Kishore Mahbubani : biography
Kishore Mahbubani (born October 24, 1948, Singapore) is a notable academic and former Singaporean diplomat. He is currently Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore.
From 1971 to 2004 he served in the Singaporean Foreign Services, ending up as Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In that role he served as President of the United Nations Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002.
After his graduation; in 1971 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, and his earlier postings included Cambodia (where he served during the war in 1973-74), Malaysia and Washington, DC. He was appointed the Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry from 1993 to 1998. Later, he became Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In that role he served as President of the United Nations Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002.
His academic career began when he was appointed as the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is also a Professor in the Practice of Public Policy.
Mahbubani is best known outside Singapore for his books 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 articles have appeared in several leading journals and newspapers outside of Singapore, such as Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Quarterly, Survival, American Interest, the National Interest, Time, Newsweek, the Financial Times and New York Times.
His latest book is entitled The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World (Public Affairs). In it he describes how the world has seen more positive change in the past 30 years than the past 300 years. By prescribing pragmatic solutions for improving the global order - including a 7-7-7 formula that may finally break the logjam in the UN Security Council - Mahbubani maps a road away from the geopolitical contours of the nineteenth century. The book was widely reviewed, including in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Mahbubani is married, and lives in Singapore. He and his wife have three children.
- Can Asians Think? Understanding the Divide Between East and West., Steerforth, 2001, ISBN 978-1-58642-033-8; Times Editions; 3rd edition, 2004, ISBN 978-981-232-789-5
- Beyond the Age of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World, Perseus Books Group, 2005, ISBN 978-1-58648-268-8
- The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, PublicAffairs, 2008, ISBN 978-1-58648-466-8
- The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, PublicAffairs, 2013, ISBN 978-1610390330
Boards and honours
He 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 China and Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee.
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”. 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 Barack Obama, Wen Jiabao and Nicolas Sarkozy) who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. Mahbubani was selected as one of Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers in 2010 and 2011.
Early life and education
Mahbubani is an Indian Sindhi. The President's Scholarship was awarded to Mahbubani 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. In addition, he was a fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University in 1991-92.
In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine