Ms Anna Power is the Managing Director of Johnson & Alcock, a London-based literary agency where she looks after a diverse list of award-winning novelists, non-fiction writers and journalists.
Mr Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh is the author of Floating on a Malayan Breeze: Travels in Malaysia and Singapore and co-author of Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus.
Professor Lau Ting Hui is a sociocultural anthropologist, originally from Limbang, Sarawak, East Malaysia. She completed her PhD at Cornell University in August 2020.
She is currently working with Lisu indigenous subsistence farmers on the China-Myanmar border in the highlands of mainland Southeast Asia. By examining Lisu jokes, narratives, dreams, and lived experiences, she studies how the body works as a medium of protest in contexts where other means for expressing dissent are not viable.
Ms Tan Hui Yee is The Straits Times’ Indochina Bureau Chief, covering Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. She has been based in Bangkok since 2012. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, she spent much of her time on the road.
Ms Tan specialises in long-form journalism, with a focus on topics like migration, gender and socio-political structures. Her explanatory work has won awards from the World Association of Newspapers and Publishers as well as The Society of Publishers in Asia.
Associate Professor Andrea Nanetti is a pioneer in the digital humanities. His main research project is Engineering Historical Memory (EHM), which develops and tests sets of shared conceptualisations and formal specifications for content management systems at the intersections of humanities and data science.
Mr Jack Reed is a former geologist and Geospatial Web Engineer in Stanford University Libraries’ Digital Library Systems and Services group where he works on increasing access to digital library content. He works with various open source software projects such as GeoBlacklight, Blacklight, and Leaflet-IIIF.
Dr Katherine McDonough is a historian of eighteenth-century France working at the intersection of political culture and the history of science and technology. She is part of the Living with Machines project at the Alan Turing Institute, where her research focuses on developing methods for geographic information retrieval from text and visual sources and examining how the expansion of transportation infrastructure changed 19th century communities.
Associate Professor Stefan Leyk specialises in Geographic Information System (GIS) where his research interests lie in cartographic pattern recognition from historical maps, spatial dynamic modelling approaches in public health, land cover change modelling, and uncertainty in GIScience. He is the author of Using Historical Maps in Scientific Studies Applications, Challenges, and Best Practices (2019).
Associate Professor Yao-yi Chiang is an Associate Professor (Research) of Spatial Sciences in the Spatial Sciences Institute and the Associate Director of the Data Science Institute at the University of Southern California, Viterbi School of Engineering. He is an expert in digital map processing, pattern recognition, and geospatial information systems (GIS), and predictive analytics focusing on automated techniques for geospatial data extraction and integration. His paper, Querying Historical Maps as a Unified, Structured, and Linked Spatiotemporal Source (2015) won the first prize at the Computing Community Consortium.
Professor Alan Gerber is the Dean of the Social Science (Division of the Faculty of Arts and Science), the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Professor of Political Science, Faculty in Residence at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and Director of the Center for the Study of American Politics at Yale University. His current research focuses on the application of experimental methods to the study of campaign communications, and he has designed and performed experimental evaluations of many political communications programmes, both partisan and non-partisan in nature.
Professor David Mayhew is Sterling Professor of Political Science Emeritus. Prof Mayhew specialises in United States legislative behaviour, political parties, and policymaking. Aside from Yale, where he began teaching in 1968, he has taught at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst College, University of Oxford, and Harvard University, and has held fellowships at Stanford University and California Institute of Technology. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences.
Professor Isabela Mares is Professor of Political Science at Yale University. Prof Mares has been on the faculty of Stanford and Columbia University, and has taught at Sciences Po Paris and the Central European University in Budapest. Prof Mares has written extensively on a range of topics in comparative politics and political economy, including democratisation, clientelism and corruption, taxation and fiscal capacity development, social policy reforms in both developed and developing countries.
Professor Jacob Hacker is the Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social and Policy Studies at Yale University. A regular media commentator and policy adviser, he is known for his research and writings regarding American politics, public policy and health policy, especially his development of the “public option”. He was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of APAC Advisors, Mr Steve Okun is a leader in corporate public affairs, communications, sustainability, and stakeholder engagement in Asia Pacific. He is also Senior Advisor of McLarty Associates, an international strategic advisory firm and is a Governor on the Board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. He was awarded the Secretary’s Award for Special Service Commendation for serving in the Administration of President Bill Clinton as Deputy General Counsel at the United States Department of Transportation from 1994 to 1999.
Mr Alasdair MacLeod is the Head of Enterprise and Resources at the Royal Geographic Society and former publishing director at the British Museum. His current work focuses on creating and expanding the digital archive of the Royal Geographic Society in collaboration with Wiley Digital Archives.
Dr Fiona Williamson is an Assistant Professor at Singapore Management University. Through her research on droughts, climate variability and governance in the Straits Settlements, Dr Williamson aims to shed light on how climatic disasters were managed and understand the broad implications of climatic hazards over time and place.
Dr Sarah Evans is an experienced events officer and researcher who has a background in working at the interface between learned societies, galleries and collections, and higher education. She has worked on numerous projects to bring together archival and research expertise to engage a wide range of audiences from student groups to the wider academic geographical community. Currently she is the Research and Collections Engagement Manager with the Royal Geographical Society and worked on the Hero Project – a one-year project exploring the figure of the hero, past, and present as part of the “Care for the Future” research theme.
Ms Tan Huism is a curator, the Director of the National Library, and former Deputy Director of Content and Services (Singapore, Southeast Asia Exhibitions). She was previously a curator and then Deputy Director at the Asian Civilisations Museum, a fellow at the National Heritage Board, and represents Singapore as a member with the International Federation of Library Associations.
Ms Chua Mui Hoong has been with The Straits Times since 1991. She is currently the Opinion Editor and a political commentator. She is the co-author of the book, Lee Kuan Yew: Hard Truths to Keep Singapore Going and the author of Singapore, Disrupted.
Dr James Crabtree is an author and journalist as well as Associate Professor of Practice at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. His career spans both policy and media, including working at the Financial Times and as an advisor in the United Kingdom Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
Mr Vincent Ni is a Senior Journalist at the BBC in London. Prior to the BBC, he was a correspondent for Caixin Media in China, tracking China’s global footprint in the Middle East, Europe and North America.
The recent winner of the Singapore Literature Prize for her first book of poetry, Gaze Back (Ethos Books), Ms Marylyn Tan is a Singaporean linguistics graduate, poet and artist. She is also the founder of the arts collective, DIS/CONTENT.
Ms Margit Kaye is one of the most experienced staff at the Beinecke Library of Rare Book and Manuscript. Since 2016, when the Map Collection’s globes, early atlases, and pre-1920 sheet maps were transferred to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Ms Kaye has been an invaluable aide not only to students and scholars, but also to Beinecke staff as they learn about the cartographic treasures now under their care.
Mr Martijn Storms is a curatorial expert in maps and atlases at Leiden University Libraries. He also holds positions as the project coordinator for Koeman’s Atlantes Neerlandici VIII as part of Brill Publishers and is an Editor at Caert-Thresoor. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books, both in English and Dutch, among them Maps in the Crowd: Crowdsourcing Old Maps in the Special Collections in Voyage of Discovery (2017).
Mr Nick Millea is an expert in maps and map history, having been the Map Librarian of the Bodleian Libraries for 28 years. He is the co-author of Talking Maps (2019) and A Critical Companion to the English Medieval Mappae Mundi of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Boydell Studies in Medieval Art and Architecture) (2019). His work, Street Mapping: An A-Z of Urban Cartography (2005), charts the history of urban cartography using examples from the Bodleian Library collection to illustrate the evolution of cartographic styles, conventions, and the role of purpose and function on their design.
Mr Tom Harper is a lead curator of antiquarian mapping at the British Library with a Degree in History and the History of Art. He co-curated the exhibition ‘Magnificent Maps: Power, Propaganda and Art’ (2010), ‘Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage’ (2014-2015), and curated ‘Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line’ (2016-2017). He has also co-authored the book, A History of the 20th Century in 100 Maps (2014).
Assistant Professor Nurfadzilah Yahaya is a legal historian of the Indian Ocean from the History department at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Prior to NUS, she was an Early Career Fellow in Islamic Studies at Washington University in St Louis.
Her book, Fluid Jurisdictions: Colonial Law and Arabs in Southeast Asia was published by Cornell University Press in 2020. Her articles have also been published in Law and History Review, Journal of Women’s History, Indonesia and the Malay World and Muslim World.
Ms Gina Rae La Cerva is a geographer, environmental anthropologist and an award-winning writer. She travels extensively to research a variety of environmental and food-related topics.
A National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, Ms La Cerva holds a Master of Environmental Science from Yale School of the Environment and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.
Ms Joy Slappnig is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded Collaborative Doctoral Award student working in partnership with the Royal Geographic Society. Her current research examines the indigenous contribution to the map collection of the Royal Geographic Society. It explores the historical significance of “Indigenous Maps” as sources of geographical information, ethnographic objects, and artefacts of encounter.
Professor Thongchai Winichakul is a historian and researcher of Southeast Asian studies. His research interests include the cultural and intellectual history of early modern and modern Southeast Asia (19th to early 20th century), encounters between Southeast Asian societies and the West, the history of Siam (Thailand), and the modern Thai cultural politics from the late 19th century to the present. His path-breaking book Siam Mapped (1994) won the Grand Prize for the Asia Pacific Book Award from the Asian Affairs Research Council.
Professor Matthew Edney is an expert in map history. He is the author of Mapping an Empire: The Geographical Construction of British India, 1765-1843 (1997), Cartography: Its Ideal and His History (2019) and co-editor of Cartography in the European Enlightenment (2019), Volume Four of The History of Cartography. He is the Faculty Scholar for the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education (USM). Since 2005, he has directed the History of Cartography Project at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Professor Robert K Batchelor holds a doctorate in Philosophy and is the author of The Selden Map and the Making of a Global City, 1549-1687 (2014) with research interests in Modern Britain, Early Modern East Asia and Pacific, History of Games, and the History of Cartography. His current enterprise is a digital project with World History Gazetteer, involving the historical mapping of ocean currents and early modern shipping routes in the Pacific.
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.
Mr Shawn Chua is a researcher and artist based in Singapore. His research and artistic practice engages with embodied archives, uncanny personhoods and the participatory frameworks of play.
He holds a Master of Arts in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and speculates about futures and cybernetic dreams.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 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 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.
John Tully is Associate Director and Head of Delivery Associates. He is an expert on public sector reform, capacity building and education total system reform.
Kateřina Lišková is an Associate Professor in gender studies and sociology at Masaryk University, Czech Republic. As a Marie Curie Fellow, she was affiliated with Columbia University and Technische Universität in Berlin. Previously, she was at the New School for Social Research as a Fulbright Scholar, as a Visiting Scholar with New York University and as a Fellow with the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena, Germany. Her monograph titled Sexual Liberation, Socialist Style: Communist Chechoslovakia and the Science of Desire, 1945-89 won the 2019 Barbara Heldt Prize for Best Book and received an honourable mention for the 2019 Adele E Clarke Book Award.
Linda Collins is a copyeditor at The Straits Times and the author of Loss Adjustment, a creative non-fiction about the death of her teenage daughter. Her works are published and forthcoming in The Cordite Review, The Fib Review, Turbine, and Swamp Living.
