A student of philosophy and history, Prof Kishore Mahbubani has had the good fortune of enjoying a career in government and, at the same time, in writing on public issues. 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. Currently, he is the Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore. Concurrently, Prof Mahbubani continues to serve in Boards and Councils of several institutions in Singapore, Europe and North America, including the Yale President's Council on International Activities (PCIA), Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, Indian Prime Minister’s Global Advisory Council, University of Bocconi International Advisory Committee, World Economic Forum - Global Agenda Council on Geo-economics and Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee.
In the world of ideas, Prof Mahbubani has spoken and published globally. His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals and newspapers, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Quarterly, Survival, American Interest, the National Interest, Time, Newsweek, the 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? (published and translated in Singapore, Canada, US, Mexico, India, China Myanmar, Turkey and Malaysia), Beyond The Age Of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust between America and the World (published and translated in the US and China), and The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East (published and translated in the US, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Egypt, China, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, Taiwan and Vietnam). His latest books are The Great Convergence: Asia, The West and the Logic of One World (published and translated in the US, the Netherlands and China) and Can Singapore Survive. The Great Convergence was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best books of 2013 and long listed for the 2014 Lionel Gelber Prize. More information on his writings can be found on www.mahbubani.net.
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.
He 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 awarded the Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award by the National University of Singapore in March 2015. Prof Mahbubani was also 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 (including Obama, Wen Jiabao and Sarkozy) who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. Prof Mahbubani 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 British current affairs magazine, Prospect, as one of the top 50 world thinkers for 2014.