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The Martin Wight Memorial Trust

Martin Wight was a seminal figure in the development of international relations theory in Britain and an influential historian of the political civilisation of Europe. He was Reader in International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), 1949-62, and Professor of History at the University of Sussex, 1962-72. Soon after his sudden death on 15 July 1972, at the age of 58, a number of his friends and associates decided to commemorate his name by establishing an endowment for an annual lecture, to be given in successive years at Sussex University, the LSE and the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) - the three institutions with which Wight was most closely connected during the last quarter of a century of his working life.

A trust fund was set up and the many contributions generously given enabled the series of Martin Wight Memorial Lectures to be launched. The subject of the annual lecture was to relate so far as possible to humanist scholarship and to reflect the breadth of Martin Wight's interest in history and international relations. Sir Herbert Butterfield gave the first lecture at Sussex University on 23 April 1975, and lectures have been given annually since then. The revised text of each lecture is published in the journal International Affairs

The financial affairs of the Trust are administered by the Charities Aid Foundation and members of the committee decide whom to invite to give the annual lecture. The website has been set up in order to make the text of the most recent lectures and a bibliography of works of and on Martin Wight available to a wider audience, and to promote forthcoming lectures.

Since 2012 the committee has awarded a prize of £250 to the student who has written the best marked postgraduate dissertation of the year in international relations at the LSE and in history at the University of Sussex. The names of the prize winners are listed below.

2015 winners:

  • Peter Halton, University of Sussex, 'William Morris: A Revolutionary without a Revolution'
  • Christopher Murray, LSE, 'Hybrid Visions of African sovereignty: empire, pan-African society, and the co-constitution of international moral order'

2014 winners:

  • Uma Mullapudi, LSE: ‘Constructing a client, maintaining an enemy image: understanding US Foreign Policy toward India during the 1971 South Asia Crisis’
  • Berglind Rósa Birgisdóttir, University of Sussex: ‘Between Russia and America: Richard Cobden and the Reform of the British Empire in the 1830s’

2013 winners:

  • Maya Swisa, LSE: 'Financial burden-sharing in the IAEA: an empirical test for Ikenberry's emerging international order'
  • Jason Plessas, University of Sussex: 'After the end of history: Francis Fukuyama and the challenges to his theories' 

2012 winners:

  • Jared Skinner, LSE: 'Burton's Law: media effects, general elections, and presidential decisions'
  • Rhyannon Bartlett-Imadegawa, University of Sussex: 'The changing (self-)image of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito after 1945'