Board of Advisors

Amitav Acharya is Professor at the School of International Service, American University, Washington, D.C. He is President of the International Studies Association and also holds the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance, and directs the Transnational Challenges and Emerging Nations Dialogue (TRANSCEND), a global network of research and action on transnational challenges, multilateralism and governance. He is the Chair of American University’s ASEAN Studies Center. His previous appointments include Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Centre for Governance and International Affairs at the University of Bristol; Professor, Deputy Director and Head of Research of the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Professor of Political Science at York University, Toronto; Fellow of the Harvard University Asia Center, and Fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Professor Acharya’s publications number over 20 books and 200 journal and magazine articles. His latest books include: Indonesia Matters: Asia’s Emerging Democratic Power (World Scientific 2014); The End of American World Order: Rethinking Power, Institutions and Ideas in World Politics (Routledge 2013), He has published widely in international journals. His media appearances include interviews with CNN International, BBC World Service, and Al-Jazeera covering such topics as Asian security, regionalism, democratic transitions, human security, the war on terror, and the rise of China and India.

Dewi Fortuna Anwar is Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs to the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia. She is a Research Professor and has held the position of Deputy Chairman for Social Sciences and Humanities at The Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) from 2001-2010. She is also the Chair of the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights at The Habibie Center, a member of the Board of Advisors of CIDES (Center for Information and Development Studies) in Jakarta, Indonesia, and a member of the Board of Advisors of The Institute for Peace and Democracy, The Bali Democracy Forum. Dewi Anwar briefly held the position of Assistant to the Vice President for Global Affairs (May-July 1998) and that of Assistant Minister/State Secretary for Foreign Affairs (August 1998-November 1999), during the Habibie administration. She had worked as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore (1989) and as a Congressional Fellow at the US Congress in Washington D.C. (1990-1991). Prof. Anwar is a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters, and is board member of several international organizations. She obtained her PhD from Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, while her BA (Hons) and MA were obtained from SOAS, University of London.

Edilberto C. de Jesús served as the president of the Asian Institute of Management (2009-12), where he now holds a Professor Emeritus appointment. He had earlier served as Associate Dean for Research (1992-95), and chaired the AIM Policy Center he had been tasked to organize. He had also served as president of the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City (2008-2009) and at Far Easter University (1905-2002). While at FEU, he served on the boards of the Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations and the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU), which elected him president in 2002. In 1987, AIM seconded him to serve as Deputy Commissioner in the Peace Commission established by President Corazon C. Aquino. A concurrent, Cabinet-rank appointment in 1988 as Presidential Adviser on Rural Development allowed him to serve through the term of the Aquino Administration in 1992. He accepted an appointment as Secretary of Education in 2002 and served as president of the SEAMEO (Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organization) Council in 2003. He resigned at the end of the first Arroyo Administration in 2004 to serve as SEAMEO Secretariat Director (2005-2007) in Bangkok. He obtained his B.A. at the Ateneo de Manila University and M.Phil. and Ph. D. (History) degrees at Yale University.

Subrat Kumar Singhdeo is Founder and Director of Madhyam Foundation, a non-government organization working with over 50,000 households in the state of Odisha in India.
A former Executive Director of Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi, an Indian grant making agency, he has undertaken number of consulting assignments on behalf of donor agencies such as Ford Foundation, Freedom from Hunger, Lutheran World Relief, CARE-India, NOVIB, OXFAM, SKN-Netherlands, MISEREOR, Asian Dialogue Society, and Sir Dorabji Tata and Allied Trusts, India. His areas of expertise are project planning, appraisal and evaluation, feasibility studies, livelihoods sub-sector mapping, organizational development of civil society organizations, designing and strengthening of community based institutions, research on migration and human security related issues etc. He has visited and worked in the USA, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh and Nepal in connection with his professional work. He co-authored a book entitled Human Security: from Concept to Practice” published by World Scientific, Singapore in 2011. In his career, spanning over three decades, he has worked as a Trainer, Grant maker, Implementer and Mentor. He has a post-graduate degree in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He has also completed Certificate courses from Harvard University, and the Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands.

PM Heblikar retired as Special Secretary, Government of India, in September 2010 after 38 years of service. During his government service, he specialized in insurgency and counter-insurgency developments in India’s northeast region. He held several important and sensitive posts in the government, which also included supervision of developments in China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, ASEAN, Africa and other subjects. He writes regularly for security and defense related journals and leading newspapers and magazines besides participating in seminars and workshops. He is currently Managing Trustee, Institute of Contemporary Studies Bangalore (ICSB) – a not for profit think tank specializing in security and strategic affairs. He is a Visiting Professor at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University, and an Adjunct Faculty, Institute of Security and Strategic Studies Program (ISSSP) at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) Bangalore. In Dec 2011, he and two other like-minded individuals started a high end security consultancy company in Bangalore to help bring new synergies to the world of private security and protection. Details of his company can be viewed on Mr. Heblikar was decorated by the Government of India for Distinguished and Meritorious service during his career. He was educated in Bangalore – St Joseph’s College, Bangalore and Bangalore University.