Benjamin Horton is the Chair of the Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Principal Investigator of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. For excellence in research, he has received awards from European Geosciences Union (Plinius Medal), American Geophysical Union (Voyager Award) the Geological Society of America (W. Storrs Cole Award) and Commanding General of the North Atlantic Division of the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Medal for Research Excellence). For excellence in teaching and outreach, Professor Horton has received the Linnean Society Award for contributions to biological diversity and evolution, The Higher Education Funding Council for England Excellence in Teaching Award and the Menzies Australian Bicentennial Award for promoting scholarship, intellectual links, and mutual awareness and understanding between the United Kingdom and Australia.
Kagiso Lesego Molope is a South African-Canadian novelist and playwright. Her first book, Dancing in the Dust, was on the 2006 International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) List. The Mending Season is on the South African school curriculum, and This Book Betrays My Brother won the Percy Fitzpatrick Prize and the 2019 Ottawa Book Award. Her latest book, Such a Lonely, Lovely Road won the inaugural Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for Excellence in African Writing.
Ayo Wahlberg is Professor MSO in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen. He is the author of Good Quality – the Routinisation of Sperm Banking in China and, co-editor of Selective Reproduction in the 21st Century.
Dr Menaka Guruswamy is a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of India. Through her litigation practice, she has successfully brought reform of the bureaucracy in the country, defended federal legislation that mandates that all private schools admit disadvantaged children, successfully challenged the constitutionality of state supported private vigilante groups, and most recently overturned section 377, the colonial-era law that criminalises consensual same-sex relations. She was on Foreign Policy magazine’s list 100 most influential Global Thinkers for 2019 and along with Arundhati Katju on Times Magazine’s 2019 list of 100 most influential people. Dr Guruswamy has also advised the United Nations Development Fund, New York and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York and UNICEF South Sudan on International Human Rights Law and has also supported the constitution-making process in Nepal.
Fatema Amijee joined the Philosophy Department at the National University of Singapore in 2019, after having spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at Simon Fraser University. She received her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Toronto. Her main research interests lie in Metaphysics, Modern Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy (particularly as it relates to Islam) and the History of Analytic Philosophy.
Umra Omar is a Kenyan humanitarian and community conservation strategist. She is the founder of Safari Doctors, an initiative that provides free basic (and potentially life-saving) medical services, youth community health trainings and civic engagement for women. In 2016, Omar was selected as a CNN Hero, and she was recognised as the 2017 UN Person of the Year.
Ng Yee Kong is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. He is a dentist and did neuroscience research before becoming active in raising awareness and promoting the body donation programme at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Dr Joel Navarro teaches and administers Choral Conducting majors in the graduate level at the Singapore Bible College. Previously, he taught at Calvin College, where he received the From Every Nation Faculty Award, given to an outstanding faculty member for promoting goals of interculturalism and racial reconciliation. Earlier, he was assistant professor and one-time Chair of the Choral Conducting Department at the University of the Philippines College of Music, and former music director and conductor of the Ateneo de Manila University Glee Club which amassed a string of top prizes in European choral competitions during his 22-year tenure.
Thomas Pepinsky is Professor of Government at Cornell University and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution. He specialises in Indonesian and Malaysian politics, and his current research focuses on the political economy of identity in Southeast Asia and beyond. He is a faculty affiliate of the Southeast Asia Programme at Cornell (SEAP), co-convener of the Southeast Asia Research Group (SEAREG), past president of the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS), and a member of the Board of Directors of the Association for Analytical Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS).
Katie Purvis-Roberts is Professor of Chemistry & Environmental Science at Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California. Her research is supported by the National Science Foundation. She was a Jefferson Science Fellow at the United States Department of State from 2016-2017, and the co-author of two environmental chemistry textbooks, Chemistry in Context and Chemistry of the Environment.
Mark Goodale is Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology and the Director of the Laboratory of Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Lausanne. He is the founding series editor of the Sanford Studies in Human Rights at Stanford University Press, and the author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books, including A Revolution in Fragments: Traversing Scales of Justice, Ideology, and Practice in Bolivia and Letters to the Contrary: A Curated History of the UNESCO Human Rights Survey.
Dr Alan Chan is a senior Fellow with the Centre for East-West Cultural and Economic Studies at Bond University and the founder of Petroships, a tanker shipping company. Dr Chan has written several books particularly on the teaching of Confucius, and philosophy.
Laura Raicovich is dedicated to art and artistic production that relies on complexity, poetics, and care to create a more engaged and equitable civic realm. She is the recipient of both the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Fellowship and the inaugural Emily H. Tremaine Journalism Fellowship for Curators at Hyperallergic, an online arts magazine. She previously served as President and Executive Director of the Queens Museum, and was Deputy Director at the Dia Art Foundation.
Ute Meta Bauer is a curator of exhibitions and presentations on contemporary art, film, video, and sound, with a focus on transdisciplinary formats. She serves as founding director of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore — a research centre of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), where she is professor at NTU’s School of Art, Media and Design.
Wernmei Yong Ade is Assistant Professor with the English programme at the School of Humanities of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She lectures in feminist studies, love and critical theory.
David Wang is the Edward C Henderson Professor of Chinese Literature and holds a joint appointment in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. He is Director of the Chiang Ching-Kuo (CCK) Foundation Inter-University Center for Sinological Studies, and Academician in Academia Sinica in Taipei. His recent publications include Taiwan under Japanese Colonial Rule, Globalizing Chinese Literature, and The Lyrical in Epic Time: Modern Chinese Intellectuals and Artists through the 1949 Crisis.
Hamid Roslan currently works at the Singapore National Arts Council. His work may be found in The Volta, Asymptote, and the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, among others. He published his debut book of poetry, parsetreeforestfire, in 2019.
Laura Guerrero is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah Valley University, where she teaches courses in Asian and cross-cultural philosophy. Her research focusses on understanding the way various Buddhist metaphysical positions inform accounts of intentionality, truth, and knowledge.
Denis Simon is Executive Vice Chancellor of Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China, and Professor of China Business and Technology at Duke's Fuqua School of Business. He has held a number of international affairs leadership positions and faculty appointments at universities in the US and China, and is the author of books including Corporate Strategies Towards the Pacific Rim, Techno-Security in an Age of Globalization, and China’s Emerging Technological Edge: Assessing the Role of High-End Talent.
Dr Tham Meng Keat is a respiratory medicine consultant in private practice and a clinical tutor for medical and nursing students. He is an ex-President of the Rotary Club of Singapore, and has been very active in volunteering and community work in Singapore and all over the region. Additionally, he has authored two books, The Art of Volunteerism and Taming the Untamed Mind.
Mary Roberts is the John Schaffer Professor of Art History at the University of Sydney, who specialises in nineteenth-century British and Ottoman art with particular expertise in Orientalism. She is the author of Istanbul Exchanges: Ottomans, Orientalists and Nineteenth-century visual culture, and Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature; as well as co-editor on several other books on similar topics.
Daniel Ziblatt is Eaton Professor of the Science of Government at Harvard University where he has been director (interim) of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He specialises in the study of Europe and the history of democracy. His three books include How Democracies Die, Conservative Parties and the Birth of Democracy, and Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism.
Lisa A Eaton is Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, at the College of Liberal Arts and Science at the University of Connecticut. She earned her PhD from the University of Connecticut, and previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. She was Co-Director of the United States National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Institutional Training Grant (T32) Training in Social Processes of HIV/AIDS, as well as Associate Director of the Southeast HIV/AIDS Research and Evaluation Project in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mok Wei Wu is Curriculum Planning Officer at Singapore’s Ministry of Education.
Ryan J Watson is Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences, at the College of Liberal Arts and Science at the University of Connecticut. He earned his PhD from the University of Arizona, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
Nuseir Yassin is a video blogger known for his daily one-minute-long Facebook videos called Nas Daily. Mr Yassin graduated from Harvard with an economics degree. He worked as a software developer for Venmo, then quit his job to travel the world, filming his now-famous videos every day for 1,000 days.
Carol Li Rafferty is the Managing Director of Yale Center Beijing and Co-Founder of Lean In China. In 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) selected her as a Young Global Leader. She previously worked for the China Investment Corporation and is a China Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a Trustee at Keystone Academy. She is currently a member of the Hong Kong government’s Financial Services Development Council’s Working Group on the Asia Institute of Finance, and the Hong Kong X-Tech Startup Platform Advisory Committee.
Yew Wen Shan is an Associate Professor with the Department of Biochemistry at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and the Deputy Director of the NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI). His current and future research is centred on expanding the multi-faceted interface between enzymology, biological chemistry and synthetic biology, in an area he terms “synthetic enzymology”.
Michelle Lim is the CEO of Insight Asset Management. She has worked in the financial industry in the region for over 22 years, including at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, Fortis Bank and Dryden Wealth Management.
Ranjit Murugason is the owner of the venture capital and private equity firm Urban Strategic Limited, with offices in London and Singapore. Previously, he was the CEO of the GMR Group.
Megan K Stack is an American author and foreign correspondent. As a correspondent, she was posted to dozens of countries and into the epicentre of countless crises, including Afghanistan, Lebanon, Russia, China, Greece, and Morocco; and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of Iraq. Her first book, Every Man in this Village is a Liar, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Jericho Brown is an American poet who is the recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award and numerous prestigious fellowships. His books, Please and The New Testament, won the American Book Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, respectively. His poems have appeared in various publications, including Buzzfeed, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Best American Poetry anthologies.
James Lindley Wilson is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. His book Democratic Equality articulates the moral force of the democratic idea that all citizens are equal political authorities. His other work addresses the relationship of freedom and democracy, global political and economic justice, and the history of democratic thought.
Richard De Veaux is Professor of Statistics at Williams College. Professor De Veaux has won numerous teaching awards, including a “Lifetime Award for Dedication and Excellence in Teaching” from the Engineering Council at Princeton. In 2008, he was named the Mosteller Statistician of the Year by the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association. Professor De Veaux has been a consultant for over 30 years, holds two US patents, and is the author of more than 30 refereed journal articles.
William Brustein is Vice President for Global Strategies and International Affairs, and the Emberly Family Distinguished Professor of Sociology, at West Virginia University. He is also a widely-published scholar in the areas of political extremism and ethnic, religious, and racial prejudice. His 1996 book The Logic of Evil: The Social Origins of the Nazi Party, 1925-1933 was the winner of the 1997 James S. Coleman Distinguished Contribution to Rational-Choice Scholarship from the American Sociological Association, Rational-Choice Section.
Peter Vale is Professor of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg, and Director of the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, an initiative of the University of Johannesburg and Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
Judith Simmer-Brown is the Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies at Naropa University, where she is a Founding Faculty member and has taught for over 40 years. She is the founder of Naropa's Centre for the Advancement of Contemplative Education (CACE), and now serves as Senior Advisor.
Resil Mojares is a Filipino writer and historian. He was recognised in 2018 as a National Artist of the Philippines for Literature – a conferment which represents the Philippine state's highest recognition for artists. He is the author of Isabelo's Archive, House of Memory, and Waiting for Mariang Makiling. His work explores various topics, including Southeast Asian intellectual history, urban architecture, and the history of the Filipino novel. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Sonny Liew is an award-winning comics artist, painter, and illustrator whose work includes The New York Times bestsellers The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye and The Shadow Hero (with Gene Luen Yang), My Faith in Frankie (Mike Carey) and Doctor Fate (with Paul Levitz). He is the first cartoonist to be awarded the Young Artist Award and the Singapore Literature Prize.
