Leadership Transition at RSIS
On 3 November 2014, Ambassador Ong Keng Yong took over the leadership of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Under a new RSIS management structure that retains a Deanship for the school, Amb Ong took up the position of Executive Deputy Chairman (EDC) and will provide overall leadership and strategic directions in professional, academic and administrative matters. He will also manage policy research under RSIS’ role as a think tank.
Amb Ong brings to his new role more than 30 years of experience in the Civil Service, where his distinguished services were acknowledged through several State awards, including the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal in 2008. He has held several diplomatic posts overseas, including in India (where he served as High Commissioner with accreditation to Nepal), Saudi Arabia and the United States. He served as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 2011 to 2014 before taking over at RSIS. Amb Ong has also held senior positions in various other organisations, notably as the Director of the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
With his experience at senior levels of management and policymaking, Amb Ong will bring RSIS to new heights of excellence in postgraduate education and research. In this, he will be ably assisted by Professor Joseph Liow, the current Associate Dean who will be re-designated as the Dean with revised responsibilities. Prof Liow will be the Chief Academic Officer of RSIS, with responsibilities for the conduct, coordination and the quality of the School’s academic programmes. He will also lead in the School’s academic development and assist the EDC in the overall management of RSIS.
The outgoing head of RSIS, Ambassador Barry Desker, handed over to Amb Ong a school that had grown tremendously during his tenure. When Amb Desker took over in October 2000, the School was then known as the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS). Under his leadership, IDSS expanded significantly and was renamed RSIS on 1 January 2007. Today, RSIS teaches four Master of Science Programmes in Strategic Studies, International Relations, International Political Economy and Asian Studies. It also comprises six research centres, including its forebear, the IDSS:
- Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies (IDSS)
- International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR)
- Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS)
- Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS Centre)
- Temasek Foundation Centre for Trade & Negotiations (TFCTN)
- Centre for Multilateralism Studies (CMS)
Amb Desker’s contributions to RSIS and NTU have been noted internationally. In 2012, he was conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters by the University of Warwick. In 2013, he was conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by the University of Exeter. Both honorary degrees were awarded for his scholarship and academic leadership, amongst other organisational and national achievements.
As we welcome Amb Ong to the NTU fraternity, we would like to thank Amb Desker for his distinguished services to RSIS and the University, and to wish him success as he embarks on his new appointment as Distinguished Fellow at RSIS.
- News Release – Leadership Transition at RSIS
- Biographies of Amb Barry Desker, Amb Ong Keng Yong and Prof Joseph Liow
- Fact Sheet on Amb Barry Desker
Last updated on 02/08/2018