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Keynote Plenary 1

Fidel Ramos

Former President of the Philippines


Mr Fidel Ramos was President of the Philippines from 1992 to 1998. Under his leadership, the Philippines experienced a period of political stability and rapid economic growth and expansion.

Prior to his election as president, Mr Ramos served as Secretary of National Defence (1988-1991) and Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (1986-1988) with the rank of General. As President, his policies and programmes to foster national reconciliation and unity led to major peace agreements with Muslim separatists, communist insurgents and military rebels, which renewed investor confidence in the Philippine economy.

Mr Ramos pushed for the deregulation of key industries and the liberalisation of the economy. He encouraged the privatisation of public entities to include the modernisation of public infrastructure through the expanded Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) law.

During the years 1993 to 1997, the Philippine economy recovered dramatically. Gross National Product averaged five percent annually, the total inflow of foreign exchange into the country outpaced that of the combined periods of rule of both Presidents Marcos and Aquino, and the average income of the Filipino family grew more during Mr Ramos’ administration than in the preceding two decades. This allowed Mr Ramos’ government to implement a comprehensive Social Reform Agenda (SRA) that addressed long-standing problems regarding poverty, health, education and skills training, housing, environmental protection, children and the youth, the elderly and the handicapped, jobs and livelihood, agrarian reform, and access to equal opportunity.

The peace agreement which Mr Ramos brokered with military rebels and the MNLF southern secessionists won for him (together with Chairman Nur Misuari) and the Philippines the coveted 1997 UNESCO Peace Prize – the first for Asians. His public service spanned a total period of 51 years.

Mr Ramos founded the Ramos Peace and Development Foundation, a non-partisan and non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of peace and development in the Philippines and in the larger Asia-Pacific region. In 1998, he founded the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), along with Australia's ex-prime minister Bob Hawke, and former Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Morihiro Hosokawa.

BFA is a premier forum for leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents, who are committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.

Goh Chok Tong

Emeritus Senior Minister

Republic of Singapore

Mr Goh Chok Tong was Singapore’s Prime Minister from November 1990 to August 2004.

He graduated with First Class Honours in Economics from the University of Singapore in 1964 and joined the Administrative Service of the Singapore Government that same year. In 1967, he graduated with a Master of Arts in Development Economics from Williams College, USA.

Mr Goh joined national shipping company Neptune Orient Lines in 1969, and was its Managing Director from 1973 to 1977.

He was first elected into Parliament in 1976, and remains a Member of Parliament. Between 1979 and 1990, he served as Minister of Trade and Industry, Health and Defence, respectively. He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1985, and succeeded Mr Lee Kuan Yew on 28 November 1990 as Singapore’s second Prime Minister. He relinquished the premiership in August 2004 to pave the way for leadership renewal.

Mr Goh remained in the Cabinet as Senior Minister and was Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) from August 2004 to May 2011. Upon leaving Cabinet, Mr Goh was given the honorary title of Emeritus Senior Minister.

In April 2017, Mr Goh was appointed Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono

6th President of Indonesia


Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono – known as SBY – is the sixth President of the Republic of Indonesia, and also the country’s first directly-elected President in the democratic era.

During his two terms in office, Dr Yudhoyono delivered what the World Economic Forum called “Indonesia’s golden decade” – a period between 2004 and 2014 that was marked by democratic development, political stability, high economic growth and resilience, conflict resolution as well as a robust international role. Under his leadership, Indonesia became an emerging economy, a regional power, a G-20 member, and assumed important roles on issues ranging from climate change to terrorism and geopolitics, as well as inter-faith and architecture.

Dr Yudhoyono’s life story has been nothing less than phenomenal. He was a military officer who became a 4-star general, then a cabinet minister and politician, then President and one of Asia's most respected statesmen.

However, his time in office was hardly a breeze. He faced a series of natural disasters including the destructive tsunami, separatism, terrorism, financial crisis and more. But he overcame all these challenges with a steady hand. Indonesia recovered from the aftermath of the natural disasters, the conflict in Aceh was peacefully and permanently resolved in mid-2005, terrorist groups were disbanded and detained, and the economy rebounded. And at a time when democracies around the world were in distress, the country’s democracy steadily moved from strength to strength.