Susan Sentler is a dance artist working as choreographer/maker, teacher, researcher, director, and performer. She is a lecturer in the School of Dance & Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts, Singapore. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years, in numerous institutions globally, most notably serving as Senior Lecturer with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Elaine Tan is the Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation in 2014. Before joining the ASEAN Foundation, she has worked at Yayasan Sejahtera in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia as Programme Director. She has been the Country Programme Manager of UNIFEM (now UN Women) in Cambodia and Timor-Leste, and served at the ASEAN Secretariat in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Lynne Regan is Chair of Interdisciplinary Science in the Centre for Synthetic and Systems Biology, Institute for Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the University of Edinburg. Professor Regan is the recipient of numerous honours, including the Fulbright Fellowship, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. Prior to that, she was Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Chemistry at Yale University.
Tom Jaffe is a former journalist and currently the CEO and founder of ThoughtMatter, a design and branding consultancy that seeks to build on the counter-intuitive links between business and the fine arts. A life-long art collector, his transformative gift of Southeast Asian sculpture and textiles to the Yale Art Gallery established the department of Indo-Pacific Art.
Nelson Cunningham is the President of McLarty Associates and a Yale-NUS Governing Board Member. Prior to co-founding McLarty Associates, an international business and policy consultancy, in 1998, Mr Cunningham served in the White House as Special Advisor to President Clinton on Western Hemisphere affairs and as General Counsel at the White House of Administration. He previously served as General Counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph R. Biden. He is a member of the Department of State's Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, a past member of the Secretary of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board, past Chairman of the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee, and serves as President of the Board of the American Security Project.
Kelley Cheng runs her own publishing and designing consultancy The Press Room. As a creative director, her graphic and branding projects include the Youth Olympics Games, Singapore Pavilion at the World Expo Yeosu 2012, Singapore Writers’ Festival 2014, etc.
Khong Yuen Foong is Li Ka Shing Professor in Political Science at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He was formerly a Professor of International Relations, and a Professorial Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford University. His book, Analogies at War: Korea, Munich, Dien Bien Phu, and the Vietnam Decisions of 1965 (Princeton, 1992, sixth printing 2006) was co-winner of the American Political Science Associations Political Psychology Book Award (1994). He also received the Erik Erikson Award for distinguished early career contribution to political psychology in 1996.
Teo Yi Ling is a Senior Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at NTU. She explores policy, legal, and regulatory issues around the cyber domain.
Vuk Jeremić is the President of the Center for International Relations and Sustainable Development (CIRSD), a public policy think-tank based in Belgrade, Serbia, and Editor-in-Chief of Horizons – Journal of International Relations and Sustainable Development. He is a former President of the United Nations General Assembly and a former Foreign Minister of Serbia.
Wesley Loh is the Founder of Memphis West Pictures. He has shot for clients such as McDonald's, Hewlett-Packard, National University of Singapore, and the National Arts Council.
Yeo Kok Siew is a trained lawyer who has worked in the public and private sector, including media organisations. He has been involved in the local theatre scene, both as a performer and as a producer.
Benjamin Tay is the Executive Director of the People's Movement to Stop Haze, known as PM Haze, a non-profit organisation focusing on outreach, research and advocacy on the transboundary haze crisis. He first got involved in transboundary haze advocacy as he wanted to go beyond adaptation strategies and find solutions for haze and fire prevention.
Nirmala Rao is a British academic and the current vice chancellor of Asian University for Women, Bangladesh. She formerly served as Pro-Director of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. In the 2011 Queen's Birthday honours, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to scholarship.
Inderjit Singh Dhaliwal is the Founder and CEO of Solstar International, a Singapore-based consumer electronics products company. Mr Singh is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). A former Member of Parliament, he is a Co-President of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, a global organisation on entrepreneurship development.
Jolene Tan is the author of A Certain Exposure, which was selected by The Straits Times as one of the Best Books of 2014 and by The Business Times as one of the Best Books of 2014. Her book is also recommended by the National Library Board, Singapore and Ministry of Communications and Information.
José Medina works primarily in critical race theory, feminist and queer theory, political philosophy, communication theory and social epistemology. His books include The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imaginations (Oxford University Press; recipient of the 2013 North-American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award), and Speaking from Elsewhere (SUNY Press, 2006).His current projects focus on how social perception and the social imagination contribute to the formation of vulnerabilities to different kinds of violence and oppression.
Stephanie Chok served as Manager (Research/Advocacy) at Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, Singaporean non-governmental organisation that provides services to, and advocates on behalf of, migrant workers, until February 2019. She holds a PhD from Murdoch University, Western Australia. Her research focused on the precarious situation of low-paid migrant workers in Singapore—particularly male construction workers. She is currently an independent researcher working on issues related to migrant labour. Dr Chok also has a postgraduate diploma in Policy Studies and a Master’s degree in Development Studies.
Alfian Sa'at is a Resident Playwright with W!LD R!CE. In 2001, he won the National Arts Council Young Artist Award for Literature. He has been nominated 10 times and won four4 times for Best Original Script at the Life! Theatre Awards. Alfian He has also been awarded the Boh-Cameronian Award Best Book and Lyrics for The Secret Life of Nora and Best Original Script for Parah.
Melissa De Silva is the author of 'Others' is Not a Race, awarded the Singapore Literature Prize 2018. Her fiction work has been published in Best New Singaporean Short Stories Vol. 3, Singapore Quarterly Literary Review and LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction. Melissa Ms De Silva is Singapore's Education Ambassador for online creative writing platform Write the World.
Theophilus Kwek holds an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Oxford University, and is a researcher in public policy and migration issues. He has written about migration policy for IRIN, Open Migration, The Diplomat, South China Morning Post, and other platforms. Most recently, he helped to organise the Global Migrant Festival.
Prajval Shastri is an astrophysicist at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore and specialiszes in the area of phenomenology of active galaxies driven by supermassive blackholes using multi-wavelength observations ranging from radio to X-ray wavelengths.
Tomotaka Umemura is currently an Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Education in Hiroshima University. His research focuses on the transfer of attachment figures from infancy to adulthood, and cross-cultural differences in the nature of attached relationships.
Bilahari Kausikan is currently Chairman of the Middle East Institute, an autonomous institute of the National University of Singapore. Mr Kausikan was Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until May 2018. From 2001 to 2013, Mr Kausikan was the was the first second Permanent Secretary and then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. he was subsequently Ambassador-at-Large until May 2018. He had previously served in a variety of appointments in the Ministry, including as the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Secretary for Southeast Asia, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and as Ambassador to the Russian Federation.
Kenneth DeWwoskin is a former partner for China Strategy and Business Development at one of the Big FourDeloitte Services. The, founder of Deloitte's China Research and Insight Centre, he and now serves as a Senior Advisor and Eminence Fellow to Deloitte for China research and insight. Hhe concurrently serves as Senior Advisor to The Conference Board China Centre for Economics and Business. A former professor of International Business and chairman and professor of Asian Cultures at the University of Michigan, Dr DeWoskin has been involved with China for over 50 years and has lived and worked extensively in both China and Japan.
Stephen Murphy holds a PhD from the Department of History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London (2010). He recently co-curated Raffles in Southeast Asia Revisiting the Scholar and the Statesmen
Through writing, directing, performing, and designing, Irfan Kasban hopes to create intricate universes as a celebration of space and time. Mr Irfan is an Associate Artist with Teater Ekamatra, and The Theatre Practice. He is currently developing a work based on Sun Tzu's Art of War.
Ng Yi-Sheng is a Singaporean writer, researcher and activist. He often explores forgotten histories in works such as his play The Last Temptation of Stamford Raffles, his spoken word collection Loud Poems for a Very Obliging Audience, his short story collection Lion City, and his mobile lecture performance Painted Shadows.
Sharon Frese is a British Afro-Caribbean Theatre Practitioner. A resident in Singapore since 2009, Sharon has felt very privileged to have worked with several of the local theatre companies. If not creating works, Ms Frese could be found watching theatre or delighting in the rich culinary scene of Singapore.
Dr Azhar Ibrahim is a Lecturer and Deputy Head at the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore (NUS). He teaches Malay-Indonesian literature and ideologies of development at the Department. His research interest includes sociology of religion, sociology of literature and critical literacy, and the Malay-Indonesian intellectual development.
Nazry Bahrawi is a literary and cultural critic at Singapore University of Technology and Design. He specialises in the comparative study of Muslim texts, thoughts and traditions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and has published in these areas within, and outside, the academia. He is also the co-founder of the Bras Basah Open School for Theory and Philosophy, a collective for critical humanities in Singapore.
Suren Pillay is an Associate Professor at the DST-NRF Flagship in African Humanities, at the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town, South Africa. His current research focuses on the political and intellectual legacies of colonialism in the present. He leads three Mellon-funded research projects: ‘Migrating Violence’; ‘Citizenship and justice on rethinking political theory from the South’; and ‘Other Universals’, which involves setting up a consortium of scholars and graduate students in Africa, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, thinking about intellectual traditions, notions of difference, and emancipatory discourses.
Bianca Stringuini is the Senior Director, Inclusion & Community for the Asia Pacific VISA. Her portfolio includes leading the team responsible for implementing inclusion, diversity (I&D), community and social responsibility and strategy for the region. Ms Stringuini is also a certified facilitator in cultural awareness, change management and cultural transformation training and has been a speaker at multiple international conferences.
Eridhan Estria is the digital solutions expert of Mercer's regional Indirect Sales Marketing team for Asia, Middle East and Africa. Mr Estria is currently chairing the Singapore chapter of Marsh & McLennan Companies' Pride Business Resource Group and co-chairing InterEnergy Group - an informal network of like-minded individuals representing LGBT+ in the professional workplace.
Laurindo Garcia is a technologist and business strategist on a mission to create inclusive places. He has dedicated the last 10 years to research how to promote inclusion in five Asian markets using technology. Pink Dot Singapore, AWARE and the Disabled Persons Association are among the growing list of community partners who have signed onto Laurindo's vision. He is Asia's only Ashoka Fellow who is openly gay and HIV-positive.
Nicole Kwan taught “Doing Business in China” at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Stanford, and Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics. She has over 20 years of international banking experience in Asia, focusing on China, at Citicorp and Standard Chartered Bank. Ms Kwan holds degrees from Smith College (BA), Yale University (MA), and the University of Hong Kong (MJ), and has published on the Asia Financial Crisis in Hong Kong.
Shubigi Rao makes layered installations of books, etchings, drawings, pseudo-scientific machines, metaphysical puzzles, video, ideological board games, garbage and archives, and has been exhibited and collected in Singapore and internationally. Her interests include archaeology, neuroscience, libraries, archival systems, histories and lies, literature and violence, ecologies and natural history. The first instalment of the project 'Written in the Margins', won the Juror's Choice Award at the APB Signature Art Prize 2018. She was included in the 10th Taipei Biennial (2016), 3rd Pune Biennale (2017), and the 2nd Singapore Biennale (2008), as well as the upcoming Kochi Biennale (2018).
