Visiting Speakers

  • Kathy Xu

    Founder of The Dorsal Effect
    21 September 2017

    Kathy Xu founded The Dorsal Effect, an NGO that focuses on shark conservation, in 2013. By introducing ecotourism as an alternative to shark fishing, she has successfully helped shark fishermen convert to a more sustainable source of livelihood. She shared her experiences in setting up an NGO, as well as her work in marine conservation.

  • Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang

    Product Designer
    20 September 2017

    Andrew ‘Bunnie’ Huang’s talk explored the Chinese approach to innovation by examining Shenzhen’s tech ecosystem. He compared and contrasted this model against Western IP traditions, with the goal of learning from this novel evolution of innovation in a modern age. He is best known for his project and book Hacking the Xbox, as well as for his efforts in designing and manufacturing open source hardware, including the chumby (app-playing alarm clock), chibitronics (peel-and-stick electronics for craft), and Novena (DIY laptop). He received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from MIT in 2002. He currently lives in Singapore where he runs a private product design studio, Kosagi, and he actively mentors several startups and students of the MIT Media Lab.

  • Susan Rowland

    Deputy Director of Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) and Associate Professor at the University of Queensland
    19 September 2017

    Susan Rowland teaches biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology at the undergraduate and postgraduate level at the University of Queensland, Australia. Her scholarship of Teaching and Learning focuses on the development of student professionalism through immersion in authentic scientific practice. She has particular interests in undergraduate research experiences and science communication. She spoke about the new Student Strategy developed by the University of Queensland and launched in 2016, which is a comprehensive set of initiatives that promises the modernisation and expansion of the university’s offerings to students.

  • James A T Lancaster

    Research Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland
    18 September 2017

    Dr James A T Lancaster is an intellectual historian who received his PhD from the Warburg Institute in the University of London. His current research is focused on the pathologisation of religion in seventeenth-century England. He spoke about the role of scientific evidence in the age of Donald Trump. Questions about the legitimacy of scientific evidence have come under the spotlight since the inauguration of the president. The Trump administration’s alleged disregard and misinterpretation of “the facts”—for instance, those surrounding climate change—have left the global scientific community and a sizeable proportion of the general public uneasy. As divisive as these issues might be, the history of science reveals that scientific forms of evidence have rarely, if ever, been detached from the political. Current tensions between the US Government, scientists, and members of the public do not, as such, present new challenges; instead, they bring back into focus the largely forgotten, but recurrently problematic, political roots of evidence within the natural sciences.

  • Sophia Hua

    Lab Manager and Project Coordinator at the Psychology of Eating and Consumer Health (PEACH) Lab at the University of Pennsylvania
    18 September 2017

    Sophia shared about how her Master's in Public Health from Yale shaped her career trajectory, her current research, and recommendations she would give to budding public health specialists. She is currently evaluating the impact of the historic Philadelphia Beverage Tax, investigating the types of messages that would influence consumers' purchases at restaurants, and managing a large-scale study with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health on healthier vending machines. Her research interests include food policy, and the impact of dietary and lifestyle factors on excess weight gain. She received her B.S. in psychology from Yale University and completed her Master in Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health.

  • Kiira Gustafson

    Technical Advisor for HIV and Tuberculosis at Population Services International (PSI) Myanmar
    14 September 2017

    Kiira Gustafson advises the Myanmar government on national HIV and Tuberculosis (TB) policy, helps to corral the private sector through a 1,400-member network of private general practitioners (Sun Quality Health), and serves key populations through 18 Targeted Outreach Program (TOP) clinics across the country, specifically for sex workers and men who have sex with men and transgender. She talked about Public Health in Myanmar and how it was important to her that workers and volunteers to get as close as possible to the people on the ground and work on site as it influences their perspective on public health policies.

  • Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath Ha

    Chargé d’Affaires, Ad Interim of the US Embassy in Singapore
    13 September 2017

    A career US diplomat with experience serving in Latin America, Africa and Europe, Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath has served as Charge d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Singapore since January 2017. In recent months, a variety of geo-strategic challenges to the Asia-Pacific region have seized the headlights, including continued North Korean defiance of United Nations Security Council resolutions and armed conflict in the southern Philippines. Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath discussed how the United States and countries of Southeast Asia must cooperate to respond to these and other issues in order to achieve the vision of a prosperous and secure future.

