Kavi Chongkittavorn is assistant group editor of Nation Multimedia Group – publisher of the English-language daily, The Nation. He has been a journalist for over two decades reporting on issues related to human rights, democracy and regionalism. He served as a bureau chief in Phnom Penh from 1987-88 and Hanoi in 1989-91. He was former president of Thai Journalists Association. He is chairperson of Southeast Asian Press Alliance, a Bangkok-based, region-wide media advocacy group. He also serves as president of the jury for the Guerillmo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
Michael Vatikiotis is Regional Director for the Geneva-based the Henry Dunant Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue. Based in Singapore, he works on promoting dialogue and conflict resolution in Asia. He is also a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Formerly editor of the Far Eastern Economic Review, Vatikiotis has been a writer and journalist in Asia for 20 years. He has lived in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand as well as Hong Kong.
He has written two books on regional politics; “Indonesian Politics Under Suharto” and “Political Change in Southeast Asia”. His published fiction includes “The Spice Garden” a novel on religious conflict in Eastern Indonesia published in 2004 and “Debatable Land” a collection of short stories on Southeast Asia. He is a regular contributor to the opinion page of several newspapers. Vatikiotis is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, earned his doctorate from Oxford University and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland. He is a member of the Asia Society’s International Council. He speaks the Thai and Indonesian languages fluently.
Simon SC Tay LL.B Hons (National University of Singapore) LL.M (Harvard) is a public intellectual
and adviser on in political and economic issues. He teaches international law and public policy at
the National University of Singapore and is concurrently chairman of the Singapore Institute of
International Affairs, a non-governmental think tank that represents Singapore in the influential
ASEAN-ISIS network of regional think tanks. For 2009, he was with the Asia Society in New York,
as Schwartz Fellow, directing a Task Force report on US-Asia relations under the Obama
From 2002-08, he chaired the National Environment Agency, the country’s major agency for
environmental protection. Prior to that, he was a Nominated Member of the Singapore Parliament
(1997 – 2001) and led public consultations on Singapore in the 21st century, the national concept
plan, and the Singapore Green Plan 2012. He has also directed the Singapore Volunteers
Overseas, the country’s “peace corps”. In 2006, he received the Public Service Medal (Pingat Bakti Masyarakat, PBM), a Singaporean National Day award.
He was a visiting professor to teach at Yale, Harvard Law School and the Fletcher School of Law
and Diplomacy. He has spoken or chaired events for international business meetings including the World Economic Forum. He has featured in the international media, including the BBC, CNN,
Bloomberg, Channel NewsAsia and Financial Times and has a regular column in TODAY
newspaper in Singapore. He also has advised multinational corporations on regional business
investments and on sustainability and environmental issues.
He was a Fulbright scholar (1993-94) at Harvard Law School, where he won the Laylin prize for the
best thesis in international law. In Jan 2000, the World Economic Forum (Davos) named him a
“global leader of tomorrow”. In 2002, he was awarded an Eisenhower Fellowship in the USA. He is
also an award winning writer with five books of stories and poetry.