The Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA) and AXN ASIA, a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company co-organised a dialogue, "Rising Asia - The Next 10 Years" which took place on March 10. Over the past 10 years, Asia has experienced tremendous changes accompanied by a series of ups and downs. Although Asia received a severe blow in 1997, strong hopes and resilient spirit in the region enabled Asia to bounce back. Asia not only learned lessons from the crisis, but also used the crisis as a leverage to take a big step forward.
The dialogue aimed to raise pressing issues that Asia is facing today and to share insightful visions with leaders from the region.
The first session Engaging Asia: Competition and Cooperation, chaired by SIIA Chairman, Assoc Prof Simon Tay, focused on key issues that will drive Asia’s commercial arena. N.R. Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Ltd (India), and Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman of Hang Lung Group Ltd (Hong Kong), discussed trends that shape the Asian economy. They evaluated how corporations remain competitive, and addressed how corporations can better equip themselves to seize the opportunities for economic growth. Lead discussants also shared their views on desirable public governance, in relation to business engagement. Lastly, both leaders emphasised the importance of sustainability and protection of environment.
The second session Leadership and Public Governance in Asia drew attention to the continued political vulnerabilities in the region and possible solutions to these weaknesses. Prominent political leaders Dr Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Indonesia’s Minister of Finance, and Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN, discussed the role of public governance and difficulties in translating ideas into policies and practices timely and effectively. Aspects touched upon included the impact of public governance on political, civic and economic freedom. Macroeconomic policies and socio-political instability were also addressed. Both leaders envisaged that the future of Asia is optimistic; cooperation and mutual growth should be sought amongst the ASEAN countries, while inter-departmental approach should be encouraged. ASEAN countries will then be able to move towards stable and sustainable growth.
Lastly, the SIIA and AXN awarded 10 influential individuals who have exemplified the success of Asia today and leadership of Asia tomorrow. Assoc Prof Tay said “Many people talk about the rise of Asia as if it is inevitable and irresistible. But so much depends on what we do, and especially our leaders, and the decisions they make for better or worse. Asia needs leaders not just in politics but also in businesses and in the civil society. It is important that we recognise these leaders. What they do is so important, and we must hope that their examples will inspire others all over Asia.”
The ten leaders of Rising Asia are:
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia
Mrs. Sri Mulyani was promoted as the Executive Director of IMF for South East Asia(2002-2004). She was awarded by the Emerging Market Forum as the Best Finance Minister in Asiain 2006. She also received an honor as the Finance Minister of the Year in the World Euromoney (2006).
Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General, The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Surin Pitsuwan is the Secretary-General for the ASEAN. He was appointed as a member of the Commission on Human Security of the United Nations from 2001 to 2003. He has also been on the Advisory Board of a number of international organisations such as the UN Human Security Trust Fund, the International Crisis Group (ICG) and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
Narayana Murthy, Chairman and Chief Mentor, Infosys Technologies Limited
Narayana Murthy is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Mentor of Infosys Technologies Limited, a global Information Technology consulting and software provider, headquatered at Bangalore, India. The Economist ranked him 8th in the list of the 15 most-admired global leaders in 2005. In 2004, the TIME magazine identified him as one of the 10 global leaders who are helping shape the future of technology. He was ranked 28th among the world’s most-respected business leaders by the Financial Times in 2005.
Ronnie Chan, Chairman, Hang Lung Group Limited
Ronnie C. Chan is the Chairman of Hang Lung Group Limited and is subsidiary Hang Lung Properties Limited. Hang Lung has been a leader in Hong Kong’s property market for over forty years, and has been expanding into mainland Chinafor over a decade. He is the Founding Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the Asia Business Council, a former Chairman of the Hong Kong-United States Business School, and a former member of the governing board of the World Economic Forum.
Tony Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Asia
Tony Fernandes, 42, is the Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia, the leading low cost airline in Asia. He is the recipient of the International Herald Tribune award for the Visionaries & Leadership Series, for his outstanding work in AirAsia. He has headlined the covers of Airline Business magazine, Asian Wall Street Journal, New York Times, International Herald Tribune.
Wong How Man, President, ChinaExploration and Research Society (CERS)
Wong How Man is Founder and President of the CERS, a pre-eminent non-profit organisation specialising in exploration, research, conservation and education in remote China. He was credited with the discovery of a new source of the Yangtze River. His work is regularly featured on international media including CNN, ABC, CNBC, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and others. His two CD-Roms, “Exploring the Yangtze” and “Tibet” won 11 and 5 international awards respectively.
Olivia Lum, Group CEO and President, Hyflux Ltd
Olivia Lum is the driving force behind Hyflux’s growth and business expansion, responsible for policy and strategy formulation and corporate direction. She was the Winner of the Regional Growth Award by Nihon Keizai Shimbun at the 11th Nikkei Asia Prize 2006. She was also awarded Asiamoney’s Corporate Executive of the Year 2005 in Singaporeand Businessman of the Year 2004 at the Singapore Business Awards.
Long Yongtu, Secretary General, Boao Forum for Asia
Long Yongtu is Secretary-General of Boao Forum for Asiaelected by its Board of Directors in 2003. As the Chief Negotiator for China’s resumption of GATT contracting party status and its accession to the World Trade Organization, Mr.Long dedicated over 10 years for this prolonged trade negotiation to bring Chinainto the global trading system. Mr.Long received a special award by the UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan, Oct.2004, for his outstanding contribution to the UN partnership in Chinaand promoting the values of the UN.
Somaly Mam, President, Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire (AFESIP)
Somaly Mam is the President of the AFESIP (translated in English, “Acting for Women in Distressing Circumstances”) which seeks to bring about the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration specifically with prostitutes as well as with trafficked persons in need. The organization has saved more than 3,000 girls since its founding in 1996.
Chung Mong Joon, Member, Korean National Assembly
Mr Chung ran for the Presidency of Korea in 2002. He is Vice President of FIFA and President of Korea Football Association, and was Co-chairman of the Korean Organising Committee for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea-Japan. He served as Chairman of Hyundai Heavy Industries. He is also a member of the Centre for Asia Pacific Policy Advisory Board, Rand Corporation and a member of Board of Directors, Salzburg Global Seminar.