Iseas' role won't diminish with name change

When the founding fathers discussed the setting up of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Iseas) in 1968, Dr Goh Keng Swee suggested that the institute be located in the Ministry of Education.

This was to ensure that Iseas would remain steadfast in its goal of creating awareness and promoting scholarship about Singapore's neighbours and its wider environs. Three centuries of colonialism and imperialism had made countries in the region largely ignorant of their history and heritage.

Over the five decades of its existence, Iseas has focused on this goal.

I do not think that its name change, a fitting recognition of our first president's contributions to the nation, and the amendments to the Iseas Act will, in any way, diminish the role and functions of Iseas ("Iseas to be named after Yusof Ishak on Aug 12" and "WP MPs object to change in selection process for board"; both published yesterday).

Ultimately, it is up to the director, the board of trustees and Iseas scholars to ensure that the institute's academic integrity is safeguarded.

K. Kesavapany

•Forum Note: The writer was director of Iseas from 2002 to 2012

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 16, 2015, with the headline 'Iseas' role won't diminish with name change'. Print Edition | Subscribe