Akshita Nanda has been with The Straits Times since 2007, where she writes about arts, culture and lifestyle. Her first novel, Nimita's Place, was shortlisted for the 2017 Peigram Books Fiction Prize. She has been in the media and publishing industry since 2002, following a brief flirtation with cancer research.
Debra Lam is the co-founder of Society Staples, a social enterprise that creates a more inclusive future for Persons with Disabilities and has won the President's Challenge Social Enterprise Start-up of the Year in 2015. She is the youngest Singapore representative for the 2018 Young Societal Leaders Programme. She is currently pursuing her honours degree in Psychology and Sociology at the Singapore University of Social Sciences.
Dureen Shahnaz has received numerous awards for her work including the Oslo Business for Peace Award, the "Nobel Prize for Business," 2016 Asia Game Changer Award and 2015 Joseph Wharton Social Impact Award. Additionally, she currently serves on the advisory board for UNDP, United Nations ESCAP, G20 Steering Committee for Impact Investing, and was also an appointed member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council.
Originally from Somalia, and now residing in Melbourne, Imam Nur Warsame is Australia's first and only openly gay Imam. He has an incredible depth of knowledge of Islamic scripture, and is one of the few people who has memorised the entire Quran in Arabic. Imam Nur is able to use this knowledge to credibly challenge conservative interpretations of Islamic texts and is actively heling queer Muslim people to reconcile their faith and sexuality or gender through his queer Muslim support group, Marhaba Inc. The importance of this work cannot be overstated.
Pauline Ong is one of the executive pastors at Free Community Church, an affirming Christian congregation of diverse individuals in Singapore. She holds a Masters in Intercultural Studies from Singapore Bible College and a Master in Counselling from Monash University, Australia. She is passionate about the spiritual and emotional well-being of individuals and communities, and works towards helping every person know they are beloved.
Rachel Loh is a disability social worker and programme coordinator at SPD, formerly known as Society for the Physically Disabled, with a strong commitment to serving and advocating for persons with disabilities. Prior to serving the disability sector as a community social worker, Ms Loh accumulated four years of youth policy-making in the Ministry of Community, Culture and Youth. Her passion to serve vulnerable communities started back in school where Ms Loh actively volunteered in mentoring programmes with at-risk youth and vulnerable/abused children.
Rahul Daswani was a management consultant at McKinsey and now leads the Futures team on strategic resource allocation at the Singapore Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Mr Daswani’s career journey has taken him across multiple locations including Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and Ethiopia where he worked on various projects involving Education, Community Development and Climate Change. He has a BSE in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and a Master in Public Policy, Political and Economic Development from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Siddhanth Melwani writes for RICE Media, focusing on socio-political issues such as Dharmic (primarily Hindu and Buddhist) perspectives on LGBT rights and the religions' historically pluralistic interpretations of person in Singapore to have publicly pushed for LGBT rights in this area. While not writing, Mr Melwani invents consumer biotech with a primary focus on the prevention of skin cancer.
Jina Moore has been the East Africa Bureau Chief for The New York Times; she inaugurated Global Women’s Rights coverage for Buzzfeed News; and her work has also been published by The New Yorker; the Atlantic, Newsweek, Foreign Policy, the Christian Science Monitor, and in Best American Science Writing, as well as on public radio. She has reported from 30 countries around the world, more than half of them in Africa. In her words, her work is to create pieces that bridge the ubiquitous gap between Western readers and “others”. She also works hard to hold the powerful to account by telling stories about the people around us.
Alethia Tan is passionate about bringing surreal, immersive art experiences to life. Apart from developing the volunteer programme, Ms Tan also project manages and spearheads marketing. She is interested in cross-cultural understanding, tourism and pushing the boundary between art and technology.
Graham Priest is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center, as well as a regular visitor at the University of Melbourne where he was Boyce Gibson Professor of Philosophy and also at the University of St Andrews. He is known for his defence of dialetheism, his in-depth analyses of the logical paradoxes (holding the thesis that there is a uniform treatment for many well-known paradoxes, such as the semantic, set-theoretic and Liar paradoxes), and his many writings related to paraconsistent and other non-classical logics.
Jan Rüger is a Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London. His focus is on Britain and Germany in Europe and the world. He is the author of The Great Naval Game: Britain and Germany in the Age of Empire and joint editor of Rewriting German History.
Dr Sean Connelly is an artist, urban ecologist and architect. His research addresses the role of innovative design in recovering ahupua‘a, a traditional Hawaiian spatial configuration.
Dr Venka Purushothaman is the Academic Vice President and Provost of LASALLE College of the Arts. He is an academic, award-winning art writer and arts & cultural leader with a distinguished career in arts higher education and the cultural and creative industries.
Dr Bodo Wilts is an Ambizione Fellow at the Adolphe Merkle Institute. His research is on Computational Physics and Optics.
Eirliani Abdul Rahman is an Executive Director of YAKIN (Youth, Adult survivors & Kin In Need), a not-for-profit she co-founded with Associate Professor Daniel Fung, to help child victims and adult survivors of child sexual abuse. She was featured in the book Majulah! 50 Years of the Malay/Muslim Community in Singapore published in 2016. Twitter named her one of the 21 influencers in Singapore.
Kristie Dotson is a Professor of Epistemology at Michigan State University. She specialises in Black feminism, feminist epistemology and the critical philosophy of race.
Dr Nicole CuUnjieng Aboitiz is a Fellow at Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. She is broadly interested in the intellectual and transnational history of Southeast Asia.
Antonio H Castro Neto is the Director of the Graphene Research Centre and Distinguished Professor at the National University of Singapore. His research interests lie in graphene, strongly correlated systems and disordered magnetic systems.
Audrey Chia is Associate Professor of Management & Organisation at the NUS Business School and holds a joint appointment at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. Using leadership and change as theoretical foundations, she studies how social and health problems can be addressed by social entrepreneurship and innovative philanthropy. She is interested in multi-sector collaborations that address social and health challenges and her health-related research includes studies on improving health at work and evaluation of public-private collaboration for integrated care.
Simone Marchesi is an Associate Professor of French and Italian at Princeton University. His main research area is the dialogue with classical and late-antique texts engaged by medieval Italian writers, especially Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio.
Ilaria Marchesi is a Professor of Comparative Literature, Languages, and Linguistics and Director of the Classics Programme at Hofstra University. She is trained in both Greek and Latin philology, but her research interests focus on the Latin literature of the early empire.
Professor of Medicine Frederick Altice is a clinical epidemiologist and intervention researcher at Yale University School of Medicine. Prof Altice’s primary research examines the relationship between infectious diseases and substance use disorders. His work has also focused on the criminal justice system, examining linkages between the community and correctional settings.
Kirsten Chen’s latest novel, Bury What We Cannot Take has been named a Most Anticipated Upcoming Book by Electric Literature, The Millions, The Rumpus, Harper’s Bazaar, and Instyle among others. She was the fall 2017 NTU-NAC National Writer in Residence in Singapore, and has received awards from the Steinbeck Fellows Program, Sewanee, Hedgebrook, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.
Dr Richard Wilk is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington, where he founded the Indiana University Food Institute. Trained as an economic and ecological anthropologist, his research has covered many aspects of global consumer culture. Much of his recent work has turned towards the global history of food and sustainable consumption.
Kathleen Wilson is a Distinguished Professor of History at Stony Brook University. Her scholarship addresses issues of identity and difference in 18th century Britain and its empire.
Maria Clara Dominguez has served as the Director of the Fundación Zoologica de Cali since 1987, overseeing the administration of the Municipal Zoo in Cali, Colombia.
Stephen Jenkins is Professor of Religious Studies at Humboldt State University. His research has been primarily focused on Indian Buddhist concepts of compassion, their philosophical grounding, and their ethical implications.
Kay Vasey is the founder and Chief Connecting Officer of MeshMinds, an impact investor in creative technology for good. Prior to that, Ms Vasey was an international technology lawyer focused on content licensing. As Head of Arts at The British Council, she spearheaded ground-breaking artist-in-residence programmes between Singapore and the UK and took the lead on the Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore International Foundation.
Mr S Iswaran is currently Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, focusing on strengthening the InfoComm, Media and Design sectors and accelerating digital transformation across the economy. He is concurrently Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry where he oversees bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations.
Richard Bell is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He is the recipient of fellowships at Cambridge University, the American Antiquarian Society, The Huntington Library, Yale University and the Library of Congress.
Aljosie Aldrich Harding, a social justice activist, is a “citizen of a country that does not yet exist.” Committed to nurturing young activists, she engages in intergenerational dialogues and non-violent social change action, sharing experiences, wisdom and insights from six decades of life and work in justice and peace movements in the US and abroad. Ms Harding directs the Women of the Institute of the Black World Oral History Project, a joint venture with Vanderbilt University, and continues the research, writing and mentoring she shared with her co-worker, partner and late husband, Dr Vincent Harding.
Dr Kristina Wirtz is a linguistic and cultural anthropologist in the Department of Spanish at Western Michigan University. She studies popular religion, race and performance in eastern Cuba and linguistic diversity, identity and inequality in the US.
Yujoo Han is a South Korean writer. Her debut novel, The Impossible Fairytale, translated into English and French from Korean, is her fourth work after three previously published collections of short stories.
Boey Kim Cheng is the author of five books of poetry, a travel memoir entitled Between Stations, and most recently, a historical novel about the Tang Dynasty poet Du Fu entitled Gull Between Heaven and Earth. He teaches creative writing at Nanyang Technological University.
Samir Chaibi is an early-stage venture capital investor at GREE Ventures, a US $120 million pan-Asia fund headquartered in Tokyo and investing in Japan, India and Southeast Asia. He joined GREE Ventures in 2017 and currently heads the fund's investments in Indonesia while also covering the larger Southeast Asia region.
Tan Cheng Bock is a Singaporean politician and medical practitioner. He was formerly a member of Singapore's governing People's Action Party and a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 2006.
William Rando is Associate Dean and Director of the Chicago Center for Teaching at the University of Chicago. Rando started his professional career teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences at Northeastern University in Boston. For the past 30 years, he has taught undergraduate courses, developed centres for teaching and learning, and served in leadership positions in higher education and in organisations that advance teaching.
Suchen Christine Lim is a Singapore author of novels and short stories. Her most recent novel, The River’s Song, was launched during the Singapore Writers’ Fest 2013. It was featured in Kirkus Reviews as one of “The Best Books of 2015”.
Vijay Desai founded Desai Management Consulting, a Vermont, US-based professional services business serving customers in all industry sectors throughout North America. He is currently serving as its Principal Consultant and Managing Partner, and is also on the Board of Directors for Technology for Tomorrow, a non-profit organisation providing affordable technology education to under-served communities.
Eli Friedman is an Associate Professor in the Department of International and Comparative Labor at the ILR School, Cornell University. His primary areas of interest are China, development, education, social movements, urbanisation, and work and labour. Dr Friedman currently has two major research projects, the first of which looks at state responses to worker unrest in China and the development of labour relations institutions. The second project is a study of Chinese urbanisation, with a particular focus on access to education for rural to urban migrants.
Zhuang Wubin is a writer, curator and artist who focuses on the photographic practices in Southeast Asia.
