Past Events

From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador

Penang Institute and Hikayat are proud to host a book launch “From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador” which is scheduled as follows:

Date: 17 November 2019
Time: 10.00am – 11.30am (Doors open at 9.30am)
Venue: Conference Hall, Penang Institute

About the Book

This biography documents K. Kesavapany’s journey from the Malayan estates in the late 1930s to his move to Singapore when he was headhunted to join the Singapore Civil Service in the 1970s, and from his entry into Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) to his subsequent sojourns abroad, such as in Australia, Turkey, Geneva, Jordan, Indonesia, Russia, United Kingdom and Malaysia. After retiring from his last post with the MFA, he took on the position of Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

This book also elaborates on the next phase of his journey where he holds several prominent portfolios in Singapore’s social and academic scene, such as at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Dyslexia Association of Singapore, Singapore Indian Association, Inter-Religious Organization, as well as the Singapore International Foundation.

About the Authors

K Kesavapany was Singapore’s High Commissioner to Malaysia from 1997 to 2002. He served as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and was concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Italy (1991–1997) and Turkey. He was elected as the first Chairman of the General Council of the WTO when it was established in January 1995. He was also Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. From 2002 to 2012, he was the Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore. He was also a teacher at Westlands Secondary School, Penang in the early 1960s, and formerly studied in the University of Malaya while being rooted in Penang.

Over the years, he held several prominent portfolios in the social scene of Singapore, including serving as the President of the Singapore Indian Association, President of the Inter-Religious Organization Council, President of Rotary Club of Raffles City, Term Trustee of SINDA, Board Member of the Hindu Endowment Board, as well as a Governor on the Board of the Singapore International Foundation.

Mr Kesavapany is currently an adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore), an executive committee member of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore and the Indian Community Oral History Committee (ICOHC), as well as the President of Abdul Kalam Vision Society.

Anitha Devi Pillai (Ph.D.) is an applied linguist and a teacher educator. She lectures pre-service and in-service English Language teachers at the National Institute of Education (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore). Her teaching modules focus on writing skills and writing pedagogy.

She was the recipient of the Singapore University of Social Sciences Teaching Merit Award in 2013 and 2014, as well as the Research Excellence Award from Pravasi Express in 2017 for her research on the Singapore Malayalee community. In 2019, she was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Commendation Award 2018 from the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

Anitha is the first author of From Kerala to Singapore: Voices from the Singapore Malayalee Community (Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2017) and Project Work: Exploring Processes, Practices and Strategies (Pearson Education, 2008). She has also published in academic journals and books based on empirical research on writing pedagogy and writing processes as well as poetry and short stories in local and international journals.