Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Founding Dean and Professor in Practice of Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKY School), will retire from the School’s leadership on 31 December after 13 years at its helm.
In a personal note announcing his decision to the Governing Board of the LKY School, Prof Mahbubani said that he had decided to step down as Dean “to focus on a new career that involves more time spent on reading, reflection and writing.”
“I need to rebuild my store of intellectual capital, if I am to carry my writing up to a higher level.”
Prof Mahbubani, who turned 69 on 24 October, said in his message that he had thought about his double heart bypass surgery last year and realised that the time had come for “a fresh look at what I should achieve over the next decade as I enter my 70s”.
Prof Mahbubani will continue to be a faculty member of the University after stepping down as Dean. He begins a nine-month sabbatical from 1 January 2018, and will return to NUS before retiring fully in 2019.
Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong, Chairman of the LKY School Governing Board said, “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.”
Under Prof Mahbubani’s leadership, the LKY School has 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, as well as social policy in Asia.
The School counts global top scholars, academics and prominent public policy practitioners in its diverse mix, delivering high quality research and real-world insights in the classroom. The School’s 2,350-strong alumni network spans 80 countries. It has also trained more than 11,000 professionals around the world through its executive education programmes.
During Prof Mahbubani’s tenure, 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 Columbia SIPA, the London School of Economics, and Sciences Po. The School’s global profile is also reflected in the many prominent visiting dignitaries it has hosted over the years, from Nobel Laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners to heads of states.
Prof Mahbubani was appointed as Dean of the LKY School in August 2004, after an illustrious 33-year career in the Singapore Foreign Service, with postings in Cambodia, Malaysia, Washington DC, and twice as ambassador to the UN, during which he also served as president of the UN Security Council.
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan thanked Prof Mahbubani for his leadership of the School, saying, “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.”
Reflecting on his tenure at the School, Prof Mahbubani 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.”
Prof Mahbubani, who is an alumnus from the Class of ’71, said that he was looking forward to the next chapter of his life.
A search process for the next Dean of the LKY School will be initiated, and an Acting Dean will be appointed from 1 January 2018.