Dr Aaron Maniam, FRSA, is a trained facilitator of inter-religious dialogue from Singapore, where he has convened conversation circles as part of the Explorations into Faiths programme, as well as led processes combining interfaith issues with creative writing, futures thinking, and other innovative facilitation techniques. In 2017, he delivered the Abdul Aleem Siddique Memorial Lecture for the Singapore Harmony Centre, an annual lecture series featuring thought leaders, religious leaders and interfaith practitioners. He has also designed and delivered strategy, vision and futures thinking workshops for religious communities, including the Camaldolese Hermits of America, which he visits regularly for personal retreats, and the Franciscans in Singapore and Malaysia. A practising Muslim, his extended family includes members who are Roman Catholic, Hindus and Buddhists.
Aaron is a Fellow of Practice and Director of Digital Transformation Education at the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. His work focuses on issues connecting technology, public policy and public administration. He teaches on the School’s Masters of Public Policy and executive education programmes, and convenes its digital “thematic cluster”, bringing together scholarship and practice on digital issues. Aaron co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on the Future of Technology Policy and is a member of the OECD’s Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (AI) Futures.
Previously a policymaker in the Singapore government, he was most recently Deputy Secretary (Industry & International) at the Singapore Ministry of Communications & Information, overseeing the ministry’s work in the digital economy, digital literacy and inclusion, and digital diplomacy – with a concurrent cross-government role coordinating Singapore’s strategy in global branding, soft power and public diplomacy. Before that, he served in the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Trade & Industry, the Public Service Division and Civil Service College; and was the founding Head of the Centre for Strategic Futures, currently under the Prime Minister’s Office Strategy Group.
Aaron was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2013, by the Asia Society as an Asia 21 Young Leader in 2007, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts, Manufacture and Commerce (FRSA).
Aaron received his DPhil from the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford on a Clarendon Scholarship. His dissertation was focused on comparing the work of leading digital states like Estonia, New Zealand and Singapore. He holds an MPP from the School (with Distinction), a Master of Arts in International and Development Economics from Yale University, and a BA (double first-class honours) from the University Oxford in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Find out more about Aaron’s approach to interfaith work here.