Prof. Kishore Mahbubani

Position: Dean, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University (Singapore)
Country: Singapore

A student of philosophy and history, Professor Kishore Mahbubani is the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. Concurrently, Prof Mahbubani serves in the Boards and Councils of institutions around the world, including the Yale President's Council on International Activities (PCIA), University of Bocconi International Advisory Committee, and as Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee. Before that, he enjoyed a long career with the Singapore Foreign Service from 1971 to 2004. He had postings in Cambodia (where he served during the war in 1973-74), Malaysia, Washington DC and New York, where he served two stints as Singapore’s Ambassador to the UN and as President of the UN Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002. He was Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry from 1993 to 1998.

Prof. Mahbubani has spoken and published globally. His articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Washington Quarterly, Survival, American Interest, National Interest, Time, Newsweek, Financial Times and New York Times. He has also been profiled in the Economist and in Time Magazine. He is the author of Can Asians Think?, Beyond The Age Of Innocence, The New Asian Hemisphere, The Great Convergence, Can Singapore Survive, and co-author of The ASEAN Miracle. His books have been read and translated widely. The Great Convergence was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best books of 2013.

Prof. Mahbubani was awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1967. He graduated with a First Class honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Singapore in 1971. From Dalhousie University, Canada, he received a Masters degree in Philosophy in 1976 and an honorary doctorate in 1995. He spent a year as a fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1991 to 1992. 

Mahbubani was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore Government in 1998. The Foreign Policy Association Medal was awarded to him in New York in June 2004 with the following opening words in the citation: “A gifted diplomat, a student of history and philosophy, a provocative writer and an intuitive thinker”. He was listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals in the world by Foreign Policy and Prospect magazines in September 2005, and included in the March 2009 Financial Times list of Top 50 individuals who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. He was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers in 2010 and 2011. In 2011, he was described as “the muse of the Asian century”. Most recently, he was selected by Prospect magazine as one of the top 50 world thinkers for 2014.

2017 Session