  • Tara Greaver

    11 September 2017

    Dr Tara Greaver is a senior ecologist with the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), specialising in the ecological effects of anthropogenic nitrogen and sulfur. Dr Greaver has broad expertise in nitrogen and sulfur effects on geochemistry and biology of terrestrial, wetland and aquatic ecosystems in the US, developed from leading the highly influential Integrated Science Assessments (ISAs) for ecological effects of nitrogen and sulfur deposition across the US. ISAs are evaluations of the peer-reviewed literature, including determinations regarding the causal relationship between the effects on ecosystems and pollutants. Dr Greaver’s work within the agency is to assess the state and strength of the science to advise policy makers. Topics of her published research include nitrogen effects on terrestrial carbon budgets, nitrogen effects on wetland and terrestrial net biogenic greenhouse gas (e.g., methane, nitrous oxides and carbon dioxide) flux, quantification of nitrogen deposition thresholds (e.g. critical loads), climate (e.g. temp and precipitation) modification of ecosystem response to nitrogen and alteration of ecosystem services by anthropogenic nitrogen. Dr Greaver has been an invited expert to participate in working groups, including those for the National Science Foundation National Park Service, International Nitrogen Initiative and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including EPA National Honor Gold Medal.

  • Rodrigo de La Peña and Grace Chia

    4 September 2017

    Grace Chia has published several books, including a novel, The Wanderlusters, a short story collection, Every Moving Thing That Lives Shall Be Food, poetry collections, womango and Cordelia, and chapbook, The Cuckoo Conundrum. She also edited the prose anthology, We R Family. In 2017, she was the Writer-in-Residence for the Toji Cultural Foundation in Korea and the Macau Literary Festival in conjunction with the University of Macau. She was also the first national NAC-NTU Writer-in-Residence from 2011-2012. Rodrigo Dela Peña, Jr. is the author of two chapbooks, Requiem and Hymnal. His poems have been published in QLRS, SingPo WriMo, Rattle, Likhaan, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and other journals and anthologies. He has received prizes from the Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards, Kokoy F. Guevara Poetry Competition, British Council, Meritage Press, among others. His first full-length collection, Aria and Trumpet Flourish, is forthcoming from Math Paper Press.

  • Mark L Sheldon

    Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong
    11 April 2017

    As a forty-year resident of Hong Kong, Mark Sheldon reflected on current political, economic, social and identity dilemmas faced by Hong Kong people. He described Hong Kong’s prospects in the uncertain context of United States and China relations.

  • Evelyn Goh

    Shedden Professor of Strategic Studies at the Australian National University
    10 April 2017

    One of Singapore’s most eminent scholars on international politics, Evelyn Goh’s research expertise includes United States and China relations and diplomatic history; East Asian international relations and security; and Southeast Asian diplomatic, economic, and security strategies towards great powers. She spoke about how to bridge the gap between scholarship and policy in international affairs.

  • Rainer Weiss

    Professor Emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Co-founder of the COBE and the LIGO Projects
    9 April 2017

    Dr Rainer Weiss spoke about his invention, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), and life as an experimental physicist, including his journey from MIT dropout to Professor Emeritus and how his team came up with one of the most exciting scientific experiments of our generation.

  • Yeo Lay Hwee

    Director of the European Union Centre in Singapore and Senior Research Fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs
    5 April 2017

    Yeo Lay Hwee’s research interests revolve around comparative regionalism; ASEAN and EU; and the Asia-Europe Meeting process. She spoke about the future of the European Union after Britain’s exit.

  • Bridget Johnson

    Lecturer and Major Coordinator of Music Technology, Massey University School of Music & Creative Media Production
    4 April 2017

    Bridget Johnson is a sound artist and composer whose work crosses many platforms and mediums. During her visit, she discussed her experience and philosophies about working in a world where cutting edge art and science intersect.

  • Ruth Barnes

    Senior Curator of the Yale University Art Gallery’s newly endowed Department of Indo-Pacific Art
    3 April 2017

    Dr Ruth Barnes drew on her breadth of curatorial experience and expertise in Indonesian weaving and related art forms when she gave a talk about what being a curator entailed.

  • Eugene Tan

    Director, National Gallery Singapore
    28 March 2017

    Dr Eugene Tan oversees the museological and curatorial operations of the National Gallery Singapore. He has previously served in various positions in the arts, including working with the Economic Development Board to oversee the development of Gillman Barracks, working at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art (Singapore), and curating the Singapore Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale (2005) and the inaugural Singapore Biennale (2006).

  • Loubna El Amine

    Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Northwestern University
    23 March 2017

    Loubna El Amine discussed interpreting Confucian political thought through the lens of order, not virtue. She argued for the importance of returning to the Classical texts of the Chinese tradition and related how she came to be interested in China while growing up in London.

  • Sarah Demers

    Horace D. Taft Associate Professor of Physics at Yale University and Winner of the Yale Provost’s Teaching Prize
    23 March 2017

    Sarah Demers discussed her experiences designing and teaching in an innovative and interdisciplinary course for non-science majors that explored introductory concepts in physics through the lens of dance. The course was co-taught with former New York City Ballet dancer and Theatre Studies Lecturer Emily Coates.

