Dr. Tay Keong Tan

Director of the International Studies

Tay Keong Tan Pic

Dr. Tay Keong Tan is Director of International Studies and Leadership Studies at Radford University. He teaches leadership, international studies, and public administration. His research is focused on global sustainability; he is author and editor of five recent books on sustainable development and anti-corruption. He served as the Chief of Staff of the Office of Internal Oversight Services at the United Nations and led organizations in Singapore, Israel and the United States. For more than a decade, Tay Keong worked a consultant specializing in governance, anti-corruption, and public management in more than two dozen countries, including Armenia, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Dr. Tan has a doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Dr. Tan's CV [PDF]


INST 101 - Introduction to International Studies

POSC 390 - Global Crisis

Dr. Tay Keong Tan’s INST 101 students engage in simulation exercise designed to bring the world back from the brink of collapse. Read a student-penned article on the simulation. (see the full story here)

On March 19, 2015, Dr. Tay Keong Tan’s senior seminar class on capitalism and globalization gathered to debate whether recent terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists in France, the US, and Canada are caused by a longstanding clash of values between Islamic and Western civilizations. The debate was arranged to include a proposition team, an opposition team, an adjudicating team, and a team of reporters, each consisting of four members.

On November 19th, 2015 students in Dr. Tay Keong Tan’s POSC 300 Public Administration class delivered their consulting report to Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread. The student consulting team advised the local non-profit on how to solve a facilities problem, weighing numerous options and recommending the best course of action. Students were exposed to real-world skills in this Scholar-Citizen Initiative class. They learned to interact professionally with a client organization, analyze real-world problems, find solutions, and deliver a public report.

See the students' report and Radford-Fairlawn Daily Bread’s letter of appreciation.

Another group of students in Dr. Tan's POSC 300 Public Administration class, worked with the City of Galax Volunteer Fire and Rescue to solve the problems of declining volunteerism rates and rising costs for the department. After three months of work, the student consultants recommended a "hybrid model" organizational structure to help the department maintain its strong volunteer ethos of service and sacrifice and at the same time fundraise and seek the City Council's support for essential non-operational career positions. The project's impact on the Galax Fire Department and City Council are now unfolding. The student consultants and the instructor have been invited to present their recommendations to the Mayor and City Council of Galax during their budget meeting on the evening of Monday, February 8, 2016.

See the students' report and Galax Fire Department's letter of appreciation


Testimonial Letter from the Blue Mountain School, Floyd, Virginia for pro bono board development work.

Exciting Events

April 19, 2015: Dr. Tay Keong Tan interviewed by Lianhe Zaobao on political leadership in Singapore after the death of long-time leader Lee Kuan Yew. (link)

December 9-10, 2014: Dr. Tay Keong Tan has been invited to be a participant in the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Global Compact's 10th Principle against Corruption in New York, NY.  The event will bring together over 200 anti-corruption champions from business, governments, civil society, Global Compact local networks, UN organizations, and other stakeholders;  it will be a platform to share lessons learned and explore effective ways to engage in activities and partnerships that advance the global fight against corruption.  Dr. Tan is a globally renowned expert on anti-corruption who was previously Chief Learning Officer and Indonesia Program Director at Integrity Action.  He has also consulted on anti-corruption with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank in many Asian countries.  For more information on the event, viewers can click on: https://anti-corruption.org/10th-year-global-compact/

Dr. Tan is a long standing member of the UN Global Compact's Anti-Corruption Working Group. Currently, he is co-author of a book with the working group's global scholars on applying the Global Compact's Anti-corruption Toolkit to strengthen university teaching in ethics and anti-corruption around the world.  

November 17, 2014: Dr. Tay Keong Tan is participating in a series of events hosted by Viginia Tech. The event lasts from 7:00PM to 8:00PM in Fralin Auditorium on Virginia Tech's campus. Admission is free. (flyer)

Dr. Tan was also featured on WUVT's Talk and the Table. Dr. Tan spoke with three graduate students from Virginia Tech about his life before academics and how entered his specialty; his work on the corruption in Bhutan; and how individuals would react to mismanagement of funds in other corrupted countries. (see pictures here) (listen to the radio show here)

While working on an Asian Development Bank Project to fight corruption in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan in 2012/2013, Dr. Tay Keong Tan helped the small, reclusive nation put in place systems to strengthen integrity and governance. Bhutan is the world’s newest democracy. The King abdicated in 2007 and instituted a system of constitutional democracy with new legislative, executive, and judicial institutions. Nation and local elections were held across the nation for the first time in 2008. During the project, Dr. Tan and his team worked with the Anti-Corruption Commission to strengthen its capacity to tackle the corruption cases in the country. During this project, the ACC successfully prosecuted the Speaker of the Parliament and Home Affairs Minister for corruption in a high-profile land-grabbing case. The court proceedings and ensuing scandal contributed to a landslide victory by the opposition party in mid-2013 general elections against the ruling party. More important, the watchdog agency sent a powerful deterrent message to politicians and citizens throughout the land – that corruption does not pay and no one is above the law.

What can a poor nation and fledgling democracy do to slay the dragon of corruption when so many other countries have failed? What can a nascent government of Bhutan do to strengthen integrity in its institutions and society, in a country with a small middle class, weak private sector and an undeveloped civil society? Around the world many developing countries fare badly in corruption control - can anything be done to rein in the forces of nepotism, collusion, and abuse in a relatively poor nation?  Even if the Bhutanese succeed in reining in malpractice and graft, how can the fight be sustained as the economy grows and the nation matures? Finally, what practical lessons can be drawn from this last remaining paradise for the rest of the world? Could the Bhutan experience teach us anything about integrity and good governance in the New River Valley region?