M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra is the Governor of Bangkok. He was re-elected in 2013. A scholar, politician and philanthropist, he was a Member of Parliament for Bangkok between 1996 and 2008, serving as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1997 and 2001. Before being elected to Parliament, he was an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University, serving as Director of its Institute of Security and International Studies (1987-93). While an academic, he held many positions, including those of Advisor to the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister, Chatichai Choonhavan, and Chairman of the Ministry of Commerce’s Advisory Committee on International Commerce. He has also held the post of President of the Social Science Association of Thailand and is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London. Since 1986, he has been Chairman of the Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation, one of Thailand’s largest philanthropic organizations. He chaired the IRC’s ASEAN-Vietnam Study Group projects in the 1990s. Since 1999, he has served as Chairman of S.E.A. Write Award, the only regional literary awards in Southeast Asia. In 1994 he was selected one of Time Magazine’s “Global 100”, a list of potential leaders for the 21st century. He holds degrees from Pembroke College, Oxford University, and Georgetown University.

Tay Kheng Soon of Akitek Tenggara Singapore/Malaysia, has been a professional architect since 1964. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Architecture at the National University of Singapore. He was elected in 2003 as Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, a community of global intellectuals dedicated to considering, “the social consequences and policy implications of knowledge.” Tay is a member of the World Ekistics Society, (WES) which focuses on the study of human settlements. In 1970 he was chairman of the Singapore Planning and Urban Research Group (SPUR), an independent group examining the urban environment. He was President of the Singapore Institute of Architects from 1991-93. His abiding concern is on sustainable urbanization and the evolution of a proper design process. His scope of thinking encompasses multiple disciplines in meeting the challenge of promoting a modern culture. His public contributions have been as Chairman of the Task Force for the Long-term Development of the Singapore National Museum, Chairman of the Committee on Heritage for the Singapore Advisory Council on Culture and the Arts. He has published widely. His monograph, ‘Mega-cities in the Tropics’ led to a government appointment to prepare a development guide plan for a fringe urban site in Singapore wherein he proposed ’the Tropical City Concept’.

Zakaria Haji Ahmad (“Zack”) is Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the HELP University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Professor Dato Dr. Zakaria is also the Distinguished Fellow of the Malaysian Armed Forces Defence College (MPAT), the Malaysian Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), the Institute of Public Security of Malaysia (IPSOM), and the Malaysian Institute of Defence and Security (MiDAS). Prof Zack also serves as a Board member of the Malaysia – America Foundation (MAF). Prof. Zakaria has taught at the University of Malaya, the Science University of Malaysia, the National University of Singapore, the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) and at the University of Ohio (where he held the Tun Abdul Razak Chair, 2000-2003). At UKM, he was Dean of Social Sciences and had also headed Political Science and Strategic Studies. Prof. Zakaria has published extensively on politics and international affairs of Malaysia, ASEAN and the Asia-Pacific. An active sportsperson, he is in his 5th term as a Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM). He is a member of the Council of the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), and was President of the Malaysian Gymnastics Federation for 35 years until his retirement in 2013. He received his Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) from the University of Singapore in 1970, his MA from McMaster University in 1971 and his PhD in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977.

M. Rajaretnam has done extensive work in the countries of ASEAN, East Asia, India, Central Asia and the South Caucasus. His work has largely focused on research, training and development, publishing and business and political consultancy and corporate social responsibility issues. He has interacted with governments, political leaders, the private sector, academic institutions and philanthropic organizations since 1972. In 2003 he convened a “fellowship” of “friends and citizens of Asia” informally called the Asian Dialogue Society committed to the pan-Asian idea of “building a better Asia”. He initiated the “Building a Better Asia ‘Young Asian Leaders’ Retreats”. A total of nine retreats have been held in China, India and ASEAN. He holds the following appointments currently: Advisor on Development and Investment Promotion to the Chairman of the People’s Committee of Thua Thien Hue Province, Vietnam, 2014; Advisor to the ASEAN Studies Center of American University; Executive Director, Asian Dialogue Society. His previous positions included the following: Special Advisor to the Secretary General of ASEAN on Community Building and Outreach, 2008-12; Chief Executive Officer/Director, International Centre Goa, India (2005-08). He has written and edited a wide number of publications since 1974. Rajaretnam is a Singaporean. He was educated in Singapore and completed his tertiary studies at the University of Singapore and the University of Michigan, U.S.A.

Surin Pitsuwan was Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from January 2008 to December 2012. He was elected as a member of parliament in 1986 and was returned to Parliament 8 times. He was appointed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (1992-1995) and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997-2001. He served as Chair of the ASEAN Ministerial Meetings and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) in 1999-2000. He served in several international organizations including the Commission on Human Security; International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (1999-2001); ILO’s World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization; UN Human Security Trust Fund; Centre for Islamic Studies, Oxford University; Islamic Development Bank’s 1440 A.H. (2020) Vision Commission in 2005. Surin was a member of the “Wise Men Group”) under the auspices of the Henri Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HDC) in Geneva, advising peace negotiations between the Acehnese Independence Movement (GAM) and the Government of Indonesia. Two of his most recognized accomplishments were spearheading the Asian countries to help restore law and order in East Timor, and leading the ASEAN Member States and the United Nations and other international institutions to enter Myanmar in the aftermath of the Cyclone Nargis catastrophe in May 2008. He has been conferred 13 honorary doctorate degrees. He is now engaged in the promotion of regional integration in East Asia, educational and political reform efforts in Thailand.

