Director of Communications

Fazil Irwan Som
Director of Communications
Fazil Irwan Som has a deep interest in leadership in the digital age, intersection of biotech and infotech as the next frontier in the development of the human race, geopolitics and nation-building in Malaysia. His experience traverses the domain of entrepreneurship, government, strategic studies and civil society. He was the CEO of Penang Halal International, a government agency of the state of Penang responsible for the promotion of the Halal business sector in the state. He was formerly the Head of Human and Sciences Department of the Islamic World Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) based in Rabat, Morocco. Prior to that, he was the Executive Director of the International Strategy Institute (ISI), the ASEAN advisor for the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva.

He was also the former Executive Director of the WIEF Foundation, and Head of the WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN), during which he founded the Marketplace of Creative Arts or MOCAFest, a creative arts festival to bring the most talented creative artists worldwide and the corporate world together, as well as one of the earliest startup conventions in Malaysia called the IdeaLab, bringing together some of the most highly fundable startups in ASEAN with global investors comprising angel and venture capital investors. In 2002-2004, he was the Special Research Assistant to the Chairman & CEO of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) Malaysia, the late Tan Sri Noordin Sopiee, focusing on ASEAN integration issues and the ASEAN+3 initiative.

Fazil holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics and International Studies at the University of Warwick and was a British Chevening Scholar pursuing an MA (Hons) in Southeast Asian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. He has written several articles on technology and economic development on South China Morning Post (SCMP), Bangkok Post, New Straits Times and many others. He is the founder and host of the podcast series called Future Things Radio on Spotify. He is also the founder and Director of an award-winning beach house in Terengganu called Che Beach House.

fazil@penanginstitute.org