Scottish Parliament Reception

Published: 19 January 2023

The Adam Smith Tercentenary celebrations were launched at an event at the Scottish Parliament.

The University of Glasgow launched its Adam Smith Tercentenary celebrations with an event at the Scottish Parliament.

Speakers at the Scottish Parliament launch of Adam Smith 300

At the Adam Smith 300 launch event in Edinburgh on January 18, politicians, academics and leaders came together to hear more about the life and legacy of the founder of modern economics, and the exciting activities that are taking place both at the University and around the world to mark this important event in Scotland’s calendar.

Michelle Thomson, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, sponsored the event.

Along with Ms Thomson, speeches were delivered by Scotland’s Deputy First Minister John Swinney, University of Glasgow Principal and Vice-Chancellor, , and Dr Craig Smith, Adam Smith Senior Lecturer in the Scottish Enlightenment.

Welcoming people to the launch, Michelle Thomson said: “Adam Smith was a leading figure in the Scottish Enlightenment, a period that produced a remarkable outpouring of ideas spanning a wide range of areas, including engineering, chemistry, political economy, philosophy, literature, medicine and many other areas of intellectual life. The Scottish Universities, not least Glasgow University, were central to this in providing a home for the exchange of ideas across disciplines.”

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, said: “The importance of empathy is crucially important in these tough economic times. As we reflect on the tercentenary of his birth, we need Adam Smith’s empathy more than ever if we are to associate with other people’s challenges.

“I’m so pleased that the University of Glasgow is taking the initiative to ensure that this relevance is understood in our society.”

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow, Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, said: “I’m proud to be here in recognition of Glasgow’s most famous alumnus. The fact we are still here 300 years since Adam Smith’s birth discussing him is testament to the impact he had.”

Dr Craig Smith, Adam Smith Senior Lecturer in the Scottish Enlightenment, said: “We want the tercentenary to be an opportunity for people to actually engage with Smith's ideas and explore them, not just as historical artefacts, but as something that speaks to the events of today. It’s about focusing on Adam Smith as a scholar, educator and citizen.”

See more from the Scottish Parliament reception

Student competition

Dr Smith also announced a nationwide student competition. Rethinking Adam Smith is led by the Economics Observatory in partnership with the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow.

Students from across the UK are invited to design a new cover for one of Smith’s books, either The Wealth of Nations or The Theory of Moral Sentiments. There will be prizes of up to £750 for the best entries, with all finalists having their work displayed in June 2023 as part of the University’s tercentenary commemorations. All University of Glasgow students will be entered into the ‘best of Glasgow’ competition where the top two entries will be awarded a prize.

The closing date for entries is 28 April, and winners will be announced at the University's Adam Smith Student Day on 9 June.

During Adam Smith 300, the University of Glasgow is working with key partners in the UK and globally to deliver a raft of events and activities designed to inspire and review discussion around Adam Smith’s work and impact in the 21st century.


First published: 19 January 2023