With a Ph.D in agricultural economics, Dr Yudhoyono relentlessly pursued his four-track economic programme of “pro-growth, pro-job, pro-poor, and pro-environment”. His development mantra was “sustainable growth with equity”.

As President of a country with the world’s largest Muslim population, Dr Yudhoyono has become a strong advocate for peaceful and moderate Islam, both internally as well as on the global stage. He devoted great efforts to develop closer relations between the western and Islamic world. He also staunchly promoted and became an architect of military reforms, championing Indonesia’s robust peacekeeping operations around the world.

SBY placed ASEAN as top priority in his foreign affairs agenda. Through his commitment and ASEAN’s support, ASEAN was able to maintain overall peace and security, bringing economic growth and prosperity to the region.

In 2011, SBY exercised constructive leadership while chairing ASEAN. Indonesia stepped up and took the lead in numerous affairs, such as driving real action to achieve the ASEAN Community in 2015, settling the dispute between Cambodia and Thailand in Preah Vihear temple, managing any surfaced tensions in the South China Sea dispute, and helping Myanmar in her democratisation process.

SBY is actively engaged in social media. Today, he has around 10 million followers on Twitter, and six million on Facebook.

Keynote Plenary 2

Ambassador Delia Albert

Former Director-General


Madam Delia Domingo Albert is the first woman career diplomat to be named Secretary (Minister) of Foreign Affairs in the Philippines and Asia, after serving in various capacities in the Philippine Foreign Service from 1967 to 2010.

In 2004, she chaired the Security Council of the United Nations and introduced the agenda, “The role of Civil Society in Post-Conflict Peacebuilding”.

In the Home office, she served as Director-General of the ASEAN National Secretariat and later, as Senior Official for APEC, before her appointment as Undersecretary for International Economic Relations.

Among Ambassador Albert's awards are an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from the Philippine Women’s University, the Most Distinguished alumna of the University of the Philippines, and the Knights Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit with Star from the German government, for her efforts in promoting Philippine relations with Germany as well as between ASEAN and the European Union.

In 2016, the Australian government honoured her with a unique award to celebrate 70 years of Australia-Philippines diplomatic relations. She also received the Order of Sicatuna rank of Datu from the President of the Philippines.

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong

Former Secretary-General


Mr Ong Keng Yong is Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also Ambassador-at-Large at the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs, non-resident High Commissioner to Pakistan, non-resident Ambassador to Iran and Chairman of the Singapore International Foundation (SIF).

Mr Ong was High Commissioner of Singapore to Malaysia from 2011 to 2014, and served as Secretary-General of ASEAN from January 2003 to 2008, where he was based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Mr Ong started his diplomatic career in 1979 and was posted to the Singapore Embassies in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the United States of America. He was Singapore’s High Commissioner to India and concurrently Ambassador to Nepal from 1996 to 1998. From September 1998 to December 2002, he was Press Secretary to the then Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Goh Chok Tong. At the same time, Mr Ong held senior appointments in the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, and the People’s Association in Singapore.

From 2008 to 2011, Mr Ong served as Director of the Institute of PolicyStudies (IPS) in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore.

He graduated from the then University of Singapore with a LLB (Hons) and Georgetown University (Washington DC, USA) with a MA in Arab Studies.

Conference Session 1

David Chua

Chief Executive

National Youth Council

Mr David Chua was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the NYC in July 2015, the autonomous agency’s first CEO since its restructuring under the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth in January 2015. The NYC is the national body coordinating holistic youth development and also houses Outward Bound Singapore and Youth Corps Singapore.

Under his leadership, NYC hopes to ensure greater coherence and coordination in youth development efforts, as well as deepen partnerships with the people, private and public sectors to drive holistic youth development. It aims to support youths in fulfilling their aspirations, build rugged and resilient youths for the future, and inspire young people to make a difference in their communities.

In July 2015, Mr Chua was appointed as Secretary to the 14th National Youth Council.

