John Richardson

Visiting Professor

PhD (Political Science), University of Minnesota

John Richardson
Contact Details

DID: +65 6601 3037

Office Location

Residential College 4, University Town
6 College Avenue East #B1-01
Singapore 138614


John Richardson’s contributions in the areas of research, teaching, public policy consulting and academic administration draw upon a diverse background that includes graduate work in political science, anthropology, economics and mathematics. He may be one of a relatively small number of scholar-practitioners to have held academic appointments in five academic disciplines/concentrations Political Science, Systems Engineering, Technology of Management, International Relations Theory and International Development. Before coming to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy as Visiting Professor in 2011, his principal academic appointments were at Case Western Reserve University and, for 30 years at American University, where he was named Professor Emeritus in 2012. He held administrative as well as academic appointments at both these institutions. As the School of International Service’s Director of Doctoral Studies for 10 years, he oversaw the work of scores of Doctoral Students. American University’s Centre for Teaching Excellence, which he directed for 9 years was responsible for the quality of academic instruction, faculty development, academic computing, quantitative methods support, multimedia applications, distance education and all audio-support services. 

He would describe the principal goal of his work, spanning 40 years, as making the results of rigorous public policy analysis widely accessible to policy makers and wider publics. This is reflected in the titles of five books from among those he authored or co-authored and a sixth, describing results of a project to which he was a major contributor: Groping in the Dark: The First Decade of Global ModelingMaking it Happen: A Positive Guide to the FutureEnding Hunger: An Idea Whose time Has ComeBreakthrough: New Global ThinkingParadise Poisoned: Learning About Conflict, Terrorism and Development From Sri Lanka’s Civil Warsand Lessons from the Wars. The last is the title of a sixteen volume series, eight in Sinhala and eight in Tamil describing Sri Lanka’s two civil wars. Eight of the sixteen volumes, which are based on the larger work, Paradise Poisoned, have been completed, so far. John’s other publications have included academic journal articles, book chapters, research reports and publications in other venues. He is also appeared on radio and television in the U.S. and internationally. His consulting has included work with governments, business and non-for-profit organizations in Germany, France, Egypt, Iran, India, Sri Lanka and United States. Projects on which he collaborated or lead have been the recipient of funding from foundations, non-for-profit organizations and governments. 

Among awards and recognition he has received, three are most noteworthy. In 1982, he was named by an international committee of the Society for Computer Simulation as “One of the Twenty Most Effective Decision-Makers in the World.” In 2012, he was named by the Balaton Group, an international network of scholars in fields related to systems and sustainability as its “Member of the Year.” In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the System Dynamics Society. At the time this was only the third time award had been given in 30 year history of the Society. At American University he was named by the School of International Service as its “Scholar Teacher of the Year” on three occasions and has received numerous other awards for academic program development and service to the university community.

For John Richardson’s resume for media, click here.

Useful Links

John Richardson - CV

Media Expertise

  • Global development and resilience
  • Sri Lanka's conflicts


Recent Academic Publications

  • Paradise Poisoned: Learning About Conflict: Terrorism and Development from Sri Lanka’s Civil Wars. (Kandy: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 2005)
  • “What U.S. Policy Makers Could – and Should −Learn from Sri Lanka’s Civil Wars.”. In K.M. deSilva, ed., Violent Conflict, Terrorism and Nation Building: National and International Responses in Sri Lanka and Other South Asian Countries. Kandy, Sri Lanka: International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 2009, pp. 183-193.
  • “Violent Conflict and the First Half Decade of Open Economy Policies in Sri Lanka: A Revisionist View.” In Deborah Winslow and Michael D. Woost, Eds., Economy, Culture and Civil War in Sri Lanka. University of Indiana Press, 2004, pp. 41-72.
  • “The Improbable Resilience of Singapore.” (With Elizabeth Ong Ling Lee). Solutions, September-October 2012.
  • 10 Imperatives for Peace.” Bio 40:6 (November-December 2006)

Working Papers

  • Higher Education Opportunities in the Republic of Maldives: First Impressions from a Two Day Exploratory Visit. Report to the Ministry of Higher Education and the Executive Office of the President, Republic of Maldives. July 2006

Presentations or Conference Papers

  • “Crafting System Dynamics Models and Making them Accessible: Lessons from 40 years of Experience ” Opening Plenary Address, International System Dynamics Conference, Washington D.C. 2011. Also delivered a similar paper as the opening plenary address at the the Annual Meeting of the Balaton Group, at Balatonsemmes Hungary in September 2012
  • “The Relevance of Urban Dynamics to Singapore’s Success Story: Lessons for Moving Beyond the Crisis.” Given at the International Meeting of the System Dynamics Society, Seoul Korea, July 2010. Coauthored with Elizabeth Ong Ling Lee, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University Of Singapore
  • “Learning by Doing: A Path to Creating Original System Dynamics Modeling Projects.” Workshop given at the International Meeting of The System Dynamics Society, St. Gallen Switzerland, July 2012. Coauthored with Rehan Ali, Global Asia Institute, National University of Singapore.
  • “Designing a Sustainable Population Strategy for Singapore: How System Dynamics Modeling Can Help.” Presentation to the GAI Signature Conference, National University of Singapore. July 12.

Policy Briefs

  • “Politics in Sri Lanka; From Past to Present” Given at the Roundtable on Sri Lanka Organized by the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State.
  • Other briefings on post Sri Lanka, written and unwritten, in Sri Lanka and the United States have been off the record and are not included.


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