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As the world becomes more interconnected, and the opportunities for cross-sector collaborations grow, a new type of leadership has emerged. On a macro level, Societal Leadership is about wielding influence across sectors to make societies better. From an individual standpoint, it is the practice of creating sustainable value and impact for the betterment of society, within one’s sphere of influence.

The inaugural Societal Leadership Summit will gather societal leaders who are looking to make a difference in Southeast Asia to engage in meaningful discussions that will raise deeper questions and generate new perspectives to better address the issues they are grappling with.

This will be an annual platform where conversations among societal leaders in Southeast Asia could lead to greater commitment to the region and greater collaboration across sectors to meet the region’s most pressing societal needs.

8:00am – 9:00am

Registration and Welcome Breakfast

9:00am – 10:10am

Opening Address

Keynote Panel 1

Topic: The Need for Societal Leadership

Today, in a complex world where governments have become more transient and businesses have been accused of being self-serving, who will step up, own the change and make the difference? Who will step forward as leaders and how will this leadership of societies evolve? Do we still hang on to the notion of the single 'saviour' or will everyone have to step up and collaborate for a better future? If societal leadership is so important, why do we understand so little about it?


Mr Ho Kwon Ping, Chairman, Singapore Management University

Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President, Singapore Management University

Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Social Scientist and Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General


Mr Martin Tan, Executive Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

10:10am – 10:30am

Tea Break

10:30am – 10:45am

Introduction to Societal Leadership in Southeast Asia


Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Academic Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

10:45am – 12:30pm

Panel Session 2

Topic: Forces Affecting Societal Leaders in Southeast Asia

The significance of context has become widely accepted. When attempting to positively effect change, leaders need to better understand the context to bring about change. But what drives context? How well do we appreciate context? And when that context is Southeast Asia, what are the forces affecting the different layers of the region - from country to city to village to individual? What are the forces that will bring about profound economic and sociological transformation?


Mr Don Lam, CEO, VinaCapital Group

Mr Tony Meloto, Founder, Gawad Kalinga

Mr Tham Sai Choy, Managing Partner, KPMG Singapore 


Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Academic Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

12:30pm – 2:00pm

Lunch – Digital Narratives of Asia & Catalyst Asia screening

2:00pm – 3:30pm

Breakout Session 1

2 concurrent sessions with the following topics:

a) Skills & Competencies: What are the capabilities required?

Venue: Mochtar Riady Auditorium, Level 5

Challenges in the areas of skills and competencies are not unique to the social sector.  To attract, train and retain talent, urgent gaps need to be bridged. How can talent move beyond defined boundaries and sectors to bring capabilities to the social sector? How critical is enterprise capability development to the social sector? How can capabilities be built structurally when everyone is still hoping for voluntary efforts?

b) Academia: What can universities do to add value?

Venue: Function Room, Level 6

If universities are meant to prepare students for the real world, how can universities, with their vast resources, research capabilities and extensive networks, prepare students for the complex issues confronting the social sector?  As more students choose to invest in the social space, how can universities play a more active role in providing knowledge, platforms and skills to further public good? How can opportunities in the social sector impact universities’ programming and content creation?


Mr Sebastien Lamy, Partner, Bain & Company 

Ms Kelly Macdonald, Co-founder, Yangon Bakehouse

U Maung Maung Soe Tint, Chairman, Border Areas Development Association

Father Jose Ramon T. Villarin, President, Ateneo de Manila University

Professor Imran Ho Abdullah, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia


Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Academic Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

Mr Martin Tan, Executive Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

3:30pm – 4:00pm

Tea Break

4:00pm – 5:30pm

Breakout Session 2

2 concurrent sessions with the following topics:

a) Solutions: Where are the answers coming from?

Venue: Mochtar Riady Auditorium, Level 5

In our rapidly changing landscape and increasingly complex world,   governments can no longer be the only ones responsible for solving societies' biggest problems. A new solutions economy has emerged and with it, an entire economy of problem solvers all ready to reimagine possibilities and embrace new ways of tackling social issues. How can they collaborate to generate better solutions? How does sustainability impact the quality of the solutions? Where will better answers come from?

b) Funding: Where does the money come from?

Venue: Function Room, Level 6

The social sector faces a myriad of challenges but nothing beats the perennial issue of funding. Increasingly, funders are demanding return on investment and are also more specific in dictating the areas that funding goes to. Over-reliance on external funding sources results in the sector demonstrating value and accountability to funders instead of focusing on serving societal needs. What are funders looking for when they evaluate programmes and proposals? How do we get them to fund administrative costs? How can the social sector be more sustainable and move away from the dependence on external funding? And what happens when funders want to fund their own self created initiatives? Are they still really ‘funders'?


Datin Goh Suet Lan, President Elect, TECH Outreach

Ms Phng Li Kheng, Green Project Manager, Kechara Forest Retreat

Mr Eugene Wee, Founder, RADION International

Ms Veronica Colondam, Founder, YCAB Foundation

Mr V Shankar, Advisory Board Member, Institute for Societal Leadership

Mr Kevin Teo, Managing Director, Knowledge Centre, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network



Mr Tony Lai, Chief Strategist, Institute for Societal Leadership

Mr Martin Tan, Executive Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

8:30am – 9:00am

Registration & Breakfast

 9:00am – 10:00am

Keynote Speaker

Topic: Challenges & Innovation in the Social Space

Innovation has been the answer to many challenges in the business world for decades. With tougher economies, radical shifts in opportunities and exceedingly demanding expectations, innovation has taken on another dimension in the social sector. Individuals and organisations are rising to the challenge and are examining issues with new lenses and approaching them creatively. How will innovation disrupt the social space? How can societal leaders drive innovation and establish innovative cultures? 

Keynote Speaker

Mr Laurence Lien, Co-Founder & CEO, Asian Philanthropy Circle

10:00am – 10:30am

Tea Break

10:30am  – 12:00pm 

Panel Session 3

Topic: Future Trends in the Social Space

The social sector landscape is evolving as the world population grows, economies prosper and societies become more interconnected. Looking ahead, what are the opportunities and challenges in the social sector and how will the sector cope with the changes, especially in a technologically advanced and wired world? What can governments, businesses and civil societies do to shape the future of the social space? 


Mr En Lee, Head, Asia Pacific, LGT Venture Philanthropy

Dr Lim Kim Hwa, CEO, Penang Institute

Mr Tong Yee, Co-founder, The Thought Collective


Dr Lim Lai Cheng, Academic Director, Institute for Societal Leadership

12:00pm – 12:15pm

Closing Remarks

12:15pm – 1:30pm


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Last updated on 26 Sep 2016 .