RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Rick Koh Buck Song, Brand Advisor and Author, 'Brand Singapore' on "Brand Singapore, Small State and National Security" (16 July 2019)
RSIS Seminar by Lord John Alderdice, Director, Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford on “The Psychology Behind Brexit: Implications for National Security Practitioners” (18 June 2019)
At a seminar on 18 June 2019, Lord John Alderdice, Director of Oxford University’s Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, examined the psychological drivers that continue to influence the United Kingdom’s ongoing and increasingly polarised debate on “Brexit”, Britain’s plan to leave the European Union. The seminar was organised by the RSIS National Security Studies Programme, with the support of the National Security Coordination Secretariat, Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore. It brought together academics, professionals, public officials and students from various domains, including national security and defence.
Lord Alderdice spoke about how a collective mindset that felt significantly threatened had emerged and contributed to the “leave Campaign”. He observed that wider demographic, political, security and geopolitical challenges had also contributed to this large-group anxiety.
Applying the lessons of Brexit to the national security domain, Lord Alderdice commented that both public and private institutions needed to better understand how a complex web of social, economic and political factors can influence a population’s psychology. He emphasised that such an understanding was crucial in managing the fear and anxiety observed in the Brexit case, which often can cause individuals to behave in unexpected ways that may adversely affect national security.
With regard to Britain’s future, Lord Alderdice argued that the United Kingdom would have to collaborate more effectively with its global allies to develop a systemic approach that mitigates the challenges brought about by Brexit. Such an approach will have to adapt to the changing psychological dynamics of the United Kingdom’s populace, he said.
The seminar culminated in an engaging question-and-answer session which addressed varied themes such as governments’ role in mitigating social inequities, the fourth industrial revolution, extremism and inclusivism.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar.
National Security Symposium: Perspectives, Analysis and Discovery on "National Security in a Complex Environment: Challenges and Prospects for Singapore" (21 February 2019)
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Janadas Devan, Chief of Government Communications, Ministry of Communications and Information; Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office (Communications Group); and Director, Institute of Policy Studies on "Looking Alternative History in the Eye: A Closed-door Dialogue on Operation Coldstore" (13 November 2018)
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Professor, RSIS; Rector Emeritus and Director, National Security Studies; School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel (29 October - 2 November 2018)
As part of the National Security Studies Programme’s Distinguished Visitor’s Programme (NSSP-DVP), Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor, Rector Emeritus and Director, National Security Studies at the School of Political Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel, visited RSIS from 29 October to 2 November 2018.
Professor Ben-Dor was formerly a senior adviser on strategic affairs to the Israeli Ministry of Defense and the director of the graduate study program at the National Defense College, the highest course of studies in the Israeli Defense Forces. He is also a member of a number of high-level public commissions and forums dealing with academic development and policy in Israel and abroad. Professor Ben-Dor has published widely on Middle East politics, the Arab-Israeli conflict, national security affairs, strategic studies, ethnic problems and political theory.
During his weeklong visit, Professor Ben-Dor delivered two public seminars. The first seminar, “Building a strong national identity for a globalised, multi-ethnic, immigrant society: Some observations”, was focused on the challenges Israel faced as it strives to build a viable nation amidst the concerns posed by concurrent tides of globalism and particularism. The many sharp cleavages that plagued Israeli social intercourse, such as Jewish-Arab and religious-secular divisions, and immigration were discussed.
In the second seminar, “Understanding how small states succeed in a rapidly evolving and challenging strategic environment: One Israeli view”, Professor Ben-Dor spoke about the importance of human resources when tackling the immediate and urgent threats small states faced. Professor Ben-Dor spoke on the effect interlocking historical, socio-cultural, educational, economic, military, political, and diplomatic factors have had on Israel’s success as a small state.
While in Singapore, Professor Ben-Dor met and exchanged ideas with various senior government officials, as well as working-level analysts from both RSIS, the government sector and even an NGO (the IRO). Additionally, Professor Ben-Dor was invited to give a live interview on Channel NewsAsia’s PrimeTime News Bulletin, where he spoke about the Khashoggi Crisis.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar #1 on “Building a Strong National Identity for a Globalised, Multi-Ethnic, Immigrant Society: Some Observations” on 29 Oct 2018.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar #2 on “Understanding How Small States Succeed in a Rapidly Evolving and Challenging Strategic Environment: One Israeli View” on 31 Oct 2018.
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Professor Christopher Alan Kojm, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Professor, RSIS; and Former Chairman of U.S. National Intelligence Council, USA (15 - 21 August 2018)
Professor Christopher Alan Kojm was in Singapore from 15 to 21 August as part of the Distinguished Visitor Programme hosted by RSIS’s National Security Studies Programme. A Professor of Practice at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University since 2014, Prof Kojm is better known as the former Chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council during the Obama Administration.
