In this episode, Bilahari Kausikan discusses the success of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in promoting economic development and peace and security in the region; the evolving relationship of Southeast Asia with its powerful neighbors, China and Japan; how Singapore can stay relevant in a post-COVID world; the economic impact of increased digitization; and the vital role of the United States in maintaining stability in the Indo-Pacific region as a whole.

Bilahari Kausikan


Mr. Bilahari Kausikan is currently Chairman of the Middle East Institute, an autonomous institute of the National University of Singapore. 

From 2001 to 2013, Mr. Kausikan was first the second Permanent Secretary and then Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was subsequently Ambassador-at-Large until May 2018. He had previously served in a variety of appointments in the Ministry, including as the Deputy Secretary for Southeast Asia, the Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York and as Ambassador to the Russian Federation. 

Mr. Kausikan has attended Raffles Institution, the University of Singapore and Columbia University in New York.

Edward Ler, Chubb


Edward Ler is the Head of Southeast Asia where he is responsible for the general management and business results of Chubb’s general insurance operations. 

Mr. Ler’s career in the insurance industry spans a variety of managerial roles covering the Asia Pacific, the Middle East and European markets. Prior to his current role, he was Country President of Chubb’s general insurance operations in Korea from 2018 to 2021, and Regional Head of International Personal Lines for Chubb’s general insurance business in Indonesia. 

Before joining Chubb, Mr. Ler worked in the RSA Group as the Regional Director for Underwriting, Claims and Reinsurance in Asia. He began his career as a regional underwriter for Allianz.

Mr. Ler holds a Bachelor of Arts (with distinction) degree from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an Associateship from the Chartered Insurance Institute. 

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