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Speakers & Panelists

Dr. Paul Chambers

Director of Research
Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEEA), Thailand

Paul Chambers currently serves as Director of Research, Institute of Southeast Asian Affairs (ISEAA), Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand and as Research Affiliate at both the German Institute of Global Area Studies (GIGA) in Hamburg, Germany, as well as the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) in Frankfurt, Germany. Prof. Chambers completed an MA in International Affairs and an MA in political science, both at Ohio University. Following this, he became a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand's rural northeast. He lived and worked in Thailand and Lao PDR for 5 years. "Ajarn Paul," as he is referred to in Thai, returned to Thailand in 2001 as a Fulbright fellow where he conducted research for his dissertation, which focused on democratization and political parties in Thailand.

He graduated with a Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University in 2003. In 2003-5, Dr. Chambers was a visiting assistant professor of political science at the University of Oklahoma. The following year he taught political science at Chiang Mai University and then from 2006 until 2008 taught Southeast Asian politics and served as Academic Coordinator of the Southeast Asian Institute of Global Studies at Payap University in Chiang Mai. From 2008 until 2011, Prof. Chambers served as research fellow at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany. There he scrutinized civil-military relations in select countries of Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand and the Philippines. In 2011 he returned to Chiang Mai and since 2013 has served in his current post at Chiang Mai University.

Dr. Chambers has spent over 20 years off-and-on in Southeast Asia (particularly Thailand) both teaching and researching. His research interests focus on civil-military relations in Southeast Asia; international politics of Southeast Asia; dictatorship and democratization in Southeast Asia; and the Political Economy of Less Developed Nations in the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Dr. Chambers has written four books ( three books on the security sector in Southeast Asia) as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters about the military, democratization, and international politics of Southeast Asia.

His articles have appeared in Asian Survey, Contemporary Southeast Asia and Asian Security, among others. He has focused his research upon Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. He is regularly quoted in the media as an expert on Thailand’s security sector and is often interviewed in the print, radio and television media.

Paul Chambers is a member of NRCI's Global Advisory Board.

Anton Chan

Research Analyst
International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Anton Chan is a Research Analyst at the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He works in Centre’s Southeast Asia Department, and areas of interest include self-radicalization, law enforcement efforts to counter terrorism and political and security dynamics in Southeast Asia.

Anton previously served as an Officer in the Singapore Armed Forces’ Military Security Department (MSD), and has also worked at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank’s Regional Crisis Management and Security Centre covering the Asia Pacific region.

Anton holds a B(A) in Philosophy from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and is completing his Thesis for an MSc in International Relations at Nanyang Technological University.

Arne Elias Corneliussen

Founder & CEO

Arne Elias Corneliussen is the Founder & CEO of Norwegian Risk Consulting International (NRCI), a political risk consulting company based in Oslo. NRCI provides daily, monthly and tailor-made analysis and consulting services to Companies and investors expanding into Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Arne Elias Corneliussen received his bachelor of arts in political science at Wittenberg University in Ohio in 1998. He conducted research on Islamic terrorism at The Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. He has lived in Santiago, Chile where he conducted research on South America´s democratization and economic integration, and US foreign policy towards Colombia. In addition, Corneliussen has studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC) in Egypt. He later continued and completed a master of arts in international relations and a master of public administration (MPA) at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York in 2000.

He worked as a political analyst for the Norwegian Armed Forces in Kosovo from 2001 until 2002. Since 2002 he held different roles in the corporate sector in Norway including sales, international business development and headhunting.

During 2013 Corneliussen spent 4 months travelling on fact-finding journeys mapping risks through 20 countries in eastern, southern and western Africa. In 2014 Corneliussen travelled through 10 countries in Southeast Asia mapping political and security risks, building network with local contacts and analyzed the business environments.

Arne Elias Corneliussen founded NRCI in 2010.

Per Quang Fjellstad

General Manager
Cavoi Ltd., Vung Tau, Vietnam

Per Quang Fjellstad is the general manager and owner of CAVOI Ltd., a consulting company based in Vung Tau City, Vietnam. CAVOI Ltd provides a broad range of consulting services for companies that expands or sets up new business in Vietnam.

Per Q. Fjellstad received his Master's degree in Marketing from BI Norwegian Business School in 2003, he also studied at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He later studied and was awarded an Executive MBA from the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo.

Per Q. Fjellstad has worked in Vietnam since 2006, and gained experience and a valuable network with local government and authorities in Ba Ria - Vung Tau province, which is one of the top five provinces for FDI in Vietnam.

He has previously worked as the General Manager for Maritime Interior Vietnam (subsidiary of the Marinacc group). He also worked as a Business Development Manager at ODIM Vietnam (now part of Rolls Royce Marine), and as the Operations Manager at Aker Yards Vietnam. At ODIM, he was part of the initial team that was sent to set up the greenfield factory in Vung Tau.

Sidney Jones

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, Jakarta

From 2002 to 2013, Jones worked with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia project director, then from 2007 as senior adviser to the Asia program.