At the Elliot School, Professor Kojm is also the Director of its Leadership, Ethics and Practice Initiative, as well as its U.S. Foreign Policy Summer Program. He also taught previously at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School (2004-07). His wealth of government experience includes serving as Senior Advisor to the Iraq Study Group in 2006; President of the 9/11 Public Discourse Project from 2004-5); Deputy Director of the 9/11 Commission (2003-04); and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1998-2003).
During the week-long visit to RSIS, Professor Kojm delivered two public seminars. The first seminar, “Current Global and Regional Trends that National Security Policy Communities Should be Following”, touched upon pertinent trends that were identified as part of the Global Trends 2035 report entitled the Paradox of Progress, such as shrinking water resources, and demographics, and also covered near term outlooks and longer term scenarios.
At the second seminar, “Effectively Connecting the Dots in a Complex, Uncertain and Fast-Paced World: Human Institutional and Technological Factors”, Prof Kojm spoke on how the U.S. Intelligence Community “connected the dots’’ and extracted meaning from complexity and vast data flows, and how it adopted cutting edge technologies to provide key information to policymakers to meet security challenges.
While in Singapore, Prof Kojm also made a call on DPM Teo Chee Hean and Minister for Home Affairs and for Law, Mr K. Shanmugam, and met and exchanged ideas with several senior Singapore government officials. Prof Kojm also had the opportunity to meet up with ICPVTR, as well as other analysts from both RSIS and the government sector.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Current Global and Regional Trends that National Security Policy Communities Should be Following” on 17 August 2018.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Effectively Connecting the Dots in a Complex, Uncertain and Fast-Paced World: Human, Institutional and Technological Factors” on 21 August 2018.
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Wong Kan Seng, Former Deputy Prime Minister; Chairman of Ascendas-Singbridge Pte Ltd; and Chairman of UOB on "The Enduring Challenges of Keeping Singapore Safe and Secure: Some Personal Reflections" (5 July 2018)
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Janadas Devan, Chief of Government Communications, Ministry of Communications and Information; Deputy Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office (Communications Group); and Director, Institute of Policy Studies on "Operation Coldstore and the Communist Threat to Singapore: Fact or Fiction?" (30 May 2018)
On 5 February 2018, the National Security Studies Programme (NSSP) organised a half-day workshop on “Countering the ISIS Threat to Multicultural Societies”. The by-invitation-only workshop was comprised of two Panels and saw a total of four speakers share their views on how multicultural societies could work towards countering the threat of violent extremism.
Dr Bilveer Singh, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) at RSIS, spoke on the threat of ISIS to Southeast Asia. Returning foreign fighters, the threat of the virtual caliphate, the presence of active jihadi groups in the tri-border region, and ISIS’s attempts to establish a regional stronghold were identified as key concerns. Dr Singh concluded that Southeast Asia should adopt a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to combat the threat.
Dr David Cook, an Associate Professor of Religion at Rice University, who specialises in Islam, argued that ISIS is as Islamic as any other Sunni Salafi-jihadi organisation. ISIS has tried hard to legitimise its actions, including its brutality, by aligning itself with historical practices. As such, challenging ISIS on ideological or religious grounds would be difficult. Novel methods are, thus, needed to delegitimise ISIS and it’s ideologies.
Mr Nafees Hamid, a Research Fellow at ARTIS International, used examples from studies he and his team carried out in Europe, and demonstrated the usefulness of social networking analysis and crime mapping tools when studying jihadist terrorist groups in the extended Paris-Brussels attack networks. Mr Hamid also elaborated on the use of these analytical tools alongside the administration of the standard radicalisation pscychometric survey in research he carried out in Spain. Such analytical tools, he asserted, allowed for a multi-layered investigation of the complex system of radicalisation and terrorist group mobilisation that exists in Europe today.
Brigadier General (Ret) Russell Howard, President of Howard’s Consulting Services, spoke on integrating ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ power in the fight against ISIS. His presentation was based on his 2015 TED Talk and discussed several ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ strategies to combat ISIS. BG (Ret) Howard predicted that ISIS would search for new bases following its defeat in Iraq and Syria.
Click here to view photos gallery.
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Professor Amin Saikal, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Professor, RSIS; and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia), Australian National University, Australia (6 - 10 November 2017)
Professor Amin Saikal, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Public Policy Fellow, and Director of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies (The Middle East and Central Asia) at the Australian National University, was invited to Singapore from 6 to 10 November 2017 under the National Security Studies Programme’s (NSSP) Distinguished Visitors Programme (DVP).
