Kishore Mahbubani to retire as LKY School Dean

06 November 2017 | Education
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The National University of Singapore (NUS) today announced that Professor Kishore Mahbubani, who is Founding Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School), will retire from his leadership position at the School on 31 December 2017. He will remain a faculty member of NUS. A search process will be initiated for the next Dean of Asia’s top public policy school, and an Acting Dean will be appointed from 1 January 2018.

Prof Mahbubani, who is 69, has served as Dean of the LKY School for over 13 years. He was appointed in August 2004 after serving 33 years in the Singapore Foreign Service, with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington, DC, and twice as ambassador to the United Nations, during which he also served as president of the Security Council. He was the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1993 to 1998. He is recognised internationally as an expert on Asian and international affairs, and was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers in 2010 and 2011.

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Professor Kishore Mahbubani, who has served as the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS for over 13 years,
will retire from his leadership position at the School on 31 December 2017.

Said Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the LKY School Governing Board, “Professor Kishore Mahbubani has demonstrated dedication and leadership in building up the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy from scratch. He has firmly established the School as an internationally renowned institution for public policy education and research in Asia. The Governing Board deeply appreciates Kishore’s tireless efforts as the Founding Dean of the LKY School.”

During Prof Mahbubani’s tenure, the LKY School developed a strong international reputation as Asia’s leading public policy school, and a thought leader in key areas of public policy research, such as major powers and global governance, policy studies and public management, water and environment policy, competitiveness in Asia, and social policy in Asia. The School also deepened its long-standing collaboration with the Harvard Kennedy School, and became the first in Asia to join the Global Public Policy Network established by the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, the London School of Economics, and Sciences Po.

The School today has a diverse mix of scholars, academics, and prominent public policy practitioners to conduct good, relevant research and provide real-world insights in its classes.  The School has more than 2,350 graduate alumni in 80 countries. It has also trained more than 11,000 professionals around the world through its popular executive education programmes. In 2017, the School received more than 1,300 applications for its Masters programmes – a record in the history of the School.

The LKY School’s global profile is reflected in the many prominent visiting dignitaries it has hosted over the years. They include former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Pulitzer prize-winning author Thomas Friedman, Nobel Laureates Elinor Ostrom, Amartya Sen, Muhammad Yunus, and former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.

Said Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, NUS President, “As the Founding Dean of the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Kishore built a solid academic and institutional foundation for the School, and positioned it well for its next stage of growth. I thank him for leading the LKY School with passion, dedication, and vision, for building up the team in the School and positioning it as a global thought leader in public policy with an Asian focus.  We thank Kishore for his many contributions and wish him well on his well-deserved sabbatical.”

Prof Mahbubani, an alumnus of the University, said, “It has been an incredible privilege to be the Dean of the NUS Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.  After 13 years, it is timely for a new leadership to take the School to greater heights. I am deeply grateful to the University, Governing Board, my colleagues, the students, alumni, donors, and friends for their wonderful support during my tenure. I look forward to the opportunity of the nine-month sabbatical to expand and deepen my research and writing.” 

Please refer to the Annex for Prof Mahbubani’s statement to the LKY School Governing Board.