Institute of South Asian Studies
National University of Singapore; and
Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Mr Gopinath Pillai graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Malaya in 1961. He is currently Chairman of the Management Board of the Institute of South Asian Studies, Ambassador-at-Large in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since August 2008, and Singapore’s Special Envoy to Andhra Pradesh. He was recently appointed as Chairman of the Indian Heritage Centre.
Mr Pillai has had a varied career as a journalist, teacher, entrepreneur and corporate leader. His business interests include education, logistics, and information technology. He is Chairman of Playware Studios Pte Ltd, an EdTech company focused on game based learning and education.
He is also a distinguished diplomat with over 25 years’ experience and was Singapore’s longest serving Non-Resident Ambassador to Iran between 1989 and 2008, and also served as Singapore’s High Commissioner to Pakistan.
Mr Pillai has been involved in organisations connected to social development. He was the Founding Chairman of the NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Limited, Chairman of the Hindu Advisory Board, and President of the National University of Singapore Society.
Mr Pillai has received several awards, including the Friend of Labour and Meritorious Award from NTUC in 1987 and 1990, respectively; Friend of MCD from the Ministry of Community Development in 1998; Friend of IT from Singapore Computer Society in 2001, and Outstanding Service Award from the National University of Singapore in 2015.
For his manifold contributions to public service, the Singapore government has awarded him the Public Service Star Award (BBM) in 1999, BBM (BAR) in 2009 and The Meritorious Service Medal in 2015. For his efforts in bridging and advancing Singapore-India relations, the Indian government conferred him with the Padma Shri Award at the 2012 Republic Day.