  • Ghazala Shahabuddin

    21 March 2017

    Dr Ghazala Shahabuddin is a wildlife-lover who is trained as an ecologist. She has increasingly turned her attention in the last 15 years to important conservation-related issues such as people’s displacement and the politics of conservation.

  • Thomas Foster

    Professor of History at DePaul University in Chicago and an OAH Distinguished Lecturer
    20 March 2017

    Thomas A. Foster is Professor of History at DePaul University in Chicago, USA. His teaching and research focuses on sexuality.

  • Mohamed Omar

    Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College
    15 March 2017

    Mohammad Omar reflected on how his experiences as a Muslim immigrant living and working in the United States have evolved over the past ten years.

  • Benjamin Wold

    Lecturer at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
    14 March 2017

    Benjamin Wold is a lecturer in Ancient Judaism and Christianity at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He shared about his research and teaching focus on the Dead Sea Scrolls and their significance for understanding religious traditions in ancient Palestine.

  • Didik Nini Thowok

    9 March 2017

    Didik Nini Thowok is a cross-dressing dancer from Java. He spoke about embodying gender and the process of physically performing both male and female gender in dance. He led a workshop with the module entitled ‘Performing Gender, Gendering Performance’, gave an informal Rector’s tea talk that was co-hosted with The G Spot, a student organisation, and performed at NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies’ annual gala event called Southeast Asia Night.

  • Frans de Waal

    Ethologist and Biologist
    8 March 2017

    Frans de Waal , Gavin Flood and John van Wyhe will discuss what we can learn from animal behaviours that we can apply to the people and to the human condition. The panel will address questions about relationship between animal and human behaviour, empathy and the nature of moral behaviours, what we do “naturally” compared to what we do upon contemplation, and our interactions within and among groups.

  • Louis Ho

    Co-curator of Singapore Biennale 2016
    8 March 2017

    Louis Ho was a co-curator of ‘Singapore Biennale 2016: An Atlas of Mirrors’ and a curator at the Singapore Art Museum, where his focus was on the art of Malaysia, Myanmar, and Brunei. During his visit, he provided an introduction to the practices and particularities of curating contemporary art in Singapore in the new millennium.

  • Marcus Chau and Philip Yap

    National University of Singapore Medicine and Forget Us Not Campaign Representative; Khoo Teck Puat Hospital’s Senior Consultant in Geriatrics
    8 March 2017

    Marcus Chau and Dr Philip Yap, in their talk entitled, ‘Building a Dementia Friendly Community’, gave an introduction to dementia, the Forget Us Not campaign, and policies and care-taking practices for dementia patients.

  • Sarah Goff

    Assistant Professor, University of Hong Kong
    7 March 2017

    Sarah C. Goff is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. She presented her research, which proposes a way to understand how global supply chains relate to the institutions of global trade and how the fact that some global supply chains rely upon slave labour is relevant for justice in trade.

  • James Delano

    Environmental Photographer and Curator
    4 March 2017

    James Delano is a world-renowned photographer and author of four photobooks. He will lead a photography workshop, headline a public panel, give a Rector’s Tea for the Yale-NUS community, lay the groundwork for a gallery exhibit and consult with students and faculty during his stay in Singapore

  • Kellynn Wee

    Research and Communication Officer, Asia Research Institute
    1 March 2017

    Kellynn Wee works as the Research and Communications Officer for the Migrating out of Poverty Project at the Asia Research Institute (NUS). During her visit, she discussed debt-financed migration in Singapore’s Domestic Work Industry.

  • Lionel Chok

    Film Producer, Theatre Director, Creative Technologist; iMMERSiVELY VR
    15 February 2017

    Lionel Chok Ko Hon is a Singaporean film-maker and director with a special interest in Augmented and Virtual Reality. He produced London’s first ever 360 Virtual Reality Dance and spoke about and the future of virtual reality during his visit to Yale-NUS.

  • Rachel Harrison

    Professor of Thai Cultural Studies, SOAS, University of London
    15 February 2017

    Rachel Harrison is a Professor of Thai Cultural Studies at SOAS, University of London. She has published widely on issues of gender and sexuality, modern literature and cinema in Thailand, and the comparative literature of South East Asia. During her talk, she spoke about doctors and disease in the world of internationally acclaimed Thai filmmarker, Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

  • Donald Stadtner

    Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
    10 February 2017

    Donald Stadtner presented a Keynote Address titled “The Buddha’s Golden Footprints and the King who was a Mole” during Yale-NUS’s Symposium on the Cultures of Myanmar.

  • Melissa Low

    Research Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute and one of Singapore’s Negotiators for International Climate Policy
    9 February 2017

    Melissa Low has participated in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP) talks since December 2009 and is the Designated Contact Point for NUS’s accreditation to the UNFCCC. Her current research areas are on the implications of the Paris Agreement and countries’ progress in meeting their climate pledges. She discussed conference diplomacy and the United Nations Climate Change Conference during her visit.

