Kishore Mahbubani joins Harvard University as visiting scholar

Professor Kishore Mahbubani's five-week appointment at Harvard University began last month. He is on a nine-month sabbatical.
Professor Kishore Mahbubani's five-week appointment at Harvard University began last month. He is on a nine-month sabbatical.ST FILE PHOTO

Former Lee Kuan Yew School dean Kishore Mahbubani is working on a new research project at Harvard University while on sabbatical.

He has joined the Harvard Kennedy School Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation as a senior visiting scholar, and will look at relations between the United States and China, the centre said in a statement yesterday.

Professor Mahbubani's five-week appointment at the US university began last month. The 69-year-old stepped down as dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) on Dec 31 last year.

He is on a nine-month sabbatical and remains a senior adviser and professor at the National University of Singapore. His sabbatical schedule includes time at several universities. He has already spent six weeks at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs, and will be at Fudan University in Shanghai for two months, to glean "the China perspective on US-China relations", he told The Straits Times.

He will be in Singapore to launch his latest book, Has The West Lost It?: A Provocation, on May 14.

Speaking on the telephone from London where he is launching the book this week, he said his main goal during the sabbatical is to do research for his planned book on US-China relations.

"This is going to be the most important geopolitical relationship for the next few decades," he said.

Before becoming the founding dean of the LKYSPP in 2004, Prof Mahbubani was with the Singapore Foreign Service for more than three decades. His postings included Cambodia, Malaysia and Washington DC, and he also served two stints as Singapore's permanent representative to the United Nations.

"Kishore brings a wealth of experience to the Kennedy School as a foreign policy professional and senior academic administrator," said Ash Centre director and Daewoo Professor of International Affairs Anthony Saich.

For Prof Mahbubani, the appointment is a homecoming of sorts - he was a fellow at Harvard's Centre for International Affairs from 1991 to 1992. He has discovered a new restaurant - Les Sablons - and returned to some old favourites such as Legal Sea Foods. "I'm going back to some of my old haunts," he said, adding that it was good to be back.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 11, 2018, with the headline 'Kishore Mahbubani joins Harvard University as visiting scholar'. Subscribe