Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Brookings' New Chair in Southeast Asia Studies

The Brookings Institution announced on October 25 the establishment of the Lee Kuan Yew Chair in Southeast Asia Studies.  Here is more about the new Chair, including how it was funded:
Ray and Barbara Dalio, Chevron, Hotel Properties Limited, Keppel Group, Robert Ng and Philip Ng, Sembcorp Industries Ltd., Edwin Soeryadjaya, STEngineering, and The Starr Foundation have made generous contributions to the Lee Kuan Yew Chair endowment. Blackstone, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and State Street have provided critical operating support.
The Lee Kuan Yew Chair will be housed in the expanded Center for East Asia Policy Studies (CEAP), formerly known as the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies. Ted Piccone, acting vice president and director of Foreign Policy at Brookings, noted that the establishment of the Chair marks an important expansion of Brookings’s engagement with Asia.
CEAP was founded in 1998 as the Center for Northeast Asian Policy Studies to promote research and analysis of policy issues facing Northeast Asia and the United States. Recently, it launched the Phillip Knight Chair in Japan Studies and the Chen-Fu and Cecilia Yen Koo Chair in Taiwan Studies. With the establishment of the Lee Kuan Yew Chair it now includes Southeast Asia in its mandate. Under the continued leadership of its director, Richard Bush, CEAP senior fellows and visiting fellows conduct research on the political, economic, and security issues facing East Asia, and sponsor an array of policy-oriented seminars, discussions, and publications, including the monthly Brookings East Asia Commentary.
Lee Kuan Yew served as Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990, and remains a member of the Parliament of Singapore. He is also an Honorary Director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).  Lee Kuan Yew was a major driver behind the establishment of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The new Southeast Asia position at Brookings was reportedly funded with $3 million, and will be "rotated among academics chosen from the different ASEAN countries, starting with Singapore."

Here is more about how the chair was formed:
Work to launch the new academic position first began in 2010. Brookings Institution vice-president Martin Indyk had approached Mr Lee then to ask for his permission.
Mr Lee reportedly consented to lending his name to the position but said he would not be raising any funds. The bulk of that task was ultimately taken up by Ambassador Chan, who was then Singapore's envoy to the US.
Over the next three years, some US$3 million was raised, evenly split among 13 donors based in the US and Singapore.
Brookings president Strobe Talbott said the post is especially unique because it is the first time the 97-year-old institution has named a chair to honour the achievements of a leader, as opposed to "honouring somebody for giving us the money for the chair."

Brookings recently announced that it is seeking to raise $600 million in its so-called Second Century Campaign to celebrate its 100 years in existence in 2016.

In September, Brookings announced the establishment of the Center for Effective Public Management (CEPM).

The Brookings Institution was recently ranked as the best think tank in the world by the annual University of Pennsylvania think tank rankings.