Singapore's Next Big Thing

Thu, 12 Jan, 2017, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM (GMT+8)
The HEAD Foundation 20 Upper Circular Road The Riverwalk #02-21 Singapore 058416
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In the first 50 years of its independent history, Singapore’s transformation to a first-world developed economy is often lauded as an audacious success, overcoming odds and constraints. Having come this far, what will drive Singapore’s future and what would its next success story look like? With these questions in mind, 51 young leaders in Singapore gave their take on ‘What is Singapore’s Next Big Thing’ through their essays in The Birthday Book, which has been listed by The Economist magazine in its list of books for 2016. From food security to science & technology and from the future of government to rethinking the concept of scarcity, the book’s diverse perspectives is a reflection of the multi-faceted background of its contributors – academics, entrepreneurs, sustainability champions, civil servants, journalists and private sector leaders.  The HEAD Foundation is inviting four of the contributors of this publication, which was launched in August 2016, to share their perspectives on the next big thing for Singapore. Hear from Aaron Maniam, Eugene Tan, Melissa Kwee and Veerappan Swaminathan in what promises to be a thought-provoking talk by young leaders. 

Ms Melissa Kwee
CEO, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) ​

Melissa’s love for Philanthropy stems both from her fascination for anthropology, as well as an innate belief in the possibility of good in all human beings. While on a regular basis she volunteers with Beautiful People as a mentor and friend, as a board member with Crest Secondary School, and with Prison Fellowship, she also looks at inculcating giving as a way of life for herself and those around. Melissa’s creative bent, which as a child made her dream of becoming a make-up artist, now manifests in an urge to weave poignant tales that inspire people and communities to understand and support each other.


Mr. Aaron Maniam 
Director, Industry Division, Ministry of Trade and Industry (Singapore)

Mr Maniam began his career in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2004-2008). Since then, he has undertaken many portfolios: the Strategic Policy Office at the Public Service Division in 2008, Head of the Singapore Government’s Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF) in 2010, and Director of the Institute of Policy Development at the Civil Service College. Mr Maniam has received many accolades: Asia Society’s “Asia 21 Young Leaders’ (2006), the Orchid Jayceettes of Singapore’s “Outstanding Young Singaporean (2011), the Singapore Youth Award (2012), and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader (2013), just to name a few.


Mr. Veerappan Swaminathan
Director and Co-Founder of Sustainable Living Lab Pte Ltd; Makedemy Pte Ltd; Singapore Makers Association 

Veera has a keen interest in addressing sustainability challenges using systems thinking, community development and technology. As a pioneer of the Maker Movement in Singapore, he works to steer the movement in Asia towards enabling a sustainable future. He co-founded Sustainable Living Lab, Makedemy and OneMaker Group.


Associate Prof. Eugene Tan Kheng Boon
Associate Professor of Law; Co-Director, Centre for Scholars' Development; Singapore Management University 

Eugene Tan Kheng Boon is an Associate Professor of Law at Singapore Management University. He holds degrees from the National University of Singapore Faculty of Law, the London School of Economics, and Stanford University. He previously held positions at the National University of Singapore and in Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He teaches and researches in the area of Constitutional and Administrative Law as well as the Law and Policy of Ethnic Relations in Singapore. Tan regularly writes for and is quoted in the Singapore press, particularly on matters related to domestic politics. Tan served as a Nominated Member of Parliament between 14 February 2012 and 13 August 2014.

This free lecture is presented by the HEAD Foundation, a Singapore-based think tank focused on education and leadership for development in Asia.

Singapore's Next Big Thing

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