Carmen Low


Lepark and The Getai Group

Ms Carmen Low is the co-founder of Lepark, a F&B business and social platform in Singapore, which provides a safe environment for youths to express themselves. She also co-founded The Getai Group, a creative arts and place-making agency, which builds ground-up, community-driven projects as well as helps space owners create impactful content to drive business and purpose-driven goals. Her businesses work closely with youths and also actively support local companies to raise Singapore’s international profile.

Carmen Yong

Planning Executive

SP Setia, Malaysia

Ms Carmen Yong works in the field of urban design and development in Kuala Lumpur. She is passionate about education and the environment, and is active in volunteer work.

She is a Global Volunteer Leader of Student Volunteers Foundation, otherwise known as Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (YSS), and was involved in YSS-ASEAN’s volunteer mission to Laos in 2015.

During her time in university, Ms Yong led PDK Redefined in Sarawak, a project that helped students with learning disabilities from less privileged communities in literacy and upskilling.

She is also among the top 25 participants of Young Sustainable Impact 2017, a global innovation team of youth leaders under 25 years old working on specific sustainable development goals laid out by the United Nations.

Ms Yong’s team, called Bright City Tech, created technologies that made cities smarter, safer and more sustainable.

Cindy Chng


Temasek Polytechnic

Prior to joining Temasek Polytechnic, Ms Cindy Chng worked in the tourism industry, specialising in sustainable and educational tourism. She received a start-up grant from SPRING Singapore in 2009 to set up her eco-tour business, and has been involved in various start-ups in the region.

Ms Chng is active in grassroots and volunteer work in Singapore, ASEAN and The Commonwealth. As recognition for her active contributions, she received the ASEAN Youth Award in 2012 and the Associate Fellowship by the Royal Commonwealth Society in March 2017.

Leona Yen-Fei Tan


DBS Foundation

As Head of DBS’ Force for Good, Ms Leona Tan spearheads and drives a purpose-driven agenda that is dedicated to championing social entrepreneurship through the DBS Foundation, and entrenching employee volunteerism through the DBS People of Purpose movement.

She is responsible for designing, shaping and implementing key strategic imperatives that enable DBS to be an innovative and strategic force for good that creates impactful change in society. Ms Tan works closely with management and members of the board to ensure the integration of this purpose-driven agenda in all aspects of the business.

Ms Tan is also a member of DBS’ Singapore Management Committee and Sustainability Council.

Zhang Tingjun

Executive Director

Mercy Relief

Ms Zhang Tingjun is a former netballer with Singapore’s national team. She co-founded The Chain Reaction Project, a social enterprise that supports and raises awareness on social issues in the region. She also serves in the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), engaging policy makers, academics and government leaders in dialogue on issues related to humanitarian work, youth engagement, and cross-sector collaboration.

Nadia Ahmad Samdin (Moderator)


TSMP Law Corporation

Ms Nadia A. Samdin is a young Singaporean who believes that one should “start where you are, use what you have, do what you can”.

A corporate lawyer by profession, she serves in mentoring and strategic capacities at organisations such as the South East Community Development Council and Lembaga Biasiswa Kenangan Maulud (LBKM). She is a council member of the National Youth Council and was head of delegation for Singapore at the ASEAN Young Leaders Summit 2016.

Part of Ms Nadia's heart is in Chiang Mai, where she co-founded the Home in the Hills project.

Conference Session 2

Dr Din A. Mabanta

Director of OPM

Mabanta Corporation

Dr Din A. Mabanta is a specialist in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship in the Philippines.

Having spent most of her career in the health industry, her work has evolved to provide access to affordable healthcare to the underserved and marginalised community through local cooperatives and associations.

As the current Director of OPM and Mabanta Corporation, Dr Mabanta organised a millennial-lead start-up social enterprise to address development issues in healthcare and education using technology. She also designed mobile apps that led to improvements in the delivery of health services.

In 2013, as founder and Chief Executive Officer of Health Innovation Multipurpose Cooperative, Dr Mabanta collaborated with the government, NGOs, cooperatives, financial institutions, academia, and for-profit organisations to provide healthcare to the disadvantaged. She also collaborated with ASEAN intermediaries to support and sustain the social enterprise sector in the Philippines.