  • Trevor Burnard

    Head, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne
    9 February 2017

    Professor Trevor Burnard is the Head of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne and an internationally recognized historian of early British America and the Atlantic World. Over the past decade, his work has been especially concerned with identity in the New World in the eighteenth century and with how settler societies have been formed, or have failed to form in plantation societies in the Caribbean and the Chesapeake.

  • Zhang Wen

    Executive Director of the People’s Movement to Stop Haze
    9 February 2017

    Zhang Wen works for the People’s Movement to Stop Haze, a Singaporean organisation which aims to develop active citizens who can build a society where environment and social considerations are integrated in governance, business practice and consumer habits. She spoke about the 2013 record haze hit in Singapore, how that event sparked the formation of her organisation, and its current projects.

  • Paul A Baker and Catherine A Rigsby

    Dean of Geography, Yachay Tech University; Chancellor, Yachay Tech University
    7 February 2017

    Paul A Baker serves as the Dean of Geography while Catherine A Rigsby serves as the Chancellor at Yachay Tech University. Baker’s research focuses on climate and paleoclimate, global environmental change, geochemistry, and oceanography. Rigsby’s research focuses on climate variability, sedimentology, paleoclimatology, and geoarchaeology. They spoke about the Earth’s antipodes, which are points on the Earth that are diametrically opposite to one another.

  • Erik Assadourian

    Senior Fellow, Worldwatch Institute
    1 February 2017

    Erik Assadourian is a prolific writer and esteemed scholar of sustainability. As a Senior Fellow of the Worldwatch Institute, He has co-directed five editions of State of the World, including the upcoming State of the World 2017: EarthEd: Rethinking Education for Life on a Changing Planet. He also directs the institute's Transforming Cultures project, which explores innovative ways to supplant the spread of consumerism with more enduring cultures of sustainability.

  • Michael Shin

    Associate Professor of Geography, Founder and Director of Geospatial, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
    1 February 2017

    Michael Shin is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His teaching and research interests include urban geography, urban analytics and political geography. During his visit, he used a field experiment conducted in Los Angeles to demonstrate how urban analytics can be used to promote civic engagement in smart cities.

  • Geronimo Johnson

    26 January 2017

    Geronimo Johnson is a fiction writer who has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, and Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He conducted a fiction writing workshop for the students.

  • Claire Clements

    Documentary Filmmaker
    24 January 2017

    Claire Clements is a documentary filmmaker from Australia specialising in natural history films. She has spent over three years in Singapore making wildlife documentaries, like the acclaimed Wild City Singapore series and Otter Town for National Geographic Wild. During her talk, she spoke about what it takes to be a National Geographic filmmaker.

  • Noami Clark

    Marine Scientist
    24 January 2017

    Noami Clark is a marine scientist who works on shark conservation projects locally and regionally. During her visit, she spoke about being a marine scientist on a mission to save sharks.

  • Jordan Sand

    Professor, Georgetown University
    19 January 2017

    Jordan Sand is Professor of Japanese History and Culture at Georgetown University. His talk focused on how massive growth in concern for cultural heritage manifested itself as a public issue in Tokyo in the 1970s.

  • Sangeetha Thanapal

    Activist and Writer
    19 January 2017

    Sangeetha Thanapal is known for coining and popularising the term “Chinese Privilege”. At this talk, she discussed the intentions of her blog and her experiences after starting it.

  • Philip Yampolsky

    Artistic Director of the Music of Indonesia Series, Smithsonian Folkways
    18 January 2017

    Philip Yampolsky serves as the artistic director of the Music of Indonesia series at Smithsonian Folkways. As an ethnomusicologist, he has spent the past 16 months in Timor Leste and West Timor, documenting music performances that have never before been recorded. During his visit, he spoke about his experience in the field, the incredible performances he has been able to witness and the wonderful people he has met on the job.

  • Randy Kwei

    Advisory Partner, Shaw Kwei & Partners
    16 January 2017

    Randy Kwei is an Advisory Partner at Shaw Kwei & Partners. He has extensive experience working in the banking and investment sector at organisations such as Citibank and American Express. Mr Kwei also founded and served as Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of JK Capital Management for many years. During his visit, he shared his investment strategies and how his life experiences have enabled him to understand and outperform the Asian stock market, even in times of volatility and financial crises.

  • Sailesh Rao

    Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers
    10 January 2017

    Sailesh Rao is the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Healers, a non-profit organisation dedicated towards healing the Earth’s climate. After graduating with a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University and working on the Internet communications infrastructure for twenty years, Sailesh has become deeply immersed, full-time, in the spiritual and environmental crises affecting humanity.