The Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was established on 30 July 1996 by Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence. On 1 January 2007, ten years after its establishment, IDSS was formally inaugurated to become the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). In the new School, IDSS remains as a key component Institute focusing on security research to serve national needs while the School would take over its teaching functions. (See Annex A for the structure of the RSIS.)
Since its establishment, the School has acquired the reputation as a leading research and graduate teaching institution in strategic and international affairs in the Asia Pacific region. RSIS will bring IDSS and NTU to the next level besides enhancing Singapore's standing as a regional and international hub for higher education and research.
IDSS' new name also serves to honour the contributions of the late Mr S. Rajaratnam who held various Cabinet appointments until his retirement. He was also one of Singapore's founding fathers and well-respected as a visionary diplomat and strategic thinker.
Mission of RSIS
a. Provide a rigorous professional graduate education in international affairs with a strong practical and area emphasis
b. Conduct policy-relevant research in national security, defence and strategic studies, diplomacy and international relations.
c. Collaborate with like-minded schools of international affairs to form a global network of excellence.
Programmes, Faculty and Student Enrolment
Since its establishment, RSIS has experienced robust growth in numbers and quality. When the first Master of Science Programme in Strategic Studies was launched in 1998, there were only 10 students, all Singaporeans. Currently, it has more than 20 Ph.D. students and almost 200 Masters students enrolled in four Master of Science Programmes: Strategic Studies, International Relations, International Political Economy and Asian Studies. In addition, the NTU-Warwick Double Masters programme was launched in 2010.
The student enrolment has also diversified, with approximately 60% from overseas. Since 2000, the number of research programmes has increased from 3 to 19, while overall staff strength has grown from 28 to more than 150. RSIS presently has nine full Professors and nine Associate Professors-a healthy number considering our humble beginnings.
The School has been successful in attracting top quality students including many in important government positions. These include promising Indonesian military officers, Chinese diplomats and Vietnamese diplomats and military officers. Distinguished alumni of the school include Agus Yudhoyono, son of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono; Loro Horta, son of the Timor-Leste President; and Hekmat Karzai, cousin of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
RSIS also offers a wide range of executive and external teaching programmes.
The RSIS is an autonomous school within NTU. It has a Board of Governors comprising distinguished local and foreign representatives from the Government, business and academic communities, and practitioners in diplomacy and national security affairs. The Dean of RSIS is presently also the Director of IDSS.
Annex A: Structure of RSIS