LSE sets up new SouthEast Asia centre

The London School of Economics and Political Science has received a large donation from a prominent graduate Prof Saw Swee Hock

The donation will be used to set up a new academic centre focusing on Southeast Asia. 

The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre will bring together researchers for interdisciplinary analysis of policy questions facing Southeast Asia, while strengthening LSE’s research and engagement with the ASEAN region. Academics affiliated with the centre will benefit from a range of specialist resources, networks, and funding opportunities.

The new centre will be led by Professor Danny Quah as Director Designate. Danny Quah is Professor of Economics and International Development at LSE and is a leading expert on the rise of eastern economies.

The creation of the centre was announced on Thursday 3 April at the 2014 LSE Asia Forum in Kuala Lumpur, where the Malaysian Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib bin Tun Abdul Razak, is set to make the keynote speech.

Commenting on the announcement, Professor Quah said: “The rise of Asia is perhaps the singular developmental and political story of our era, attracting praise and criticism, wonder and scepticism. LSE, as one of the world’s leading institutions for social science research and education, has always been fully engaged with Asian developments – whether it is in climate change governance, agrarian reform or religious conflict.

Thanks to the continuing generosity of Professor Saw, LSE can build on its already substantial engagement with Asia. Using LSE’s distinctive interdisciplinary expertise in the social sciences, The Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre can bring a global perspective to the policy and research questions specific to the region.”

The donation and establishment of the Southeast Asia Centre further cements Professor Saw’s philanthropic relationship with LSE. Earlier this year the School opened the spectacular Saw Swee Hock Student Centre, described by the UK’s Architect’s Journal as “inviting, imaginative and memorable”. The iconic building was named after Professor Saw in appreciation of his generous donation towards its construction.

A PhD graduate and now Honorary Fellow of LSE, Professor Saw has also given towards the School’s Library, the New Academic Building, scholarships for LSE Singaporean students and previous LSE Asia Forums in Singapore and Beijing. 

LSE plans to officially launch the Saw Swee Hock Southeast Asia Centre in the new academic year for 2014-15.

Currently a professorial fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, Professor Saw has had a distinguished academic and professional career. As one of the foremost experts on population, he has served as a consultant and advisor to governments, private corporations and international organisations. He has held visiting positions in, among others, Princeton, Stanford, Cambridge, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and LSE. 

Outside of academia, Professor Saw is a well-known philanthropist, and has donated regularly to universities to establish bursaries, scholarships, professorships, research programmes, centres and schools. Apart from his two landmark gifts to LSE to establish the Student Centre and the Southeast Asia centre, he had earlier provided a large donation to assist in the establishment of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore (NUS), one of LSE’s partner institutions.

In recognition of his outstanding philanthropic and academic achievements, he has received an Honorary Fellowship from LSE and an Honorary University Fellowship from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He was named an Honorary Professor at Xiamen University, an Honorary Professor of Statistics at HKU, and President’s Honorary Professor of Statistics at NUS. He was conferred the 2013 Singapore President’s Award for Philanthropy and the Public Service Medal by the Singapore Government in the 2013 National Day Awards.


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