Visiting Speakers

  • Boo Junfeng

    15 September 2020

    Mr Boo Junfeng is a Singaporean award-winning filmmaker. He has written and directed two feature films – Apprentice (2016) and Sandcastle (2010) - as well as several award-winning short films. Mr Boo’s works often humanise topics such as identity, memory and sexuality, using personal and intimate narratives.

    In 2008, he became the first recipient of the McNally Award for Excellence in the Arts – the valedictorian honour of LASALLE College of the Arts. He was also accorded the Young Artist Award (2009) and the Singapore Youth Award (2011). He is currently developing his third feature film.

  • Chitra Venkataramani

    Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore
    2 September 2020

    Dr Chitra Venkataramani is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore. She obtained her PhD (Anthropology) from John Hopkins University in 2015. Her research intersects urban planning, ecology, visual culture, and science and technology in India.

  • G S Kannan

    Volunteer Facilitator, “Explorations into Ethnicity” and “Explorations into Faith” community programmes
    1 September 2020

    Dr G S Kannan is a naturalised Singaporean who emigrated at the age of eleven. He is in an interethnic, interfaith marriage and has two teenage children. His reading interests include intersectionality and personal narratives. He has been a volunteer facilitator in the “Explorations into Ethnicity” and “Explorations into Faith” community programmes.

  • Lai Ah-Eng

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore
    1 September 2020

    Dr Lai Ah-Eng is adjunct senior fellow at the University Scholars Programme (USP), National University of Singapore where she teaches Multiculturalism and Its Contested Meanings in Singapore.

    Trained in economics, development studies and social anthropology, she has published research studies in multiculturalism, ethnicity and religion; migration and diversity; family and gender; and local histories and heritages.

  • Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib

    Founding Board Member, Centre for Interfaith Understanding
    1 September 2020

    Mr Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib is a founding Board Member of the Centre for Interfaith Understanding.

    He writes on issues of diversity in multicultural Singapore. He is the co-editor of Budi Kritik (2019), an essay compilation on Malay society.

  • Kevin Lim

    Photojournalist, The Straits Times
    31 August 2020

    Mr Kevin Lim joined The Straits Times as a photojournalist in 2009.

    In 2015, he received the 36th Society for News Design Award of Excellence for Photography/Single Photo Portrait and Singapore Press Holdings' English/Malay/Tamil Media (EMTM) Feature Picture of the Year.

    He was the only Singaporean photojournalist permitted to document the historic handshake and exchanges between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore which made the cover of Time magazine and Time’s Top 100 Photos of 2018.

    Mr Lim was also the first photojournalist to clinch the Journalist of the Year award at Singapore Press Holdings' (SPH) annual awards in 2018.

  • Neo Xiaobin

    Photojournalist, The Straits Times
    31 August 2020

    Ms Neo Xiaobin has been a photojournalist with The Straits Times, an English-language daily in Singapore, since April 2010. A journalism major, Ms Neo currently manages Home in Focus, a weekly series of photography features produced by The Straits Times picture desk, which documents different facets of the quirky, compassionate and ever-changing in Singapore.

    Her photography and multimedia work has garnered regional awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA), WAN-IFRA Asia Media Awards, Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers' Association (PANPA), and the Asian Digital Media Awards (ADMA).

    In 2014, she was awarded the ICON de Martell Cordon Bleu, which recognises an individual for an outstanding body of work in his/her photographic career.

  • Jack Jin Gary Lee

    Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies, Kenyon College
    25 August 2020

    Dr Jack Jin Gary Lee is Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology and Legal Studies at Kenyon College, United States. His research and teaching examine the significance of culture, law, and politics in the social processes of state-making and governance.

  • Christof Koch

    Chief Scientist & President, Allen Institute for Brain Science
    19 March 2020

    Dr Christof Koch is a neuroscientist, best known for his studies and writings exploring the basis of consciousness. Trained as a physicist with a minor in philosophy, Dr Koch was a Professor of Biology and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology for 27 years. He is now Chief Scientist and President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, leading a large-scale effort to build brain observatories to map, analyse and understand the brain of mice and humans. His current book is The Feeling of Life Itself – Why Consciousness is Widespread but Can’t be Computed. Dr Koch is a frequent public speaker and writes a column for Scientific American.

  • Bob Reiss

    10 March 2020

    Mr Bob Reiss is a best-selling author of 23 fiction and non-fiction books, including The Coming Storm about climate change, The Eskimo and the Oil Man about Shell’s Alaskan venture and The Road to Extreme about Amazonian rainforest destruction. Mr Reiss won New York Press Club 2018’s best reporting award for coverage in Fortune Magazine about efforts to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. His books have been published in 12 countries.