Joan Liu is an advisor in the International College Counselling Office at the United World College of South East Asia, East Campus in Singapore. In 2018, Ms Liu led a pro bono global effort to support 60 Nepalese students whose scholarships had been cancelled by a US university, and was able to place more than 50 of them at new universities. She also launched a cohort scholarship program for high impact counsellors working with high achieving, low-income international students from under-represented regions. This programme received “Rising Star” recognition at the National Association of College Admission Counselling. She spoke about how her career in education enables educators around the world to support high achieving, low-income international students in their journey to access international higher education.
Debananda Misra is a doctoral student and teaching fellow at University College London’s Institute of Education. His thesis focuses on regional engagement as a means for higher educational institutions to work with regional stakeholders (e.g. industry bodies, government agencies, development organisations) for their own development in India. He explored whether the future of new universities can be explored.
Weihsin Gui is Associate Professor of English at University of California, Riverside. He works on global anglophone literatures and contemporary British literature, postcolonial theory, cultural theories of nationalism, diaspora, and globalisation, and theories of aesthetics and form. He is the author of National Consciousness and Literary Cosmopolitics: Postcolonial Literature in a Global Moment. His talk was titled “Braiding Stories In The Graphic Novels of Sonny Liew & Koh Hong Teng”.
Sheila Wee has been a professional storyteller for 19 years and has been described as a godmother of Singapore storytelling. She co-founded Singapore’s first storytelling circle and its first professional storytelling company and has taught, or mentored most of the professional storytellers now active in Singapore. Ms Wee is a founding Professional Member and Committee Member, a three-term President, three-term Vice-President and the current Workshop Chair of the Storytelling Association (Singapore). She taught a workshop on how to use personal stories to create an impact.
Chua Jun Yan graduated from Yale University summa cum laude with exceptional distinction in his major, History. Mr Chua has received the Hubbard Curtis Prize for Excellence in English, a Ten Eyck prize for public speaking, and an invitation by Sterling Memorial Library to curate the exhibit, “Sociologist with a Conscience: Raymond Kennedy and the Making of the Global United States.” The year, he received the Alpheus Henry Snow Prize, awarded to the senior who “through the combination of intellectual achievement, character and personality, shall be adjudged by the faculty to have done the most for Yale by inspiring in his or her classmates an admiration and love for the best traditions of high scholarship.” He was the guest speaker at the Saga College Rector’s Tea.
Lorcan Dempsey coordinates strategic planning and oversees Research, Membership and Community Relations at Online Computer Library Center (OCLC). He has worked for library and educational organisations in Ireland, the UK and the US. His influence on national policy and library directions is widely recognised. Mr Dempsey began his career in public libraries in his native Dublin, Ireland. Before moving to OCLC, he managed the UK higher education national investment in information services for Jisc. He is a member of the Cambridge University Library Visiting Committee. Mr Dempsey, has a BA and MLIS from University College Dublin. He discussed three environmental trends emerging in the network environment: changing learning behaviours; reconfiguration of the network information environment; and the greatly expanded scope of library collections.
Balli Kaur Jaswal's fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the UK Sunday Express, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar and Best Australian Short Stories. She was the recipient of the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist Award for her debut novel Inheritance. She has been a writer-in-residence at the University of East Anglia and Nanyang Technological University. Her internationally acclaimed novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, was a Reese Witherspoon's Book Club pick, with film rights acquired by director Ridley Scott.
Pooja Nansi is Singapore's first Youth Poet Ambassador. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Stiletto Scars and Love is An Empty Barstool. Her one woman show You Are Here, which explores a family history of migration, was first showcased as part of the Esplanade's Studio series in 2016 and has since toured to Australia for the Queensland Poetry Festival. She was a recipient of the Young Artist Award in 2016 and her latest work Thick Beats for Good Girls in conjunction with Checkpoint Theatre in April 2018 explored the intersections between feminism, hip hop and race.
The authors read from their recent work.
A Foreign Service Officer for the last 20 years, Susan Shultz previously served in Turkey, Kenya, India, Slovenia, Australia, and Washington, D.C. – building connections and understanding between the U.S. and the countries she has called home. Her experience ranges from being tagged the ‘earthquake officer’ for the coordination of relief, visits, and follow-on programmes after Turkey’s disastrous earthquakes, to her HIV-AIDS work in Kenya, and oversight of public affairs programming in Melbourne, Ljubljana and Kolkata. Ms Shultz is originally from the Chicago area and attended Stanford University. She was the guest speaker at the Saga College Rector’s Tea.
Jonathan Marshall is a psychotherapist, executive coach and leadership trainer. He’s held faculty positions at the National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University. He’s currently a coach and supervisor at INSEAD and a lecturer of leadership studies at Yale-NUS College. A third-generation Singaporean, Mr Marshall received his BA and PhD at Stanford University and did his postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Business School. He spoke about leadership fundamentals and leadership camp.
Andrea Clearfield is an award-winning composer of music for orchestra, chorus, chamber ensemble, dance and multimedia collaborations. She creates deep, emotive musical languages that build cultural and artistic bridges. Her works are performed widely in the United States and internationally. Among her 150 works are ten cantatas, including one commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra. She is a recipient of a 2016 Pew Fellowship and a 2017 Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts.
Arthur Kleinman has directed Harvard’s Asia Center for a decade. His research interests include public health in Asia, caretaking policy, and mental health and psychiatry. He spoke about global mental health and ageing in Asia, particularly the challenges faced by families, communities, professionals, and institutions as Asia sees significant changes in demographics and cultural values.
In her role as editor-in-chief, Gianna Mosser acquires works in critical ethnic studies, gender studies, comparative literature, theater and performance, and early modern literature. She is a member of the Association of American University Presses, where she previously served as the chair of the professional development committee. She shared industry insights and talked about her career journey.
Dr Elissa Epel’s research aims to elucidate mechanisms of healthy aging, and to apply this basic science to scalable interventions that can reach vulnerable populations. Dr Becca Levy's research explores psychosocial factors that influence older individuals’ cognitive and physical functioning, as well as their longevity. They spoke about their research on healthy ageing.
Pritam Singh was elected to Parliament in 2011, representing the Group Representative Constituency of Aljunied. He graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2000 with a degree in History. He was called to the Bar in 2012 after graduating with a Juris Doctor post-graduate degree from Singapore Management University. He spoke about the role legislation can play in countries around the world to combat deliberate online falsehoods, or “fake news.” This talk was part of the President’s Office In Conversation speaker series.
Edwin Ng's scholarly and media writings address the colonial legacy of contemporary Buddhism and the ethics and politics of mindfulness. Mushim Patricia Ikeda is the recipient of a Global Diversity Leadership Award from the HRD Congress in Mumbai, India. They spoke about how to cultivate radical self-care using practices of critical inquiry, contemplative exercises and social justice engagements. This talk took place during the Dean of Student Office’s Diversity Week.
David Carlin is a Professor at RMIT University, Australia and co-President of the NonfictionNOW Conference. Noelle Q De Jesus is a Filipino American writer who won the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award for the Short Story. Peter Parsons is a documentary filmmaker and short story writer. Nuraliah Norasid is the winner of the 2016 Epigram Books Fiction Prize. They read from their work and led workshops for students as part of Dean of Student Office's Diversity Week.
Andrew Wong is an international markets advisor to the Bank of England and the Singapore government. Mr Wong spoke about the importance of the humanities and interdisciplinary thinking in international macroeconomics and finance.
Chan Lishan is a mental health advocate who believes in changing the world through the power of stories. Her book, A Philosopher’s Madness (Ethos Books) generated 49 speaking engagements and 22 media engagements, promoting dialogue and discussion about mental health in society. This talk took place on Disability Day during the Dean of Student Office's Diversity Week.
Darren Ho has been working with start-ups for 17 years. He started and sold four start-ups and experienced failure with another two, in addition to pioneering Video on Demand and live streaming services for amateur sports in Singapore. He advocates a positive message of inclusion through his Inclusion Runs for invisible disability and also participates in ultra-endurance races. Mr Ho is a board member of the Disabled People’s Association in Singapore. This talk took place during the Dean of Student Office’s Disability Day during Diversity Week.
Dawn-Joy Leong is an autistic artist-researcher who presents autism as a parallel embodiment, and investigates mind-body-elemental empathic connections through immersive multi-art installations of music, video, photography, storytelling, poetry, visual art and performance. Ms Leong is a board member of the Disabled People’s Association in Singapore. This talk took place on the Dean of Student Office’s Disability Day during Diversity Week.
Fred Cordeiro is the Executive Director of Clarity Singapore Limited, a charity that serves persons with mental health issues. After a first career in banking and finance, Mr Cordeiro obtained his Master in Guidance and Counselling and BSc (Hons) Psychology to begin a second career in social service and academia. Mr Cordeiro spoke about the intersection of religion and mental health as part of Disability Day during the Dean of Student Office's Diversity Week.
Marissa Lee Medjeral-Mills is the Executive Director of Disabled People’s Association in Singapore. With her background in public policy studies, she is focused on making sure that disability policy is based on the social model of disability, in consultation with persons with disabilities. She spoke about creating inclusive environments for invisible disability in Singapore. This talk took place on Disability Day during the Dean of Student Office's Diversity Week.
Radiah Salim is the Founder and President of Club HEAL, a non-profit organisation committed to helping people with mental health issues. Her past experience as a resident medical officer at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) in Singapore and her personal experience as a caregiver inspired her to form Club HEAL. Yohanna Abdullah is a writer and editor at Club HEAL, as well as a mental health advocate. She has written four books, which have all been translated into Malay, and one into Mandarin. This talk took place during the Dean of Student Office’s Disability Day during Diversity Week.
Singapore’s first Nobel Peace Prize photographer Sim Chi Yin travelled 6,000 kilometres along the China-North Korea border and through six states in United States, to create a series of pictures reflecting on humans’ experience with nuclear weapons. Ms Sim spoke on this work, and explored how art can offer ways to grapple with issues of international politics. She also discussed some of her earlier works, and her evolution as a story-teller.
Alison Young has researched graffiti and street art for many years, and her ongoing research engages with the ways in which we live in and govern city spaces. She reflected on her journey from law student, to criminologist, to world-renowned street art expert.
Linda Lim has taught at the Stephen M Ross School of Business for over 20 years. She also served as Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies. Dr Lim spoke about the roles and linkages between academic freedom, innovation and racial, gender and national identity in Singapore, and elsewhere in Asia. This event is part of the Dean of Faculty office’s ‘Singapore in Focus’ lecture series.
Thomas Kessler is Head for Southeast Asia at Swiss Re, responsible for implementing innovative insurance solutions with the public sector. Mr Kessler serves as Principle Finance Specialist at the Asian Development Bank since April 2018, integrating Risk Transfer mechanisms into comprehensive Disaster Finance, Infrastructure Project Finance and Developing Market Finance solutions. He spoke about poverty and the impact of climate change in Asian developing countries.
Lai Ah Eng’s recent appointments include senior research fellow at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore (NUS); the Institute of Policy Studies, NUS; and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Dr Lai reflected on multiculturalism in Singapore through sharing of common spaces in everyday life, racism and structural inequalities, and immigration, integration and citizenship status. This event is part of the Dean of Faculty office’s ‘Singapore in Focus’ lecture series.
