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Serina Abdul Rahman

Visiting Fellow (Malaysia Programme/ Regional Economic Studies), ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Serina Rahman is a Visiting Fellow under the Malaysia Programme at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore. She graduated from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing then trained as an English teacher at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore. In between teaching stints, Serina took up a Masters in Applied Linguistics at the University of Wales, Cardiff, specialising in Orientalism in Colonial Imagery. She then left the profession to work as a Content Programmer for Discovery Travel & Adventure (Discovery Networks, Asia), before moving to Malaysia in 2004 to dedicate her time to marine environmental organisations and island/coastal communities.

Serina co-founded Kelab Alami, a community organisation in a fishing village in Johor in 2009 to empower the community through environmental education for habitat conservation. This work then became the subject of her PhD in Science at Universiti Teknologi MARA, Shah Alam, Malaysia. In 2012 she moved back to Kuala Lumpur to work on Community Engagement for the University of Malaya before becoming Director of UMCares – The Community & Sustainability Centre. In 2015, Serina returned to Johor to begin work (and the daily cross-border commute) at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore. At the same time, she evolved the programme at Kelab Alami to focus on community capacity-buliding as an adaptation strategy for unavoidable development and habitat damage.

Serina is a conservation scientist and environmental anthropologist. Her research interests lie in marine communities; human, floral and faunal; as well as their interaction and preservation. She specialises in sustainable development and education for sustainable development; community empowerment; environmental issues; and innovations for inclusive development for urban and rural poor. She also dabbles in matters of faith, language, ethnicity and cultural preservation. With a fortunate childhood as a global nomad and a long immersion in Malaysian coastal communities, Serina now has unique insights into realities on the ground and worlds often hidden away from view.


  • 2016–present
    Visiting Fellow, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute
  • 2015–2016
    Research Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University
  • 2014–2015
    Director, UMCares - The Community & Sustainability Centre, University Malaya
  • 2013–2014
    Community Engagement Manager, CItRa - Community & Industry Relations Centre, Universiti Malaya


  • 2014 
    Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, PhD in Science
  • 2000 
    University of Wales, Cardiff, MA in Applied Linguistics
  • 1998 
    National Institute of Education, Singapore, PGDE (Secondary English)
  • 1996 
    Nanyang Technological University, B.Bus (Marketing)