Before joining Crisis Group, she worked for the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and New York (1977-84); Amnesty International in London as the Indonesia-Philippines-Pacific researcher (1985-88); and Human Rights Watch in New York as the Asia director (1989-2002).

She holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She lived in Shiraz, Iran for one year as a university student, 1971-72, and studied Arabic in Cairo and Tunisia. She received an honorary doctorate in 2006 from the New School in New York.

Maria Ressa

CEO and Executive Editor
Rappler, Philippines

Maria A. Ressa is the CEO and Executive Editor of Rappler, a social news network which uses a hearts and minds approach to news through a unique mood navigator. Rappler combines the best of professional journalism with citizen journalism and crowdsourcing.

Maria has been a journalist in Asia for more than 25 years, most of them as CNN's bureau chief in Manila then Jakarta. She became CNN's lead investigative reporter focusing on terrorism networks and wrote Seeds of Terror: An Eyewitness Account of al-Qaeda's Newest Center of Operations in Southeast Asia in 2003. The book was the first from the region documenting the growth of Jemaah Islamiyah and its links to al-Qaeda.

Maria has worked for every major television network in the Philippines and was one of the founders of independent production company, Probe. In 2005, she became the senior vice-president of ABS-CBN's news group, heading the largest multi-platform news operation in the Philippines. For 6 years, she set strategic direction, ran training programs for more than 1,000 journalists and helped put together a comprehensive standards & ethics manual. She streamlined workflows and helped increase the group's gross profit rate from 54% to 70%.

Maria taught courses in politics and media for her alma mater, Princeton University, and in broadcast principles at the University of the Philippines. Her recent book, From Bin Laden to Facebook, is part of her work as author-in-residence and senior fellow at the International Centre for Political Violence & Terrorism Research at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Maria Ressa is a member of NRCI's Global Advisory Board.

Torunn Taralrud

Regional Director – South & Southeast Asia
Innovation Norway

Torunn Aass Taralrud is heading the regional office of Innovation Norway for South and Southeast Asia, based in Singapore. Before joining Innovation Norway as regional director for the Oppland County office in 2004, Taralrud came from the position of vice board chairman, representing private sector. Taralrud has more than 20 years’ experience as owner and manager of private companies in Norway.

These positions involved risk management, including operational responsibility for HSE in a broader sense dealing with the larger oil companies. As result of this work the company was awarded Norwegian Petroleum Institute’s HSE award. In connection with this, Taralrud wrote articles related to implementing and operating HSE systems within the transport sector.

Taralrud has broad board experience from public and private sectors, both as chairman and director for production and energy companies, insurance and seed funds. Based on her educational background and experience within Innovation Management, Taralrud has for many years been acting as mentor for young business people heading for management or board positions.

H. E. Ambassador Hans Ola Urstad

H.E. Ambassador
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kuala Lumpur

Hans Ola Urstad holds a Cand. Polit. degree from the University of Oslo, his studies focused around languages, International Relations and International Law. He spent around two years at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute before entering the Foreign Service in 1980.

Urstad served in Poland during the martial law period and at NATO in Brussels during the Gorbachev era. Back in Norway, he became Head (byråsjef) of Personnel at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in 1991 he started on a four year period as Head of the International Department of the Parliament, Stortinget, as well as Chief of Staff to the Foreign Affairs and Constitutional Committee, during the period when the EEA-agreement was adopted.

Urstad became Consul General in San Francisco in 1995 covering the twelve westernmost states of the USA, heading the establishment of an IT/High Tech Silicon Valley focused mission there. In 2001, shortly after the bombing of Serbia, he took over as Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro. In 2006 he became Ambassador and Head of Mission to the OSCE in Belgrade, leading a mission with 50 international experts and 200 employees in all. Urstad went back to the MFA in Oslo in 2009, and in 2012 he moved to Malaysia to become Ambassador to Malaysia and to Brunei.

Audun Aagre

Norwegian Burma Committee

Audun Aagre is director of the Norwegian Burma Committee (NBC) and came recently back to Oslo after several months working from Yangon. NBC has supported democratisation and human rights in Burma/Myanmar for more than 20 years, and runs several projects in close collaboration with local partners. Due to its long history NBC maintains its position in Myanmar, taking side for democracy and human rights since 1992, when NBC established today main independent broadcaster, Democratic Voice of Burma, and supported the exile government after the 1990 election. Today NBC supports a variety of projects and partners, in different regions and ethnic states, with close contact with main political actors and civil society organisations.

Audun Aagre has worked at NBC for four years, but has been involved in Myanmar issues since 1994, when he first visited the border areas between Thailand and Myanmar, and established Burma Support Group Norway, toghether with other students at the University of Oslo. He has studied History, Philosophy, Film and Spanish Culture at the University of Oslo and at Suffolk University in Madrid. Aagre has worked as a journalist, photographer, author and film maker for ten years before the assignment.