Diplomat elected new president of Royal Society
A SCOTTISH peer who is a former governor of Hong Kong has been elected the next President of The Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Lord Wilson of Tillyorn will take over as President when Sir Michael Atiyah, one of the world’s greatest mathematicians, leaves office this October.
The highly prestigious post has been held by such distinguished figures as Lord Kelvin and Sir Walter Scott.
Currently Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, Lord Wilson achieved international distinction as a diplomat during his five-year tenure as governor from 1987-1992.
He endured a turbulent period in Sino-British relations, including the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, the Vietnamese boat people problem, and the negotiations for a new Hong Kong airport.
Born in Alloa in 1935, David Wilson was educated at Glenalmond College, and did his National Service in The Black Watch.
After graduating from Oxford University and the University of London, he studied Chinese at the University of Hong Kong and began his diplomatic career in Peking in 1963, serving on the China Desk in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
On becoming Governor of Hong Kong in 1987 he changed his name to Wei Yixin – a transliteration of his family name into Cantonese.
On retirement he was awarded his life peerage and became chairman of Scottish Hydro-Electric – later Scottish and Southern Energy.
Lord Wilson said: “It is a great honour, and a great pleasure, to be elected to take over as president later this year from Sir Michael Atiyah.
“Over recent years the Royal Society of Edinburgh has established itself as the preeminent centre for serious discussion of key issues affecting Scotland and a wider world.”