Prof Saikal was formerly an advisor to the Chair of the Inter Action Council of the Former Heads of State, the Hon. Malcolm Fraser, and member of the Council’s Expert Advisory Group (1999 – 2006). He was also a member of the International Commission for Cooperation and Security in West Asia (2000 – 2006), and Co-Director, United Nations’ Project on “Peace and Democracy in the Middle East” (2004).
Prof Saikal has authored numerous publications on the Middle East, Central Asia, political Islam, and Russia. Some of his recent works include: Iran at the Crossroads (Polity Press, 2016); Zone of Crisis: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq (I.B. Tauris, 2014); Modern Afghanistan: A History of Struggle and Survival (I.B. Tauris, 2012); and The Rise and Fall of the Shah: Iran – from Autocracy to Religious Rule (Princeton University Press, 2009). He is also a frequent commentator on Australian and international TV and radio.
Prof Saikal gave two public lectures during his visit. The first, titled “How Islamic has ‘Islamic State’ Been?”, discussed the two predominant and controversial views that have characterised the nature and operations of the Islamic State (IS). In “Preventing Sectarian Conflicts in Multiethnic and Multicultural Societies: Some Personal Reflections”, Prof Saikal argued that preventing sectarian conflicts was extremely challenging, if they were fuelled by a combination of internal and external factors. He used case studies from Afghanistan, Syria/Iraq, Yemen and Libya to elucidate his arguments.
Aside from engaging with government agencies, Prof Saikal also met with several organisations such as the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore or Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS), and was interviewed by Channel News Asia during its Primetime Asia segment on 7 November.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “How Islamic has “Islamic State” Been?” on 6 November 2017.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Preventing Sectarian Conflicts in Multiethnic and Multicultural Societies: Some Personal Reflections” on 10 November 2017.
Closed-door dialogue session with National Security Policy Community on “Coping with Religious Fundamentalism In Modern Multicultural Societies” on 8 November 2017.
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Lieutenant General (Retired) Syed Ata Hasnain, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Fellow, RSIS; and Senior Indian Strategic Analyst, India (4 - 8 September 2017)
As part of its Distinguished Visitor Programme, RSIS’s National Security Studies Programme hosted one of India’s most decorated military leaders, Lt Gen (Ret) Syed Ata Hasnain, from 4 to 8 September 2017.
A second-generation officer in the Indian army, Lt Gen Hasnain handled several turbulent situations in his 40-year career. He had seven tours of duty in Jammu & Kashmir, including on Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground. He also served in Punjab during the heyday of militancy, in India’s restive northeastern states, in Sri Lanka with the Indian Peacekeeping Force, and in Mozambique and Rwanda with United Nations forces. Among his most prestigious and challenging assignments was his appointment in 2010 as General Officer Commanding of XV Corps in Kashmir. During this two-year assignment, he initiated a slew of innovative measures to bring about calm after a period of agitation on the streets. His doctrine of balancing what he calls soft and hard power, as well as his efforts to reach out to the Kashmiri people while conducting kinetic operations against terrorists, succeeded in stabilising the situation.
During his week-long visit to RSIS, Lt Gen Hasnain delivered two public seminars. The first seminar, “The patterns of violent extremist infiltration in the Kashmir conflict: Lessons learned”, was focused on the evolving situation in Jammu & Kashmir, the effects of worldwide extremism, and India’s efforts at countering terrorism in multiple domains.
At the second seminar, “Protecting multicultural societies against religious extremism: A practitioner’s insights”, Lt Gen Hasnain spoke about his experiences as a member of the minority in India. He also spoke about his efforts to practise and promote India’s unique principle of “unity in diversity” through his leadership of soldiers of different faiths in challenging tactical situations.
While in Singapore, Lt Gen Hasnain also met and exchanged ideas with some of Singapore’s senior government officials as well as analysts from both RSIS and the government sector.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “The Patterns of Violent Extremist Infiltration in the Kashmir Conflict: Lessons Learned” on 4 September 2017.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Protecting Multicultural Societies against Religious Extremism: A Practitioner’s Insights” on 8 September 2017.
Closed-door dialogue session with National Security Policy Community on “Coping with the ‘Insider Threat’: Securing The Hearts and Minds of Security Forces Against Extremist Ideologies” on 6 September 2017.
