22 July 2013
Barry Desker Conferred Honorary Doctorate by the University of Exeter
SINGAPORE (GMT+8) – The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) is pleased to announce that Barry Desker, Dean of RSIS, has been conferred the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by the University of Exeter.
This honorary degree was conferred in recognition of his huge contribution to public life in East Asia and Singapore, and for his world-leading leadership and scholarship in the field of international relations.
Dean Desker received his degree from Baroness Floella Benjamin OBE DL, Chancellor of the University of Exeter, during a ceremony held at the University’s Streatham campus in the United Kingdom on 16 July 2013. Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, delivered the oration.
In his oration, Professor Sir Steve said, “Since becoming Dean of RSIS, formerly the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, in 2000, he has rapidly established the School as the leading centre of its type in the Asia Pacific region and shown himself to be an outstanding academic leader. The School undertakes research in security, defence, international affairs and diplomacy. It also teaches postgraduate programmes in Strategic Studies, International Relations, and International Political Economy. Its third role is to organise lectures, conferences and seminars that help policy makers develop comprehensive approaches to strategic thinking. I am delighted to say that the School is establishing close relations with our own recently established Strategy and Security Institute headed by General Professor Sir Paul Newton.”
Professor Sir Steve continued on to say, “Above all, we are recognising a man who since 2000, has taken a Singapore-based think tank to be a world ranking graduate school of international relations. As an external examiner at RSIS, I have had an opportunity to see this transformation first hand. Dean Desker’s skilful balancing of academia and policy-oriented work has clearly made RSIS the leading research organisation in the region. Building that reputation from such a low base has taken enormous skill and the full use of his diplomatic training. The result is that he now leads what is not only the Asia Pacific’s leading research think tank, but also one of the major powerhouses of policy development and research into international relations, terrorism, security studies, and the politics of the Asia Pacific region and the world.”
In his acceptance speech, Dean Desker said, “My own institution, the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, has had excellent ties with Exeter. Sir Steve Smith, the Vice-Chancellor, has been an external examiner, and is a member on our Board of Governors. As I was a newcomer to university administration, he served as a mentor and fount of wisdom in dealing with the challenges of managing faculty and building an institution which is a combination of a professional school of international affairs and a think tank. We have also had Exeter faculty as visiting professors.”
Last updated on 07/05/2019