A student of philosophy and history, Professor Kishore Mahbubani is a Professor in the Practice of Public Policy and a Senior Advisor at the National University of Singapore. Mahbubani serves in the Boards and Councils of institutions around the world, including the Yale President’s Council on International Activities (PCIA) and University of Bocconi International Advisory Committee, and as Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize Nominating Committee.

Before that, he enjoyed a long career with the Singapore Foreign Service from 1971 to 2004. He had postings in Cambodia (where he served during the war in 1973-1974), Malaysia, Washington, D.C., and New York, where he served two stints as Singapore’s Ambassador to the United Nations and as President of the U.N. Security Council in January 2001 and May 2002. He was Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Ministry from 1993 to 1998.

Mahbubani has spoken and published globally. His articles have appeared in a wide range of publications, including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The Washington Quarterly, Survival, American Interest, National Interest, Time, Newsweek, The Financial Times, and The New York Times. He has also been profiled in the Economist and in Time. He is the author of Can Asians Think?, Beyond The Age Of Innocence: Rebuilding Trust Between America and the World, The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East, The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, Can Singapore Survive?, and co-author of The ASEAN Miracle: A Catalyst for Peace. His books have been read and translated widely. The Great Convergence was selected by the Financial Times as one of the best books of 2013.

Mahbubani was awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1967. He graduated with a First Class honors degree in Philosophy from the University of Singapore in 1971. He received a Master’s degree in Philosophy in 1976 and an honorary doctorate in 1995 from Dalhousie University (Canada). He spent a year as a fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1991 to 1992.

Mahbubani 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 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 who would shape the debate on the future of capitalism. He 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 Prospect magazine as one of the top 50 world thinkers for 2014.

Last Updated: February 13, 2018

Sinica Podcast


China’s Rise and America’s Myopia

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
China, as we say at the beginning of each Sinica Podcast episode, is a nation that is reshaping the world. But what does that reshaping really look like, and how does—and should—the world react to China’s role in globalization?