Jean F. Freymond is President, Dialogues Geneva (D@G) and Network for Governance, Entrepreneurship & Development (GE&D), Geneva, Switzerland. In 1979, he founded, and was, until 2007, Director of the Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations (CASIN). Previously, he held academic positions at the Colegio de Mexico and the Institute of International Relations of the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2007, Dr. Freymond established D@G, a laboratory in governance –including conflict management and problem solving – which aims to rethink governance and create the conditions for stakeholders to address complex societal issues, e.g. global health and agriculture. He also launched GE&D, which objective is to simultaneously contribute to foster entrepreneurship, – and thus stimulate employment; and assist in improving the framework conditions for enhancing the capacity of doing business. A Swiss national, Jean Freymond holds a degree in Law and a Ph.D. in Political Sciences.

Ha Bich Lien specializes in Southeast Asian history and culture. Her current research focuses on the dialogue of cultures and civilizations. Since 2004 Ha has been involved in higher education reforms in Vietnam. She promoted the concept of special education zones for a new generation of universities in the country. In the last five years she spent most of her time with the late Professor Thai Quang Trung to develop the Tourism Master Plan of Thua Thien Hue province. She was a pioneer in developing the concept of healing tourism in Vietnam. She co-authored the book “The Healing Gardens: The Spa Culture of Vietnam” which won the Third Prize of the National Book Award in 2008. Recently she co-authored “Hue-The Romance of Vietnam” which was published under the sponsorship of the Thua Thien Hue province. She has been a recipient of many awards for her teaching and research. She has a PhD in Southeast Asian history and is currently a lecturer at the University of Education of Ho hi Minh City.

V. Raman Narayanan, an award winning journalist, began his career with The New Straits Times (Malaysia) in 1973 before moving to The Star in 1977. He was named “Reporter of the Year” in the inaugural Malaysian Press Institute’s awards in 1982. In 1988, he left for the United States, joining The Atlanta Journal Constitution, where he served as Opinion Page Editor. During his tenure, the AJC won several national awards for the section. In 1999, he became an editor at CNN International. In 2002, he moved back to AJC as International Editor. He returned to Malaysia in 2007, serving as a media consultant to Air Asia before joining the airline fulltime as Regional Head of Communications in 2009. In late 2010, Raman moved to the Group CEO’s Office to assume the newly created position of Regional Head of ASEAN Affairs and Government Relations. In 2011, Raman became Executive Director of the airline group’s new regional base, AirAsia ASEAN, which is located in Jakarta.

C. Mustafa Kirwan is a multi-disciplinary professional and educator with expertise combining urban planning, architecture, technology and media. Based in Beijing since 2009, he is Vice President of Reignwood International Business Division where he is working on a number of large-scale environmental and renewable energy projects including the first commercialized OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) 10-megawatt power plant and the Reignwood Sustainable Ocean Industry Park. Prior to his current position, Mustafa was Director of Branding at Reignwood Group’s property and lifestyle portfolio including Reignwood’s Ten Trinity Square project in London and Reignwood’s Eco-resort in Dali, Yunnan Province China. Mustafa strives to employ an integrated process, combining design and technology innovation, environmental sustainability, social wellbeing and financial profitability. Before moving to China, Mustafa was creative director and partner at NEWWORK, a real estate development consulting and urban planning firm. Simultaneously, Mustafa has been active throughout his career teaching graduate-level courses at Parsons The New School for Design, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is visiting faculty at Tsinghua University where he co-founded Design Beijing Lab, an urban media technology R&D initiative with Professor Fu Zhiyong. He received his undergraduate degrees in Architecture and Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design and performed graduate studies at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies.

Ramani Muniyandi is a lawyer practising with Grays LLC, Singapore. He has worked on various corporate restructuring matters, advised on mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property protection. Besides corporate matters, he also advises private wealth clients on succession planning and estate matters. He is also a non-practicing member of the Law Society of England and Wales and registered practitioner in Dubai International Financial Center. In 2006 he ventured into renewable/alternative energy projects (including research & development in fuel cell technology) in the United States, Europe and Asia. This venture involved negotiation and discussion with various stakeholders on implementation of renewable/alternative energy projects in the respective countries. He continues to advise businesses in the renewable/alternative energy sectors in Singapore and elsewhere. He is a founding member of the Singapore – Myanmar Exchange, a non-profit organizationwhose mission is to support and develop economic and skill growth between Myanmar and Singapore through educational, artistic, trade and technological opportunities. One such endeavour is the First Singapore – Myanmar Film Festival (2013) – the exhibition of independent films to provide awareness for mutual exchange of talents between the 2 countries.