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Eddie Teo, Chairman of Public Service Commission and Chairman of RSIS BOG on "Learning from the Founding Fathers: What of the Past is Relevant for the Future?” (31 July 2017)
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Ho Peng Kee, Former Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs on "Fostering a Whole-of-Society Approach to Securing the Homeland" (29 May 2017)
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Bilahari Kausikan, Ambassador-at-Large, MFA on "Small States between the Great Powers: The Singapore Experience" (15 March 2017)
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Lord John Alderdice, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Professor, RSIS; and Director, Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, University of Oxford (13-17 February 2017)
Professor, the Lord John Alderdice visited RSIS as the NSSP Distinguished Visiting Professor from 13 to 17 February 2017. Currently, Lord Alderdice is Director of the Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict (CRIC) at the University of Oxford, U.K. and a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland, USA.
During the one-week with RSIS, Lord Alderdice delivered two seminars on “Is Extremism Inherently Violent?” and “Building Cohesion in Intractably Divided Societies: Some Personal Reflections”. Moderated each by Associate Professor Kumar Ramakrishna and Dr Tan Teck Boon, both seminars were well-received by guests, which included members of the public, academics and government officials. Lord Alderdice also engaged in a dialogue discussion titled “Countering Violent Extremism Today: Does the IRA Experience Hold Any Lessons?” with Singapore government officials. Moderated by Assoc Prof Ramakrishna, the dialogue helped raise awareness of the ways in which the Irish sectarian conflict demonstrated the need for committed and determined political leadership on all sides to arrive at a negotiated agreement.
Lord Alderdice also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with senior government officials and working-level analysts from within RSIS and outside. He also gave a live interview to MediaCorp’s Channel NewsAsia during which he shared insights from his many decades of work in fostering cohesion in divided societies from Latin America, the Middle East and Northern Ireland.
As leader of the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland from 1987 to 1998, Lord Alderdice played a crucial role in the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, ending decades of violence. He was also the first Speaker of the new Northern Ireland Assembly between 1998 and 2004. He was also appointed by the British and Irish Governments to the Independent Monitoring Commission tasked with closing down terrorist operations and overseeing the normalisation of security activity in Northern Ireland from 2004 to 2011.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Is Extremism Inherently Violent?” on 13 February 2017.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Building Cohesion in Intractably Divided Societies: Some Personal Reflections” on 17 February 2017.
Closed-door dialogue session with National Security Policy Community on “Countering Violent Extremism Today: Does the IRA Experience Hold Any Lessons?” on 16 February 2017.
RSIS Closed-door Dialogue with Mr Benny Lim, former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Development, Prime Minister’s Office and National Security & Intelligence Coordination on "Singapore's Internal Security Fundamentals Explored: A Dialogue with Mr Benny Lim" (11 November 2016)
Distinguished Visitor's Programme (DVP) - Dr Gerard Chaliand, NSSP Distinguished Visiting Fellow, RSIS (5 - 9 September 2016)
By the invitation of the National Security Studies Programme (NSSP), Dr Gerard Chaliand, a political scientist on warfare, was invited as a NSSP Distinguished Visiting Fellow to speak on the theme “Is the Islamic State in Decline?” on 5 September 2016.
Dr Chaliand opened the NSSP Seminar by relating the historical origins of the crisis in Syria and Iraq. The form of extremism that exists today originated from Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, with the emergence of radical Islamist militants who were willing to fight against the idea of a nation-state, in favour of the ummah (community of believers).
Dr Chaliand then spoke about the link between the United States and the Islamic State (IS). The deep Sunni unrest, following the 2003 American intervention in Iraq, created the conditions which ultimately led to the formation of IS. He highlighted that IS is one Islamic movement amongst many others, but is the most well-known, as the group is media-savvy. Their ‘theaterising’ of horror and engagement in shock tactics has allowed the group to draw the attention of the mainstream media, thus overstating the group’s power on the ground.
Pertaining to the future of IS, Dr Chaliand remarked that the group is presently facing difficulties, as they have lost territorial presence. He cautioned, however, that the group would not disappear even if it was defeated in Syria, as they are beginning to have a presence in eastern Afghanistan. The war will continue for some time and any peaceful end to the crisis will require an extended period. One way of dealing with the crisis is to address the economic development of the area and its people. Without economic growth, unrest will develop, thus radical Islam has, and will be seen, as a viable solution for those affected.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Is the Islamic State in Decline?” on 5 September 2016.
Click here to view photos gallery for seminar on “Understanding the Major Fault-lines in the Middle East and their Global Implications” on 9 September 2016.
Closed-door dialogue session with National Security Policy Community on “Can Multicultural Secular Societies Survive the ISIS Onslaught?: Learning from the French Experience” on 7 September 2016.
Last updated on 30/07/2019