Lysley Tenorio is the author of the story collection Monstress, which won the 2015 Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a Professor of English at Saint Mary's College of California. Dr Darryl Whetter is the inaugural programme leader of the first Creative Writing MA in Singapore and Southeast Asia (at LASALLE College of the Arts). He is the author of three books of fiction and two poetry collections.
Peter Kuznick is the author of Beyond the Laboratory: Scientists as Political Activists in 1930s America (University of Chicago Press) and co-author of two books about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He received his PhD from Rutgers University in 1984. He was active in the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements and remains active in antiwar and nuclear abolition efforts. In 1995, he founded American University’s Nuclear Studies Institute. He spoke about the fall of American influence internationally.
Manu Bhaskaran has more than 30 years of expertise in economic and political risk assessment and forecasting in Asia. Mr Bhaskaran spoke about the viability of Singapore’s economic model in an era of disruption and dislocation. This event is part of the Dean of Faculty office’s ‘Singapore in Focus’ lecture series.
O Thiam Chin is the author of five collections of short fiction and two novels. His debut novel, Now That It’s Over, won the inaugural Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2015 and the Best Fiction title at the 2017 Singapore Book Awards. Ko Ko Thett is a poet, poetry editor, translator, and anthologist of contemporary Burmese poetry. His most recent book in English is The Burden of Being Burmese, published by Zephyr in 2015.
Nicole Kwan teaches “Doing Business in China” at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and taught previously at Stanford and Beijing’s University of International Business and Economics. She has over 20 years of international banking experience in Asia, focusing on China. She spoke about China’s development model and its ever-expanding impact on international business.
Roland Fletcher is a world-renowned archaeologist, famous for his Greater Angkor Project in the late 1990s, which analysed the limits of low density urbanism to uncover the complex rural-urban system of Angkor between the 7th and the 16th centuries. He reflected on his professional journey in the field of archaeology.
Jonathan Hung and Lynette Tan shared about their career journeys and why the space industry is looking for liberal arts majors. Jonathan Hung is also a Director of Business Development, Global Operations & Head of the Advanced Incubation Centre at Singapore Space and Technology Association.
Helga Nowotny is currently the Chair of the ERA Council Forum Austria and Visiting Professor at Nanyang Technological University. She spoke about the importance of science and research in a post-factual world, referencing ‘fake news’ and wide-spread distrust in news establishments as key factors in a contemporary attack on science and research.
Martyn See is a freelance editor and filmmaker. His editing credits include movies by Eric Khoo and Jack Neo. He shared the proposed amendments of the Film Act and how it would keep up in the digital age.
Florian Cornu is the founder and CEO of Future Flow, a Singapore-based company which guides entrepreneurs along their growth journey. It provides business modelling, financial projections, unit economics coaching, executive dashboards and board management. In Southeast Asia for 7 years, Florian Cornu started, raised funds, and exited his own company. He led a workshop on how to properly structure a spreadsheet in order to save time and energy, achieve goals faster, and obtain better insights to be ready to make strategic decisions.
Janet Neo leads the acceleration of sustainability integration into the core business and builds a culture of corporate social responsibility at Fuji Xerox offices in Asia Pacific. She shared about the various initiatives Fuji Xerox is involved with, internship opportunities available with her team, and her personal career journey.
Press: 100 Love Letters is an anthology, published by the University of the Philippines Press, of cross-genre, LGBTQ-themed correspondence from women to women across the Asia-Pacific region. Several contributors read from their works. The event was hosted by the co-editor of Press: 100 Love Letters and Writers’ Centre lecturer Laurel Flores Fantauzzo.
Lee Cuba spoke about his book Practice for Life: Making Decisions in College. His book is about how students can make the most out of their liberal arts education, based on tracking students for five years at some of the most selective liberal arts institutions in the United States.
Victor Kattan moved to Singapore from Jerusalem, where he had been working as a legal advisor to the Government of Palestine in Ramallal on secondment from the United Nations Development Program in Jerusalem. He was announced the winner of the inaugural Asian Society of International Law Young Scholar Prize in 2017. He spoke about United States President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and analysed these recent events in the context of regional developments.
Yii Kah Hoe is a Malaysian composer and improviser. The winner of the 11th COH Cameronian Arts Awards in Malaysia in 2014, he has been recognised as one of the major voices among Southeast Asian composters of his generation. He spoke about art and environmental advocacy.
Kristen Radtke is the author of the graphic nonfiction book Imagine Wanting Only This, which was named a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and named a best book of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Booklist, Kurkus Reviews, Forbes, Buzzfeed, and many other places. Scott Lee Chua is a Yale-NUS undergraduate, majoring in Economics. He received the Nick Joaquin Literary Award for short fiction in 2017 and the Palanca Kabataan essay award in 2011. He is the co-creator of Doorkeeper, a new graphic novel published by Summit Books in 2017.
Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee are award-winning educators, authors, and facilitators. Mr Kyle Ashlee has served as Director of Orientation at Franklin University in Switzerland and the Interim Director of the Center for Gender and Student Engagement at Dartmouth College. Mrs Aeriel Ashlee has served as Assistant Dean/Advisor to Asian Students at Dartmouth College and as Program Coordinator in the Center for Multicultural Equity & Access at Georgetown University. Together, they co-founded Ashlee Consulting in 2014 with the vision of foregrounding story-sharing and self-work in social justice journeying. In recognition of their work, Kyle and Aeriel Ashlee received the 2016 ACPA Coalition for Social Justice Educators Outstanding Educator, Mentor, and Trainer Award.
Professor Chan Heng Chee is a distinguished academic who has held many key diplomatic positions for Singapore, and published widely on sociopolitical issues in Singapore and Southeast Asia. She served as Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States from 1996-2012, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1989-1991, and was concurrently High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico. She is a member of the Yale-NUS Governing Board. The talk was held as part of the Dean of Faculty Talk Series titled, “Singapore in Focus”.
In international politics, much of the focus is on the US, China, and the European Union. However, corporations, states and academics are looking increasingly towards emerging economies as the growth engine of the future. Ms Elms and Mr Khuong discussed how these emerging economies are important as future leaders of the global economic system. The talk was organised by Yale-NUS student organisation, Global Emerging Markets Association (GEM).
The Writers’ Centre hosted a symposium titled, “A Community of Writers: Collaborations across the Liberal Arts”, which brought writers, scholars and educators together from across the globe to discuss the teaching and learning of writing at the undergraduate level. There were 11 visiting speakers: Dr Sharon Solwitz, Ms Maggie Tiojakin, Ms Susannah Thornhill, Mr Deepak Unnikrishnan, Dr Marion Wrenn, Dr Mark Brantner, Dr Piia Mustamaki, Dr Ken Nielson, Dr Leung Wing Sze Evelyn, and Dr Carol Brandt.
Nelson Cunningham is President and Co-founder of McLarty Associates, a Washington-based firm that has defined the field of private sector diplomacy. It operates at the nexus of business and policy and helps clients understand the complexities of international markets and navigate the strategic and operational challenges they face around the globe. He shared his career history leading up to starting the firm and also provided insights into the current US Administration’s development of trade and security policy in North America and East Asia.
Professor Murali Chandrashekaran is a visionary systems thinker, playing a leadership role in several important global initiatives such as 100 Resilient Cities (Rockefeller Foundation), Collaboration on Urban Resilience and Effectiveness, and the Global Network for Advanced Management. He brings together multi-sector engagements in business, economic development, education, public health, transportation, energy, water management, and more. His talk was held as part of the Global Health Speaker Series 2017.
Deborah Shamoon teaches modules on modern Japanese literature and popular culture. Her research specialty is shōjo manga (comics for girls), anime and film. Her publications include Passionate Friendship: The Aesthetics of Girls’ Culture in Japan (University of Hawaii, 2012) and Teaching Japanese Popular Culture (co-edited with Chris McMorran, Association for Asian Studies, 2016). Assoc Prof Shamoon spoke about her experiences researching and teaching Japanese popular culture, particularly manga and anime.
Min Ye Paing Hein presented the emerging and evolving institutional landscape of economic reform in Myanmar, and discussed its pinnacles and pitfalls by identifying major differences in ideologies, incentives, resources and strategies of institutional actors in the reform process. He aimed to formulate an analytical characterisation of Myanmar’s state in its transition to the democratic form of governance.
Antonio Fatás is a Professor of Economics at INSEAD. He received his PhD in Economics from Harvard University. He is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Economic and Policy Research in London and has worked as an external consultant for international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund, the OECD and the World Bank. He spoke about the permanent effects of fiscal consolidations.
Since June 2016, Creighton Connolly has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Asian Urbanisms Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Previously, he completed his PhD in May 2016 in Human Geography at the School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester. His approach to research is interdisciplinary and participatory in nature, with interests in the areas of urban political ecology, urban/cultural geography, urban studies and planning, with a regional focus on Southeast Asia (Malaysia and Singapore). He spoke about re-imagining urban-environmental governance in Penang, Malaysia.
Dr Janil Puthucheary was elected Member of Parliament in 2011. His portfolio includes education for children with disabilities and special needs. He is concurrently the Minister-in-Charge of the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and a member of the Ministerial Committee overseeing the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG). Dr Puthucheary chairs OnePeople.sg, which works to promote racial harmony in Singapore; and the Young PAP, the youth wing of the People’s Action Party. Prior to entering politics, he worked as a Senior Consultant at the Children’s Intensive Care Unit, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and as an Associate Professor at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School.
Peter Leonard received his B.A. in art history from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. in Scandinavian literature from the University of Washington. He came to Yale in 2013 as the first Librarian for Digital Humanities Research. Before coming to Yale, Lindsay King worked in the Art Collection at Northwestern University Library and in museum education at the Art Institute of Chicago. With Peter Leonard, she has been a partner on the Robots Reading Vogue project that brings data-mining techniques to the ProQuest Vogue Archive, and the Ensemble@Yale project that crowdsources transcription of Yale theater history archives.
Ms Kwek is a political scientist and economist by training, having graduated with honours from the University of Chicago in 2005. In 2009, she joined the Strategic Policy Office (then at the Public Service Division), where she became one of the founding members of the Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF). During the early years of the CSF, Jeanette was involved in growing futures capabilities across the public service and organising and curating the first in an ongoing series of Foresight Conferences (now an integral part of Singapore’s Foresight Week). She discussed the evolution of Singapore’s journey in strategic foresight and the key challenges the country faces over the next two decades.
After graduating from Northwestern University, with a major in anthropology and minor in biology, Kuni Schmertzler received a Masters in City Planning from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and a Juris Doctor from Boston University Law School. She recently finished her term on the board as chair of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition (GYC), an advocacy environmental group protecting the Yellowstone ecosystem's 20+ million acres.
Michael Schmertzler has been teaching at Yale for the past 20 years in the Economics Department and School of Management. For the past 30 years, he also been a professional private equity investor serving as President of Morgan Stanley's Leveraged Capital Funds and Co-Head of Credit Suisse’s North American private equity funds.
