to promote sustainable consumption choices and setting up The Winterflower Group, a non-profit based on the empowerment of youth.

He has also been made a Life Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society – an honour given to only five individuals a year worldwide - for his services in promoting the study of East Asia. His contributions included empowering young Asian scholars, professionals and leaders through his non-profit organisation and representing the United States student community while he studied Chinese Language and Literature at Peking University.

Symington said: "I am honoured to have received this recognition. Now more than ever, we need science, reason, and education, but we also need inspiration and the belief that with action, young people can and do change the world.

“For over 266 years, The Royal Society of Arts has embodied this spirit. By nurturing a global community of proactive problem solvers, they unite people and ideas to resolve the challenges of our time, and it is an incredible honour to be a part of that legacy.

“The same can be said for the Royal Asiatic Society, which has contributed an incredible amount to the understanding of Asia."

We are very glad of Symington's success and the recognition conferred on him. It is a testament to his hard work and commitment, but also a symbol of the immense importance of engaging with, studying, and understanding Asia and Asian cultures generally. I hope that his example inspires many others to follow in his footsteps. – Professor Kerry Brown, Director of the Lau China Institute

The RSA is a politically independent organisation which invites experts from a broad range of industries and fields to help tackle social challenges and fellowships recognise those who have made outstanding achievements for social progress and development.

The Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, was established in 1824, to further "the investigation of subjects connected with and for the encouragement of science, literature and the arts in relation to Asia."