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SEA Studies Symposium 2014 – Keynotes

“Southeast Asia in Transition”

22 – 23 March 2014

Keble College, University of Oxford

Keynote 1:

Stephen Lillie (Head of the Asia-Pacific Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Born in 1966, Mr Stephen Lillie joined the Diplomatic Service after graduating in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford in 1988. He was the Head of the Far Eastern Group in the Asia Pacific Directorate at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London before coming to the Philippines as Her Majesty’s Ambassador in August 2009. He left the Philippines in 2 July 2013 to become Head of the Asia Pacific Directorate at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Previous positions include:

2003 – 2006 New Delhi, Counsellor (Economic) and Director of Trade & Investment
1999 – 2003 Guangzhou, Her Majesty’s Consul-General
1998 – 1999 FCO, Deputy Head, China Hong Kong Department
1997 – 1998 FCO, Head of Section, Hong Kong Department
1996 – 1997 FCO, Head of Section, European Union Department (Internal)
1992 – 1995 Beijing, Second, later First, Secretary (Economic & Political)
1989 – 1991 Full-time Mandarin language training in London and Hong Kong
1988 – 1989 FCO, Assistant Desk Officer, Middle East Department

Keynote 2:

Tony Pua (Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara, Malaysia) 


Tony Pua is a Member of the Malaysian Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara. He was first elected in March 2008 and re-elected in May 2013 with the 2nd highest majority in the country.   He is also the National Publicity Secretary for the Democratic Action Party (DAP). The DAP has the 2nd highest number of elected representatives in the Malaysian parliament and is part of the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat (“People’s Alliance”).

Tony was formerly the founder and CEO of Cyber Village Holdings Limited, an e-business consulting firm. He was then the youngest CEO/Founder of a company listed on the Singapore Exchange at the age of 29 in 2001.  He resigned and sold his stake in the company to enter the Malaysian political arena on a full-time basis in 2007.

Pua graduated from Keble College, University of Oxford, with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 2004. He completed his “O” and “A”-Levels in Raffles Institution, Singapore.


Reception Speaker:

Abdul Wahid Omar


Senator Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysia)

Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, aged 50, was appointed as a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Economic Planning on 5th June 2013. He oversees a number of government agencies such as Economic Planning Unit, Public-Private partnership Unit (UKAS), Department of Statistics, Ekuiti Nasional Berhad (EKUINAS), Talent Corporation (TALENCORP), TERAJU and Yayasan Pendidikan Peneraju Bumiputera. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid was formerly the President and CEO of Maybank, Malaysia’s largest banking group and the fourth largest in Southeast Asia, from May 2008. He was also the Chairman of The Association of Banks in Malaysia. He is a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (UK) and a Member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants.

Maybank is the third large organisation that he has led as CEO. Prior to joining Maybank, he was Group Chief Executive Officer of Telekom Malaysia Berhad from July 2004 until its demerger with Axiata Group Berhad in April 2008. He was also formerly Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UEM Group Berhad as well as Executive Vice Chairman of PLUS Expressways Berhad.

His strong track record in corporate and financial management began with the banking sector in 1988 when he joined Bumiputra Merchant Bankers Berhad. He later took on senior management positions at Kumpulan FIMA Berhad (Senior Vice President, Finance) and at Amanah Capital Group overseeing the Capital Market & Securities Division.

In recognition of his outstanding leadership in the corporate sector, Dato’ Sri Abdul Wahid was the recipient of the Malaysia’s CEO of the Year Award from Business Times/American Express in 2006 and The Edge Value Creator Award 2013. He was also conferred with the Asian Banker 2013 Leadership Achievement Award for Malaysia.


Dinner Speaker:

Sir David Weatherall (Regius Professor of Medicine Emeritus, University of Oxford; Patron, Project Southeast Asia)

Sir David Weatherall

Professor Sir David Weatherall is a renowned British physician and researcher in molecular genetics, haematology, pathology and clinical medicine. He is Regius Professor of Medicine Emeritus, retired Honorary Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford, and Chancellor of Keele University. He is also patron of Project Southeast Asia.

After completing his medical and house staff training, Prof Weatherall joined the army for a 2-year assignment. Shipped to Singapore and put in charge of a children’s ward at the British Military Hospital, one of Prof Weatherall’s patients was a Ghurka child whom he eventually diagnosed as having homozygous β thalassemia with his biochemist colleague Frank Vella. They published their findings in the British Medical Journal, thus launching his distinguished research career. In the 50 years since then, Prof Weatherall has developed tests and clinics worldwide for children affected by the blood disease thalassemia. He also founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford in 1989. The Institute was later renamed the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in his honour upon his retirement in 2000.

Prof Weatherall was appointed Nuffield Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Oxford in 1974. In 1992, he assumed the prestigious chair, the Regius Professor of Medicine, until his retirement. He was knighted in 1987, received the Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Couronne in 1994, and the post of Deputy Lieutenant for Oxfordshire in 2000.

Prof Weatherall has received numerous awards including the Feldberg Foundation Award for Bioscience (1984), the Royal Medal, Royal Society (1989), the Helmut Horten Research Award (jointly with S. Orkin & Y.W. Kan in 1995), the Prince Mahidol Prize in Medicine (2002), the Allen Award of the American Society of Human Genetics (2003), and the Mendel Medal from The Genetics Society (2006). He was also awarded the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science in 2010 for his dedication to the research and treatment of hereditary blood disorders. The award is given to living persons who have made major contributions to medical science or who have performed public service on behalf of medicine. Prof Weatherall is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Sciences.