Arts Connect is an arts-specific industry awareness and networking event aimed at inspiring and educating keen undergraduates to pursue a career in the Arts sector as practitioners, interns or volunteers. The keynote speaker was Artistic Director of SIFA 2018 and Director of Singapore Repertory Theatre, Gaurav Kripalani. The panelists were Chng Hak Peng, CEO of Singapore Symphony Orchestra; Emi Eu from STPI Creative Workshop & Gallery; and K Rajagopal, award-winning filmmaker. The event was organised by NUS Centre for the Arts, NUS Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, Centre for Future-Ready Graduates, and Yale-NUS College.
Jason Wee is an artist and a writer working between contemporary art, architecture, poetry and photography. He founded and runs Grey Projects, an art space, library and residency in Tiong Bahru. He was a 2014-2015 Writer-in-Residence at the National University of Singapore, and a 2015-2016 Artist-in-Residence at NTU-Centre for Contemporary Art. Jen Percy is a National Magazine Award Winning journalist and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. She is the author of the nonfiction book Demon Camp, a New York Times Notable Book and a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick. She has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships and received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as well as the Nonfiction Writing Program at Iowa.
Professor Warner’s research interests include Chinese literature and literary thought from Han dynasty through the early Song, early and medieval Chinese intellectual history, and the study of textual production and text culture in pre-modern China. In her lecture, Professor Warner turned to muzhiming 墓誌銘 unearthed from Tang tombs in order to consider how these texts offer scholars of medieval China new insights, new challenges, and an invitation, if not obligation, to re-assess the field’s prevailing understanding of muzhiming’s function in Tang commemorative culture.
After 15 years of experience and a successful career in international finance, Mr Garg put aside his career in money management and resigned from one of Asia’s most successful hedge funds to start a business with a mission to make the world a better place. He spoke about his journey from 100-hour weeks as a junior investment banking analyst in New York to doing deals around the world and managing a hedge fund in Singapore. Mr Garg has hired three Yale-NUS students as interns this semester (AY2017/2018) and is focused on building abillionVeg, a company he started in Singapore that’s building a global platform for plant-based commerce.
Dr Nicolas Revire has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University (Bangkok, Thailand) since 2003. He has completed a doctoral degree at the Université Paris 3-Sorbonne nouvelle in France. He specialises in the Buddhist art and archaeology of South and Southeast Asia with a research focus on pre-modern Thailand. He is the general editor of a collective volume titled Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology (Bangkok, 2014). He spoke about the myth of Suvanabhūmi and the advent of Buddhism in mainland Southeast Asia.
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’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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including EPA National Honor Gold Medal.
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. 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.
Viswa Sadasivan is the CEO of Strategic Moves, a corporate strategy and crisis communication consulting practice interested in policy issues. Mr Sadasivan was also a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) in the Parliament of Singapore from 2009 to 2011. He holds a degree in political science at the National University of Singapore and received an Singapore Broadcasting Corporation scholarship to study at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he completed a Master of Public Administration degree. He spoke about the challenges of managing success as part of a new informal dialogue series, called In Conversation, that is organised by the Office of the President. Prominent leaders are invited to discuss issues ranging on public and foreign policies, education and the environment.
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.
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.
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’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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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 A. Foster is Professor of History at DePaul University in Chicago, USA. His teaching and research focuses on sexuality.
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 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 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 , 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Andrew Oros is a specialist on the international and comparative politics of East Asia. He discussed his forthcoming book, Japan’s Security Renaissance and Japan’s evolving foreign and security policy in the Asia-Pacific during his visit.
Nicole Walker is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at Northern Arizona University. She read one of her essays about the environment and global warming, and held a non-fiction writing workshop.
Vijay Seshadri is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist and literary critic. During his visit, he read a selection of his poetry and held a poetry writing workshop.
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based Singaporean writer. During her visit, she read from her newly published book Sarong Party Girls and then took questions about her writing, writing in Singlish, and the book.
Dr Divya Victor is a writer and Assistant Professor of English at Nanyang Technological University. During her visit, she read a selection of her poetry and share her thoughts about writing and the writing process.
Gish Jen is a contemporary American writer and award-winning author of Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and Interdependence. During her visit, she read from her book World and Town and shared her views about writing.
Achal Agarwal is the President of Kimberly-Clark’s Asia Pacific consumer business in Australia, North Asia, ASEAN and India. He spoke about his experience leading large, complex business turnarounds in multi-cultural environments, while building a legacy of empowered leaders.
Tan Twan Eng—Malaysian novelist and Writer in Residence at Nanyang Technological University—read from his most recent book The Garden of Evening Mists and helmed a discussion about his writing.
Dr Beh Swan Gin is the Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). During his visit, he spoke about some of the economic challenges faced by Singapore in recent years and the strategies the government is putting into place to reposition itself for success.
Susan Sim is Vice President of The Soufan Group, an organisation that provides strategic security intelligence services to governments and multinational organisations around the world. She spoke about her journey arriving at this career path.
Professor Madawi Al-Rasheed is a visiting research professor at the Middle East Institute (MEI) of the National University of Singapore. Her research focuses on history, politics and society in Saudi Arabia. During her discussion, she spoke about how the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran has destabilised the Arab region, and about the impact of subsequent Saudi interventions at the domestic, regional, and global levels.
Edmund Wee—current publisher at Epigram Books—spoke about publishing in Singapore, and what he envisions could be ‘The Great Singaporean Novel’.
Saw Eh Kalu Shwe Oo is a part of the Karen National Union, an organisation that hopes to provide multi-sector community development through health, education, livelihood, social enterprises and governance. During his visit, he spoke about conflict and post conflict community development along the Thai-Burma border.
Dr Sinja Graf is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies at the National University of Singapore. Her scholarship tackles how political arguments rely on legal concepts, such as human rights and crimes against humanity, to debate the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the use of violence in international politics. During her visit, Dr. Graf spoke about her research on terrorism and the terms under which we can assess the legitimacy of political violence in international relations.
Barbara Andaya serves as both a Professor and Chair of the Asian Studies Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Leonard Andaya serves as a Professor of Southeast Asian Studies in the University of Hawaii at Manao. During their joint visit, they discussed Eastern Indonesia in the Early Modern Period as well as Religious Interactions in South East Asia from 1500-1900.
Michael Quah is a professor in the Chemistry and Biomolecular Engineering Department of the National University of Singapore. During his visit, he examined the diversity of opinions elicited by Pope Francis's Laudato si' encyclical.
Judith Harackiewicz is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on studying motivation and interest, through experimental and longitudinal studies focused on goals, competition, and value transmission in academic contexts. During her visit, she spoke about optimal motivation in education.
William Wan is the General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, NGO, NPO, registered charity that encourages everyone to start, show, and share kindness. Dr Wan's goal is to help create a culture in which people choose positivity and to create positive social change wherever they go.
Daniel Wasik is the University Programs Leader of the APAC region at Google, where he leads a team of recruiters in attracting talent to the organisation. Mr. Wasik spoke about his career journey and life at Google.
Susan Greenfield is a research scientist, author and broadcaster based in Oxford. Her research focuses on exploring novel brain mechanisms linked toneurodegenerative diseasessuch as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. She is also a co-founder and CEO at Neuro-Bio Ltd, a biotech company focused on developing a novel approach to neurodegenerative disorders.
Andy Bird is the Chairman of Walt Disney International, where he develops Disney’s businesses outside of the United States. He spoke about his work on increasing local production and reorganising international structures at the Walt Disney Company.
Anne Lochoff is the Executive Director at McCann Erickson and Chair of the New Zealand Trade Enterprise Southeast Asia Advisors Network. During her visit, she spoke about branding, strategic marketing, digital marketing and developing communication skills.
Sally Silverstone was the Co-Captain of the eight-person crew that lived inside Biosphere 2 ‚ a completely sealed structure containing seven of the world's ecological biomes - for two years. During her visit, she described life inside the Biosphere as well as how the work of the Biosphere Foundation has taken many of the lessons learned in Biosphere 2 and applied them to research and conservation work in Biosphere 1 (Planet Earth).
Gerard Ee is the Executive Director of Beyond Social Services, an organisation that aims to improve the lives of families and individuals from disadvantaged, low-income backgrounds. During his visit, he aimed to provide a realistic picture of the lives of people experiencing poverty in Singapore as well as to shed light on the challenges and changing nature of social work in Singapore.
After quitting a career in banking to pursue his dream of becoming a musician, Druv Kent has become the first Asia-based musician in 15 years to be supported by BBC Radio 2. He has since garnered an international following and continues to perform both in Singapore and abroad.
During her visit, Farah Bagharib-Kaltz shared the experience of having her children's book, The Bird Who Was Afraid Of Heights, published in Singapore and launched at the world's largest trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany. She also shared an excerpt from her latest novel-in-progress, The Mujahid's Daughter, and discussed what it means to be a writer.
Xyza Cruz Bacani is a street and documentary photographer from the Philippines who uses her photography skills to tell the stories of domestic helpers.
Scott Brown is the leader of the Enterprise Segment for CISCO in the Asia-Pacific, Japan, and Greater China (APJC) region. During his visit, Brownspoke about innovation in technology companies, the development of new markets, the personal characteristics necessary for leadership in business, and the ways in which businesses can give back to their markets and the people who populate them.
U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar delivered a talk on the 2016 State of the Union address by outgoing President Barack Obama. His talk also included an assessment of contemporary U.S.-Singapore relations.
Mouhsine Serrar is the founder and CEO of Prakti, a social enterprise based in India that is bringing clean-burning, fuel-efficient cook stoves to the world's poorest households. Pratki's belief that no woman should have to undertake a daily activity as basic and essential as cooking under harmful conditions, led him to bring together best-in-class engineering, production technology, and distribution to create the first sustainable and scalable stove dissemination.
Youngsuk Chi serves as both the Chairman of Elsevier as well as the Director of Corporate Affairs and Asia Strategy for RELX Group. During his visit, he spoke about his journey from being an international businessman to becoming the Chief Operating Officer of major publishing companies like Random House, Ingram, and Elsevier.
John Kay is one of Britain's leading economists. His interests focus on the relationships between economics and business. During his visit, Kayspoke about his book Other People's Money, in which he discusses what has gone wrong in the finance sector.
Bidushi Bhattacharya is the founder of Bhattacharya Space Enterprises. During her visit, she discussed the content and importance of the research conducted aboard the International Space Station.
Jonathan Nguyen Markowitz is Professor of International Relations at the University of Southern California. During his visit, he presented new research that challenges longstanding theories on resource competition and conflict among states.
Dr Daniel Fung has beenthe Chairman of the Medical Board at the Institute of Mental Health, Singapore since 2011. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor at the Yong Loo Lin Medical School, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, National University of Singapore and the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. Dr Fung is also the programme director of REACH (Response, Early Interventions and Assessment in the Community Mental Health), a community based mental health programme which is part of the National Mental Health Blueprint.
Jeff Khoo is the First Secretary in the Political Section of the Singapore Embassy in Beijing, China. Pierre-Louis Temperer is the Chairman of the Council Working Party on Disarmament and Space. He is also the Counsellor in the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Department of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS).
Qasim Aslam is a 2014 Laureate Global fellow with Sylvan/Laureate Foundation and a former Tedx speaker. In 2013, he launched the History Project, an initiative that looks into how governments tamper with history in textbooks to breed a specific brand of patriotism.
Adam Johnson is a Pulitzer Prize winning American novelist and short story writer. He won the Pulitzer for his 2012 novel, The Orphan Master's Son. He is also an associate professor of English with emphasis in creative writing at Stanford University.