  • Goh Wei Leong

    Chairman & Co-Founder, HealthServe
    5 March 2020

    Dr Goh Wei Leong founded HealthServe – a non-profit organisation providing healthcare to migrant workers in 2006. Today, HealthServe has clinics in Geylang, Jurong and Mandai, and has extended its services to legal and social assistance. For this work, Dr Goh was named “Singaporean of the Year” in 2017.

  • Tan Lai Yong

    Director for Outreach & Community Engagement, College of Alice & Peter Tan, National University of Singapore
    5 March 2020

    Dr Tan Lai Yong spent 15 years working with the ethnic minority community in Yunnan (China). His work ranged from running clinics and training farmers in healthcare, to tree-planting and setting up mobile libraries. In 2004, Dr Tan received the China National Day “Friendship Award” for this work. He is now back in Singapore, and is a Director for Outreach & Community Engagement for the National University of Singapore’s College of Alice and Peter Tan.

  • Anja Burghardt

    Associate Professor, Institute of Slavonic Studies, LMU Munich University
    2 March 2020

    Associate Professor Anja Burghardt studied Slavic Studies and Philosophy in Hamburg and London. She worked as a research assistant in a project on narratology, before moving to Salzburg as a research and teaching assistant where she finished her PhD on the Russian poet Marina Tsveateva. Since 2015, she has been associate professor at the Institute of Slavonic Studies at the LMU Munich University. Apart from her current project on travel writing in 19th century Polish literature, her main areas of research are Russian and Polish literature, poetry, literary theory, and photography.

  • Bishnu Mohapatra

    Dean, School of Interwoven Arts & Sciences, KREA University
    20 February 2020

    Professor Bishnu N. Mohapatra is the Dean of the School of Interwoven Arts & Sciences of KREA University, Andhra Pradesh, India. He is a political scientist and poet, an educator and a commentator on society, governance, policy and culture. He has published in the areas of identity, politics, democracy, minority rights, urban politics, civil society, and social capital.

  • Michael Herzfeld

    Research Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University
    18 February 2020

    Professor Michael Herzfeld is the Ernest E. Monrad Research Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. A past president of both the Modern Greek Studies Association and the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, he was editor of American Ethnologist during 1994-98 and is now Editor at Large with specific responsibility for the feature "Polyglot Perspectives" in Anthropological Quarterly; he serves on numerous other editorial boards and is currently co-editor of New Anthropologies of Europe (Indiana University Press).

  • Georges Dreyfus

    Professor of Religion, Williams College
    17 February 2020

    Professor Georges Dreyfus, Jackson Professor of Religion at Williams College, is a Tibetan Monk and the first Westerner to receive the title of “Geshe,” traditionally the highest degree awarded by Tibetan Buddhist monastic universities and presented by the Dalai Lama himself. He is author of The Sound of Two Hands Clapping: The Education of a Tibetan Buddhist Monk (University of California Press, 2003).

  • Eddie Chua

    Scientist, Institute of High Performance Computing, A*STAR
    12 February 2020

    Dr Eddie Chua is a scientist in the Institute of High Performance Computing, under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), who uses computer simulations to gain insight into natural phenomena.

  • Tham Seen Hau

    Film Director
    10 February 2020

    Tham Seen Hau has nearly two decades of experience working in satellite television, radio and digital media. She has covered Malaysian politics extensively over the years with a particular interest in infringement of human rights and political violence. Ms Tham was awarded an East-West Centre fellowship in 2015 and has been an Ochberg Fellow of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma at Columbia University.

  • Amy Quan Barry

    Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    6 February 2020

    Born in Saigon and raised near Boston, Amy Quan Barry is an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also the author of the novel She Weeps Each Time You’re Born as well as four poetry books (Asylum, Controvertibles, Water Puppets, and Loose Strife). In 2012, Professor Barry was commissioned to write a ten-minute piece for Book Wings, an arts exchange established by former President Obama and then President Dmitry Medvedev and funded by the Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs at the U.S. State Department.

  • José Ignacio Torreblanca

    Professor of Political Science at the National Distance Education University (UNED) in Spain and Head of the Madrid Office of the European Council of Foreign Relations
    6 February 2020

    Professor José Ignacio Torreblanca is a Professor of Political Science at the National Distance Education University (UNED) in Spain and the Head of the Madrid Office of the European Council of Foreign Relations. His topics of focus include populism and euroscepticism in Europe, common foreign security and defence policy, and EU domestic politics and institutional reforms. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the Op-Ed Editor of the Spanish daily, El Pais.

  • Yeow Kai Chin

    6 February 2020

    Yeow Kai Chai is a poet, prose writer, editor, curator, and music reviewer. He has two poetry collections, Pretend I’m Not Here (2006) and Secret Manta (2001), which was shortlisted for the 1995 Singapore Literature Prize. He co-wrote Lost Bodies: Poems between Portugal and Home (2016) and The Adopted: Stories from Angkor (2015) with three other writers. A co-editor of Quarterly Literary Review Singapore (QLRS), he was festival director of Singapore Writers Festival from 2015 to 2018.