Dr Mabanta has a Doctor of Medicine from Cebu Institute of Medicine.

Eddie Razak

 Lee Kuan Yew Fellow

National University of Singapore &

John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 

Mr Eddie Razak was formerly Executive Vice President at Agensi Inovasi Malaysia, the country’s national agency for innovation. His work involved advocacy for policies and models on how the government can work with social-purpose organisations and the private sector to facilitate social investment, intervention programmes that meet social needs, as well as preventive approaches to systemic social issues.

Mr Eddie started his career in an investment bank. Over the years, he had served in two major multinationals in oil & gas as well as mobile telecommunications. He also held senior financial and investment positions in public-listed companies and headed the investor relations association for the stock exchange of Malaysia.

Mr Eddie does voluntary work in the education and social sectors.

Elaine Tan

Executive Director

ASEAN Foundation

Ms Elaine Tan is a development professional with more than two decades of international experience. She has designed, managed and evaluated development programmes in seven countries across Asia.

Over the past decade, Ms Tan has advised government agencies, legislatures, corporate and non-profit clients in both emerging economies and post-conflict countries. She has expertise in advocacy, legislative processes, and governance, having held senior level positions within ASEAN, United Nations (UN), as well as civil and community organisations. Ms Tan brings with her valued experiences in partnership development, resource mobilisation, as well as programme and organisational development.

Before assuming the post, Ms Tan was responsible for the direction, leadership and management of Malaysia’s Yayasan Sejahtera, dedicated to addressing extreme poverty, raising living standards of low-income households, and improving basic infrastructure. It did so through the efforts of public-private partnerships, including with government-linked companies and corporate Malaysia.

When she headed UNIFEM (now UN Women) in Timor-Leste in support of gender issues and women’s empowerment, she developed and oversaw multimillion dollar programmes which advocated for gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive budgeting. She was also advisor to the country’s national women’s machinery.

Prior to Timor-Leste, Ms Tan was responsible for the UNIFEM office in Cambodia, strengthening the institutional capacity for gender mainstreaming of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Veterans, and implementing the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee – the country's International Women’s Bill of Rights.

Earlier in her career, Ms Tan served as Head of the Human Development Unit for ASEAN, where she effectively concluded discussions on the outstanding term of reference to establish the 2007 ASEAN+3 Meeting of Social Officials on Rural Development and Poverty Eradication. She also formulated a joint workplan with the Southeast Asia Ministers of Education Organisation (SEAMEO) and the ASEAN Education Ministers.

Ms Tan received a Chevening scholarship to obtain her Masters in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom, and is an alumna of Smith College, USA.

Alfie Othman (Moderator)

Chief Executive Officer

Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise

raiSE Ltd

Mr Alfie Othman has had a successful career of over twelve years in the banking sector. He has also devoted significant time to the public sector and civil society, and is recognised as a social enterprise practitioner within Singapore.

At present, he heads the Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise (raiSE), which was set up to boost awareness on social entrepreneurship and raise support for social enterprises. raiSE hopes to strengthen the social enterprise sector and encourage the growth of social enterprises as a sustainable way to address social needs.

raiSE has gained support from its multiple stakeholders in the government, community and corporations. It has secured up to $30 million in funds to grow social entrepreneurship over the next five years through programme funding, grants and impact investments.

Since 2016, Mr Alfie has been appointed as a Fellow at Singapore University of Social Sciences, providing advice on financial inclusion and the emerging fintech phenomenon.

Closing Plenary

Gita Wirjawan

Former Minister of Trade


Mr Gita Wirjawan is the Chairman of Ancora Group - an Indonesian business group he founded in 2007 - with interests in private equity investing, natural resources, real estate, sports, and music. A statesman, entrepreneur, investment banker and musician, Mr Wirjawan's career spans the highest levels of government and business.

Prior to resuming his role at Ancora, Mr Wirjawan served as Indonesia’s Minister of Trade, and was once Chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board of Indonesia (BKPM). For his extraordinary accomplishments as a cabinet member, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono awarded him the Bintang Mahaputra Adipradana.

