24 April 2023
1. SINGAPORE (GMT+8) As the world slowly emerges from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the novelty of the initial awareness and acknowledgement of global interdependencies has faded. Now, it must contend with the destabilising geopolitical reality of exacerbated Big Power contestation, threats posed by technologies, the intensification of societal polarisation, and the persistent challenges posed by non-traditional security crises. Against this landscape of fragmentations and their effects on national security issues, the concept of resilience emerges as a potential bulwark against dynamic and evolving threats. Responses to contemporary threats need to be designed around a nuanced understanding of resilience and should take into account collaborative and cooperative paths to building resilience. The 14th edition of the Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers (APPSNO 2023) was launched today to explore and foster networks and dialogue on the reality of interdependencies within and between countries amidst larger fragmentation and polarisation.
2. Under the theme of “New World (Dis)Order: Reframing Resilience amidst Fragmentation and Interdependencies”, APPSNO 2023 will run from 24-28 April 2023, and is organised by the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS) of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), with the support of the National Security Coordination Secretariat (NSCS) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore. Since its inception in 2007, APPSNO has grown into a leading regional forum on national security issues.
3. This year, 70 national security practitioners, experts, and scholars from 24 countries, including Singapore, the Asia Pacific, Middle-East and Europe, gathered to discuss challenges such as (i) economic resiliency amid Big Power competition; (ii) countering the disinfodemic through strategic public discourse; (ii) sociopolitical polarisation and its effects on resilience; (iv) technology resilience and security; and (iv) resilience amid climate change and non-traditional insecurities.
4. In her opening address, Guest-of-Honour Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of National Development, said, “In Singapore’s view, building resilience means investing in our relationships and partnerships, playing an active role to address pressing issues facing the international community, and building a united and cohesive society at home.” She emphasised the importance of countries going back to the fundamentals, staying grounded in their respective national interests, and gearing their strategies accordingly in the context of a rapidly changing world.
5. In his welcome remarks, Professor Kumar Ramakrishna, Dean of RSIS, emphasised the importance of rethinking resilience as we rebuild with future shocks in mind. He said, “Our post-pandemic world has revealed intra-and inter-national interdependencies vis-à-vis, for example, supply chains, communication networks, and the proliferation of views, beliefs, empathies, and animosities beyond borders.” While resilience is necessary to combat contemporary national security challenges, “it is less straightforward to determine which resiliency factors are relevant for a nation state in doing so, as states approach resilience-building in a multiplicity of ways”.
6. This year, speakers from 9 countries will spearhead the discussions in the week-long programme. On the first day, a Singapore perspective on national security issues will be explored by panellists from CENS. Mr Bilahari Kausikan, Chairman of the Middle East Institute at the National University of Singapore will deliver the Distinguished Dinner Lecture on 25 April. Mr Kausikan will speak on “Locating the National in the Global: New Strategies for Security Resilience”. A keynote lecture will be delivered on 28 April by Professor Tanel Kerikmäe of Tallin University of Technology, Estonia, on the topic of “Defragmenting and Reconnecting: A New Approach for Collaborating on Security Resiliency”.
7. Other prominent speakers on the various programme panel discussions include:
- • Elina Noor, Senior Fellow, Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (USA)
- • Mr Matthew Goodman, Senior Vice President for Economics and Simon Chair in Political Economy, Centre for International and Strategic Studies (USA)
- • Dr Maria Shagina, Diamond-Brown Senior Research Fellow for Economic Sanctions, Standards and Strategy, International Institute of Strategic Studies (UK)
- • Dr Elmie Nekmat, Associate Professor, Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore (NUS)
- • Ms Carolyn Camoens, Director, APAC Communications, Zendesk (Singapore)
- • Mr Alex Aiken, Executive Director, Government Communications, His Majesty’s Government (UK)
- • Professor Lily Kong, President, Singapore Management University
- • Mr Jasvir Singh (CBE), Founding Chair, City Sikhs and Faiths Forum for London (UK)
- • Professor Murat Somer, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, Koç University Istanbul, Republic of Türkiye
- • Dr Rogier Creemers, Assistant Professor, Leiden University (The Netherlands)
- • Dr So Jeong Kim, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the National Security Strategy (South Korea)
- • Mr Shao Fei Huang, Group Chief Information Security Officer, SMRT Corporation (Singapore)
- • Dr Terry van Gevelt, Assistant Professor, Urban Sustainability, Singapore Management University
- • Ms Madhumitha Ardhanari, Principal Sustainability Strategist, Southeast Asia, Forum for the Future
- • Dr Carlo A. Arcilla, Director, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, Republic of the Philippines
Last updated on 24/04/2023