Business, Infrastructure, Youth and Women: Key topics at South Asian Diaspora Convention 2019

“Education is a key transformational impetus to take the youth and make them ready for the future”, Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security for Singapore Teo Chee Hean said in his keynote address at the Fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention in Singapore. 

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security for Singapore Teo Chee Hean, interacting with the audience at the Fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention 2019 at UCC, NUS. Photo: Connected to India
Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security for Singapore Teo Chee Hean and Chairman of ISAS, Gopinath Pillai interacting with the audience at the Fourth South Asian Diaspora Convention 2019 at UCC, NUS. Photo: Connected to India

Held at the University Cultural Centre (UCC) in the lovely campus of the National University of Singapore (NUS), the convention organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), NUS featured more than 30 renowned policy makers, academics, civil society leaders and business leaders as speakers and moderators.  

SM Teo Chee Hean in his keynote touched upon gap between education and employment, the opportunities and exposure available and said the quality of experience of interning abroad is more important than numbers. Photo: Connected to India
SM Teo Chee Hean in his keynote touched upon gap between education and employment, the opportunities and exposure available and said the quality of experience of interning abroad is more important than numbers. Photo: Connected to India

In the Plenary Session I, Business in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges were discussed, the consensus was that a young working population and cost effectiveness was the key reason why all eyes were on the Indian subcontinent.

From left to right: Mr. Jonathan Yap, President CapitaLand Financial, Singapore; Mr. Enayetullah Khan, Chairman, Cosmos Foundation, Bangladesh; Moderator for the sesion, Mr. S. Chandra Das, MD of NUR Investment and Trading and non-resident commissioner of Singapore to Sri Lanka; Dr. Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead, ISAS and Mr. Pang Yee Ean, Director General, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Photo: Connected to India
From left to right: Mr. Jonathan Yap, President CapitaLand Financial, Singapore; Mr. Enayetullah Khan, Chairman, Cosmos Foundation, Bangladesh; Moderator for the sesion, Mr. S. Chandra Das, MD of NUR Investment and Trading and non-resident commissioner of Singapore to Sri Lanka; Dr. Amitendu Palit, Senior Research Fellow and Research Lead, ISAS and Mr. Pang Yee Ean, Director General, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Photo: Connected to India

In Plenary Session II, Women Empowerment in South Asia covered issues starting from childbirth to collective bargaining empowerment for women. Work-life balance, choice to pursue aspirations and a supportive legal system is what the Singapore government strives to offer all women, said second Minister for Finance and Education, Ms. Indranee Rajah

Minister in PMO and Second Minister for Finance and Education Ms. Indranee Rajah spoke on maternal mortality, education, health initiatives, women’s nutrition and equal employment based on meritocracy to ensure women’s participation in the workforce at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention. Photo Courtesy: ISAS
Minister in PMO and Second Minister for Finance and Education Ms. Indranee Rajah spoke on maternal mortality, education, health initiatives, women’s nutrition and equal employment based on meritocracy to ensure women’s participation in the workforce at the 4th South Asian Diaspora Convention. Photo Courtesy: ISAS

 

From left to right: Ms. Rasheda K Choudhury, CEO Campaign for Popular Education and former adviser to caretaer Government of Bangladesh; Ms. Aisha Khan, Chief Executive, Civitl Society Coalition for Climate Change, Pakistan, Chairperson for the panel discussion Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor of Sociaology, Yale-NUS College, Singapore and Ms. Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Actor/Producer, Member, Central Board of Film Certification, India.  Photo: Connected to India
From left to right: Ms. Rasheda K Choudhury, CEO Campaign for Popular Education and former adviser to caretaker Government of Bangladesh; Ms. Aisha Khan, Chief Executive, Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change, Pakistan; Chairperson for the panel discussion Anju Mary Paul, Associate Professor of Sociaology, Yale-NUS College, Singapore and Ms. Vani Tripathi Tikoo, Actor/Producer, Member, Central Board of Film Certification, India. Photo: Connected to India 

Infrastructure and Smart Cities was the keynote addressed in Plenary Session III by Singapore’s Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, Lawrence Wong.  The focus should be not just on smarter but on cleaner, greener cities he said. 

Addressing the question asked by Connected to India, Minister Lawrence Wong said, “Every consumer has a role to play. There is a need to change production and consumption patterns but it’s challenging and requires some sacrifice from both developed and developing countries”. 

Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance responded to questions posed by the audience in an interactive session moderated by Professor Tan Tai Yong, President Yale-NUS College and Deputy Chairman, ISAS. Photo: Connected to India
Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance responded to questions posed by the audience in an interactive session moderated by Professor Tan Tai Yong, President Yale-NUS College and Deputy Chairman, ISAS. Photo: Connected to India

Plenary session V: Innovations, Start ups and Youth started with short speeches by the panelist. Be it innovators, start-ups or entrepreneurs, all are looking towards India as the country to target - whether it is for number of babies born, rotis made, IT usage or consumption of halal food - due to the demographics.

From left: Roshni Mahtani, founder and group Ceo the Asianparents, Indonesia; Pranoti Nagarkar, Founder, Inventor, CEO, Rotimatic, Chairperson for panel discussion Shaikh ISmail, MD, Communications, MEdia & Technology, Accenture and Member, Board of Governors of ITE, Singapore;  Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner, Tribe Accelerator, Singapore and Hadi Rahmad - chief commercial officer, WhatsHalal, SG. Photo: Connected to India.
From left: Roshni Mahtani, founder and group Ceo the Asianparents, Indonesia; Pranoti Nagarkar, Founder, Inventor, CEO, Rotimatic; Chairperson for panel discussion Shaikh ISmail, MD, Communications, Media & Technology, Accenture and Member, Board of Governors of ITE, Singapore; Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner, Tribe Accelerator, Singapore and Hadi Rahmad - chief commercial officer, WhatsHalal, SG. Photo: Connected to India. 

Additional sessions included those on Trends in Educational Technology, Technology in Financial Services and an Interactive Session on South Asian Diaspora: A Strategic Asset.

Themed Vibrant South Asia- Innovative Diaspora, SADC 2019 also organised a cricket match with South Asian cricket celebrities for the first time under Chairman of ISAS, Gopinath Pillai. Photo: Connected to India
Themed Vibrant South Asia- Innovative Diaspora, SADC 2019 also organised a cricket match with South Asian cricket celebrities for the first time under Chairman of ISAS, Gopinath Pillai. Photo: Connected to India
Author
Lakshmy Iyer
Lakshmy Iyer – Senior Correspondent, ASEAN & Entertainment

Lakshmy has been contributing regularly as a freelance writer since 2012. Her writing has been an amalgamation of the language, literature and rich cultural experiences of India as well as South East Asia. An Instructional Designer by profession she is passionate about lifelong learning. Art is her medium of reflection. She participates in art exhibitions thus contributing to the local art scene and using this platform, supports social causes in Singapore as well.

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