As an investment banker, Mr Wirjawan held key appointments at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan. He played leading roles in many mergers, corporate restructuring, corporate financing and strategic sales involving leading companies in Southeast Asia. His various board roles included Commissioner of state-owned oil giant, Pertamina, and Independent Board Director of Axiata Group Berhad.

Outside the world of business, Mr Wirjawan’s passion lies in philanthropy, education, sports, and music. As a philanthropist, he has endowed scholarships for Indonesians to attend the best universities in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Oxford and Cambridge. He is also in the process of establishing 1,000 kindergartens throughout Indonesia. An avid golfer, he has established academies to groom future Indonesian golfers.

Mr Wirjawan is currently Chairman of the Indonesian Badminton Association. And through Ancora Music, he has produced a range of albums that have been critically acclaimed. Mr Wirjawan is a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Societal Leadership at Singapore Management University and a member of the Dean’s Leadership Council at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University. He is a member of the international advisory board of ACE Group and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Previously, Mr Wirjawan served on the Dean’s Leadership Council at the Harvard Kennedy School. He holds a BS from the University of Texas, an MBA from Baylor University, and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School. Mr Wirjawan has an honorary doctorate in business administration from Naresuan University in Thailand. He qualified as a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Texas, USA, and holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Dr Noeleen Heyzer


United Nations

Dr Noeleen Heyzer is a social scientist and served as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations from 2007 to 2015. She was the first woman to serve as the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) since its founding in 1947.

Dr Heyzer was recently appointed to the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation - an 18-member group comprising of current and former world leaders as well as experts, who will advise UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and support specific mediation efforts around the world.

Dr Heyzer achieved many milestones during her tenure with ESCAP. In 2009, she led an unprecedented dialogue with Myanmar’s leaders on development and poverty reduction. This has been regarded by many as helping to catalyse the opening-up of the country from its former isolation. She was also the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for Timor-Leste, working to support peace-building, state-building, and sustainable development.

Prior to her appointment in ESCAP, Dr Heyzer was the first woman from the southern part of the world to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). She held the position from 1994 to 2007, making her the longest-serving Executive Director. She transformed UNIFEM from a small entity into a powerhouse for women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Dr Heyzer played a critical role in the Security Council’s adoption and implementation of the landmark Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. She was responsible for the establishment of the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, and was instrumental in the establishment of UN Women (the successor to UNIFEM). Dr Heyzer has also served on numerous boards and advisory committees of international organisations.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Upper Honours) and a Master of Science from the University of Singapore, and obtained a Doctorate in social sciences from Cambridge University in the UK. Dr Heyzer has received numerous awards and prizes, including Singapore’s Hall of Fame, Aletta Jacobs Prize, and Global Tolerance Award for Humanitarian Service.

Arnel PACIANO Casanova

Chief Executive Officer

Aecom Philippines

Mr Arnel Paciano Casanova is the chief executive officer of Aecom Philippines, a unit of American multinational engineering firm Aecom. Aside from running the Philippine business of Aecom, he is also part of its growth and strategy team for Asia Pacific.

Before joining Aecom, Mr Casanova was the senior advisor at the Office of the Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. Prior to that, he was the president and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in the Philippines.

Mr Casanova has diverse expertise focusing on public-private partnerships, real property development, urban planning, security, and peace negotiations and mediation.

As BCDA's President, he led the development of Clark Green City, Philippines’ first and only smart, disaster-resilient metropolis. He also took major leadership roles in numerous major property development projects and public-private partnerships that have established vibrant economic districts such as the Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila and the Philippine’s longest and most modern 94 kilometre tollway, the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX).

Zakir Hussain (Moderator)

Political Editor

The Straits Times

Mr Zakir Hussain joined Singapore’s main English broadsheet in 2005 and has reported on local and regional political developments as well as ASEAN affairs, security issues, religion and community relations.

He was based in Jakarta as the newspaper’s Indonesia bureau chief from 2011 to 2014, before returning to Singapore as its deputy political editor. He took on the role of Political Editor in September 2016.

Mr Zakir has a bachelor’s degree in history and politics, and a master’s degree in journalism.

Last updated on 04 Oct 2017 .