Bio

An academic-activist turned entrepreneur.

Sofiah Jamil is a former think tanker that turned to business to create more real world impact. She was a former researcher at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, which was seminal in developing her (as of now 13) years of experience on issues relating to environmental security and governance, human development in Asia.

Mid-way through pursuing post-graduate research on faith-based environmentalism at the Australian National University, she co-founded Hornbills: Concepts and Communications (HBCC), which specialises in creating and communicating content – serving clients ranging from social enterprises and SMEs, to corporates and government agencies. She is also Editor/Writer at a tech advisory firm, Welchman Keen. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sofiah served as Co-Director, Young Digital Media Professionals Initiative under the Experiential Professional Development Division of the East-West Center, Honolulu, USA.

She was conferred a BA (Honours) from the University of Western Australia in 2006, and an MSc (International Relations) from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in July 2010. She is also Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy – an institution that recognises professional competency in higher education.

Sofiah understands the importance of communication and people-to-people exchanges through her own in experience in several networks. In RSIS, Sofiah was a coordinator for the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia) and ASEAN-Canada Research Partnership. Sofiah was part of the pioneer batches of the ASEAN-Australia Emerging Leaders Programme (2011), and United States Institute on the Environment programme (2009). She was also the youngest participant of the International Asia-Middle East Session in Paris (2010). Organised by France’s Institute for Higher National Defence Studies, the annual 2-week programme brings together mid-career academics, civil servants and military officers from Asia and the Middle East.

In December 2010, Sofiah was featured in Singapore’s Berita Harian newspaper as 1 of 50 Singapore Malay/Muslims to look out for in terms of her work on environmental challenges. Sofiah has also been a speaker at international conferences such as the 2010 World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF)’s Young Leaders Forum, the 2012 Gulf Research Meeting at the University of Cambridge, 2013 Singapore International Energy Week, and 2021 Global Leadership Summit.

Sofiah believes in giving fishing lessons, rather than fish handouts, and has volunteered her time in conceptualising and implementing leadership programs with the World Islamic Economic Foundation, and Singapore’s Young Association of Muslim Professionals. While pursuing fieldwork on Islamic environmentalism, she mentored and delivered motivational seminars to students in 4 boarding schools across Indonesia. In 2021, she was a mentor for the Rising Fempreneur programme, an initiative to empower women from less privileged socio-economic backgrounds in Singapore.

Having spent a considerable time living abroad in Germany, Australia, Indonesia and Morocco, Sofiah created the Breaking Silos Collective, a series of videos that speaks to the core of what Sofiah does and believes in; that is the importance of breaking cultural, class and sectoral silos. Her most recent project is Jalan-Jalan Oman, a platform dedicated to showcasing Oman’s beautiful landscapes, culture and society to an Asian audience.

She is an aspiring polyglot and speaks English, Malay, Indonesian, German, Arabic, and Darija (in order of proficiency).

For complete lists of Sofiah’s publications, click here and here.
For Sofiah’s past media engagements, see here.