Ward Keeler is professor of Anthropology at University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include the performing arts, language and culture in Burma. He has written about Javanese shadow plays (wayang kulit) and music, the Javanese language and Burmese music.
Professor David Arase from John Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies spoke about the current South China Sea conflict and how it affects China as well as other ASEAN nations.
Lynette Chua is a law and society scholar with research interests in law and social change, and law and social movements. Lynette has conducted ethnographic study on Singapore's gay and lesbian movement to analyse the emergence, development, and strategies and tactics of the movement, and explored the complex role of law and the meanings of rights. Her book, Mobilising Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State, received the 2015 Distinguished Book Award from the Sociology of Law Section of the American Sociological Association.
Chee Soon Juan is a neuropsychologist by training. Schooled in Singapore, he received his PhD from the University of Georgia in the United States in 1990 andused tolecture at the National University of Singapore. He is the author of several books including Democratically Speaking and A Nation Cheated. In 1992, he joined the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). He spoke on the future of one-party rule in Singapore.
Dr Lai Chee Kien's research lies in the areas of history of art, architecture, settlements, urbanism and landscapes in Southeast Asia. His publications include A Brief History of Malayan Art (1999), Building Merdeka: Independence Architecture in Kuala Lumpur, 1957-1966 (2007) , Cords to Histories (2013) and Through the Lens of Lee Kip Lin (2015). He is also a registered architect in Singapore.
Hao Huang is the Bessie and Cecil Frankel Endowed Chair in Music and professor of Music at Scripps College. He is a concert performer and scholar of Western art music, and he enjoys working in jazz and ethnomusicology. His current research focuses on Asian music philosophy and the relationship between literature and music of the Harlem Renaissance.
SuChen Christine Lim was born in Malaysia but educated in Singapore. In 2012, she received the Southeast Asia Write Award for her body of work. In 1992, SuChen Christine Lim's novel, Fistful of Colours, was awarded the Inaugural Singapore Literature Prize. She is a recipient of a Fulbright grant and a Fellow of the International Writers' Programme at the University of Iowa and its former International Writer-in-Residence. Mark West is a professor of English and the chair of the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His research includes children's literature, children's popular culture and history of childhood. He has written Walt Disney, from Reader to Storyteller: Essays on the Literary Inspirations (2015) and The Japanification of Children's Popular Culture: From Godzilla to Miyazaki (2009).
Reverend Doctor Yap Kim Hao is the former Vice President of the Inter-Religious Organisation which has been actively promoting inter-faith dialogue and understanding in Singapore since 1949. He is also the Convenor of Singapore Interfaith Network on AIDS, Chairman of Chen Su Lan Trust, and Pastoral Advisor of Free Community Church, Singapore. Rev Dr Yap wasthe first Asian bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore and Malaysia and has retired from full-time Christian ministry but continues to advocate the universal need to respect religious diversity, engage in dialogue and work together with people of diverse backgrounds.
Robert Biswas-Diener is a positive psychologist, author and instructor at Portland State University. He is highly sought after as a speaker on topics of courage, happiness, strengths, well-being and culture. He has written a number of books including Happiness: Unlocking the mysteries of psychological wealth and The Courage Quotient.
Meghan Sullivan is from University of Notre Dame. Her current research focuses on big questions in the philosophy of time and possibility. Her work has been published in leading journals, including NousandPhilosophical Studies, and most recently was supported with a grant from the New Agendas in Time project at the University of Sydney. Sullivan gets Notre Dame undergraduates involved in these debates. She has longstanding interest in big questions of philosophy of religion. She's published work on the problem of evil and the meaning of religious terms. She's participated in public and interdisciplinary forums around the country examining philosophical issues with faith.
An educator and activist working to support healthy and vital families, children, schools and communities, Dr Amy McConnell Franklin is a transformative community organizer and advocate for building strong, honest and compassionate relationships across communities, families and schools.She has trained teachers and administrators in over 25 schools facilitating the integration of Emotional Intelligence (EI) into classrooms and school cultures and has implemented the Self-Science curriculum in a diverse range of programs from early childhood through University level teacher training. Her current project is to engage all the schools, agencies and organisations that work with children in Taos, New Mexico, to have a shared commitment to developing EI.
Josh Comaroff and Ong Ker-Shing are from Lekker Designs, the landscape architects for our new campus. Both are graduates of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Comaroffis also a geographer and has published widely on topics of architecture, geography and political philosophy. Their Singapore-based architectural firm has been quietly making a name for itself with elegantly proportioned designs for intimate homes, offices and public spaces. Join in the session to hear from the man behind the design of the landscape of our new Yale-NUS campus.
Kotaro Tamura served as a member of the House of Councillors in the Diet from 2002 to 2010. Before entering politics, he was an investment banker and CEO of the Osaka Daily News, leading daily paper in the second largest city in Japan. He was a Senior Fellow at Yale University and RAND Corporation, and a Research Associate at Harvard University. Tamura recieved his LLM from Duke Law School and was also the largest shareholder of F-one, Kotaro's family business, the largest supplier of made to measure business suits in Japan. He serves as a senior advisor to the China Europe International Business School and is an adjunct professor at the National University of Singapore.
William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, The Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal and, most recently, Nine Lives. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award, the French Prix d'Astrolabe, the Wolfson Prize for History, the Scottish Book of the Year Award, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, the Asia House Award for Asian Literature, the Vodafone Crossword Award and has three times been longlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2012 he was appointed Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in Humanities at Princeton University. He lives with his wife and three children on a farm outside Delhi.
Dr. Ann Blake is a leading expert in health and environmental impacts of chemical use, chemical policy reform, and the setting and implementation of national standards. She has nineteen years of program management experience in environmental and public health protection. She has worked with more than a dozen local, national, and international NGOs, over fifty state and local governments, and a variety of companies, organizations, and academic institutions.
Dr. Belinda Wilkes is the Senior Astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and the director at Chandra X-ray Center. NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched and deployed by the Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999 and is celebrating its 15 year anniversary this year. Chandra represented a major step forward in our abilityto study the X-ray Universe. Dr. Wilkes's primary interests are X-ray and multi-wavelength studies of quasars and lower luminosity active galactic nuclei.
Mr K Shanmugam was appointed a Cabinet Minister on 1 May 2008 and is currently the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Law. He also served as the Minister for Home Affairs and was the president of the Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) from 2002 to 2009.
Cheong-Chua Koon Hean is currently the CEO of the Housing and Development Board (HDB) overseeing the development and management of some one million public housing flats in 23 towns. She is concurrently the Deputy Secretary (Special Duties) in the Ministry of National Development and sits on the boards of the HDB, Jurong Port Pte Ltd, the National University of Singapore, the Civil Service College, as well as the International Federation for Housing and Planning. She serves on several international advisory panels advising on sustainability and strategic planning issues and is a nominating committee member of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.
Matthew Polly has written a number of books about his experiences training to be a mixed martial arts fighter and recently completed a biography of Bruce Lee. He spent two years at the Shaolin temple in Henan, China and became the first American Shaolin disciple. Click herefor his full biography.
Nicole Seah, a member of the National Solidarity Party (NSP) was the youngest female candidate standing in the 2011 Singaporean general elections. She contested the single-member constituency ward of MacPherson against the incumbent People's Action Party (PAP). Ms. Seah recounted her decision to enter politics as one motivated by a desire to change the status quo in Singapore, and her choice of the NSP as a platform that gave her the opportunity to campaign for matters she thought were most important such as the rising economic challenges faced by the middle class.
Sylvia Lee is the founder of EmancipAsia, a non-profit organisation that seeks to combat human trafficking by raising awareness and empowering individuals, communities, and businesses. Their focus is in Asia-Pacific, with base operations in Singapore. Ms. Lee is a board member at Jurong Health Services and National University Health System. She is also a director of ACTSYS Process Management Consultants Pte Ltd., a board member of Align HR Consulting, and co-founder and director of Lotus Culture Ltd., a non-profit organisation whose mission is to help or rebuild lives of survivors of human trafficking and sexual slavery in Cambodia.
Richard De Veaux is an applied statistician interested in data mining methodology and its application to problems in science and industry. He is also a statistics educator interested in understanding how statistical concepts are best communicated.
Parag Khanna is the director of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a columnist for CNN, and a Senior Research Fellow at the New America Foundation. He also holds appointments at the London School of Economics, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, and at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Khanna also served as a geopolitical advisor to the United States Special Operations Forces in 2007.
Robert Silverman has held postings in Stockholm, Riyadh, Baku, Ankara, Cairo, Jerusalem, and Tikrit. In Washington, he served as the Director of State's Iraq Reconstruction and Economic Affairs Office, and as a Senior Advisor on global and functional affairs. His publications include a translation from Arabic of Ali Salem's A Drive to Israel (2002), and an article about Saudi Arabia in Foreign Policy magazine (November 2008).
Patrick Daly is a visiting senior fellow at University Scholar's Programme and has a co-appointment with the Earth Observatory of Singapore. He is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who discovered the most complete record of tsunamis ever recorded in a cave outside of Banda Aceh. Dr Daly is also involved in environmental/archaeology projects looking at how people participate within and respond to long-term sequences of environmental change.
Tom Princen is an associate professor at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on issues of social and ecological sustainability, including principles of sustainability, overconsumption, the language and ethics of resource use, localisation, and the transition from fossil fuels.
Maria-Anna Weiling Zenieris was crowned Miss World Singapore in 2013. She graduated from United World College with a diploma in psychology, English, and music. Ms Zenieris represented Singapore in the Miss World finals in Jakarta in September 2013.
Judy and Dennis Shepard are the parents of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was killed in a hate crime in Wyoming in 1998. The Shepards have been tireless advocates for equality for the LGBTQ community and against discrimination and visited Singapore on the 15th anniversary of Matthew's death to keep his legacy alive.
Jed Kaplan is an environmental scientist at the University of Lausanne and the leader of Atmosphere Regolith Vegetation (ARVE) group. Professor Kaplan is an expert on how vegetation responds to climate change and feedback effects between surface and climate system. He employs climatological models of global vegetation cover to describe how the development of human civilisation has historically been strongly influenced by climatological forces. Professor Kaplan spoke to students on how science can give a compelling explanatory narrative of natural and historical phenomena.
Alex Au's blog, YawningBread.wordpress.com, touches on sensitive issues such as homosexuality, free press, religion, and politics, as seen through his uncompromising Singaporean lens. During his visit, he shared about his experiences living and blogging in Singapore.
Steven Green is an honorary research fellow at the University College of London, where he specialises in early Roman literature and culture with particular focus on the Augustan and Neronian periods. His latest monograph was published in July 2014 and he is currently working researching the Augustan poet Grattius.
Tom Beer is one of the world's leading experts on environmental risk management at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. Dr Beer has conducted a number of studies about alternative transport fuels and greenhouse gas emissions and was a lead author and panel member for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded half of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He spoke to students about food security and climate change and how global climate change will affect agriculture and human habitation in the next hundred years.
Professor Joel K.W. Yang is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Product Development pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design and holds a joint appointment as Senior Scientist I at the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering of A*STAR. He is recognised for his pioneering work in plasmonic colour printing, achieving record-level printing resolution at 100,000 dpi.