  • Olivier Krischer

    Deputy Director, China Studies Centre, University of Sydney
    4 February 2020

    Dr Olivier Krischer is an art historian whose research regards the role of art theory and practice in modern and contemporary China-Japan relations, and more recently networks of artistic activism from Hong Kong and across East Asia. Dr Krischer is co-editor of the journal special issue ‘Asian Art Research in Australia and New Zealand: Past, Present and Future’, Australia & New Zealand Journal of Art (Taylor & Francis, 2016), and the book Asia through Art and Anthropology (Bloomsbury, 2013).

  • Paul Tan

    Deputy Chief Executive Office, National Arts Council Singapore
    4 February 2020

    As Deputy Chief Executive Officer at the National Arts Council, Paul Tan leads his team in engaging with artists, arts groups, government agencies and industry partners. Together they develop and nurture an environment where people can experience and appreciate the arts as an integral part of their lives.

  • Sharon Tan

    Director of NUS Centre For The Arts
    4 February 2020

    Sharon Tan is Director of NUS Centre For the Arts. NUS Centre For the Arts comprises the NUS Museum and NUS Baba House; the University Cultural Centre, a world class performing arts centre; and a Talent Development and Programming division that oversees 21 student arts excellence groups in music, dance, theatre and film.

  • Wahyuni Hadi

    Director of Objectifs – Centre for Photography and Film
    4 February 2020

    Wahyuni Hadi is a film producer and curator known for her promotion of Singapore cinema. She specialises in the management of film & media projects, and oversees the film programme at Objectifs as its director. Her career began in the visual arts and she has since worked as Senior Programme Manager (Film) at The Substation and Commissioning Editor at Mediacorp TV12. She also co-founded Fly By Night Video Challenge with filmmaker Tan Pin Pin in 2003. In 2008-2009, she headed the Singapore International Film Festival as festival director, and has been Executive Director since 2014.

  • Wei Leng Tay

    Visual Artist
    4 February 2020

    Wei Leng Tay is a visual artist working with mediums including photography, audio, video and installation. Aside from her own projects, she is in the collective project Sightlines (2016-) which questions collectivity through conversation and image-making. Previously, she worked as Deputy Picture Editor for TIME Magazine’s Asia edition and as a photo editor for Bloomberg News in Hong Kong.

  • Yvonne Tham

    Chief Executive Office, The Esplanade Co Ltd
    4 February 2020

    Yvonne Tham is the CEO of Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, responsible for the overall management and programming direction of the arts centre. Prior to Esplanade, Yvonne was the Deputy CEO at the National Arts Council where she oversaw the Council’s strategic planning and capability development departments, as well as the development and implementation of policies and programmes for arts grants, arts education, community engagement, and arts infrastructure.

  • Laavanya Kathiravelu

    Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences, Nanyang Technological University
    29 January 2020

    Laavanya Kathiravelu is Assistant Professor in the Division of Sociology at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is also a Fung Fellow at Princeton University, USA, in 2015/16. Her research sits at the intersection of international migration and contemporary diverse cities, especially in the Global South.

  • Mysara Aljaru

    Artist, Creator
    29 January 2020

    Mysara Aljaru is currently pursuing her Masters in Malay Studies at the National University of NUS. She was previously a current affairs producer and journalist with a local mainstream media organisation. A lens-based practitioner, she is currently researching on mainstream media discourse on Malay development.

  • Nurul Huda Rashid

    Researcher, Artist
    29 January 2020

    Nurul Huda Rashid is a researcher, photographer, and is currently pursuing her PhD in Cultural Studies at NUS. Her research interests focus on images, narratives, visual and sentient bodies, feminisms, and the intersections between them.

  • Preeti Nair

    Comedian, Social Influencer
    29 January 2020

    Preeti Nair, better known as Preetipls, has made waves as an overnight Internet sensation with videos ranging from her parody of ‘Orchard Road’s Fashion Police’ to videos addressing serious topics such as Racial Harmony – mainly the misrepresentation of minority races in local media. Her use of humour to tackle such issues has helped pave the way for Preetipls to be known as “Singapore’s Satirical Internet Queen”.

  • Lucy Helton

    23 January 2020

    Lucy Helton is an artist working at the boundaries of the photographic medium. Her work presents artifactual geomorphic technofossils taken from the earth’s substratum, byproducts of anthropogenic climate change. Her first photobook Actions of Consequence was nominated for the MACK First Book Award 2014, shortlisted for the Kassel Dummy Award 2015, and the Anamorphosis Prize 2015.

  • David W Rivkin

    Lawyer and Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton
    15 January 2020

    David W Rivkin is Co-Chair of Debevoise’s International Dispute Resolution Group and a Past President of the International Bar Association (IBA). Mr Rivkin is consistently ranked as one of the top international dispute resolution practitioners in the world.