Community Leaders’ Conference
Community Leaders’ Conference (CLC) 2015 – Reflections and Aspirations
OnePeoples.sg (OPSG) organised its biennial Conference with the
theme on 50 years of social cohesion – Reflection and Aspiration The conference reflected on Singapore’s journey in shaping our multicultural social landscape over the past five decades. In conjunction with SG50, the CLC engaged community stakeholders to reflect on the nation’s journey to build social cohesion as well as how to sustain this effort for future generations. While Singapore’s social landscape is diverse, it is important to note that racial harmony has always been the foundation upon which
the nation’s peace and progress have been built.
Guest Speaker, Ambassador Chan Heng Chee took the participants through the Plenary Session where she highlighted that it was important for Singapore’s minority communities to know that they are treated equally. She elaborated that it was key to emphasize on equality across all ethnic groups where “every race has the same standing.” Ambassador Chan also highlighted that shared experiences such as National Service helps to forge a Singaporean identity. Participants also had the opportunity to engage Ambassador Chan in a dialogue session which was moderated by Dr Mathew Matthews, Board Member of OnePeople.sg and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies.
The Guest of Honour, PM Lee Hsien Loong, shared that one of Singapore’s most remarkable achievements over the last 50 years, has been our racial and religious harmony. He cautioned that this is not a “natural thing” and it was an “act of will” sustained over the years as Singapore’s founding pioneers believed that for Singapore to survive as a nation, society cannot be divided. PM Lee also urged participants not to be lulled into thinking that we have arrived as a nation. It is a work in-progress which must be sustained by generations to come. PM Lee also highlighted current challenges and how important it is for the community to work together to safeguard the cohesive environment we currently enjoy. Similarly, the participants also had the chance to engage the Prime Minister in a closed-door dialogue which was moderated by Dr Janil Puthucheary, Chairman OnePeople.sg.
More than 400 participants attended the CLC 2015. The Conference was well-received and feedback was positive.
The pilot collaboration with Dialectic.sg has offered us great momentum. The discussion has reaped fairly good results. It has also met our objective to engage and hear from the Communities because Dialectic.sg is able to give a good sense of what people feel about the issues discussed and the basis of our intervention. Dialectic.sg and OnePeople.sg created a new platform for everyone to share their views on the discussion topic “Should Singapore retain or stop using the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others framework?” The discussion results had shown a slight majority (53.8%) wanting Singapore to stop using the CMIO framework. There were twenty comments received, with over 5,300 words submitted. A total of 84 votes were casted.
Community Leaders’ Conference 2015 had gained significant media coverage from mainstream as well as other media.
“We are a very religiously and racially diverse society. We hope to be able to see that diversity as strength in the next fifty years, not as a weakness.” – Dr Janil Puthucheary, Chairman, OnePeople.sg
“What we have is precious and we must preserve it. “ – Ambassador Chan Heng Chee, Guest Speaker
“In Singapore, you cannot separate race and religion… the IRO has a part to maintain and improve on the grounds in terms of race and religious harmony. “ – Mr Foo Check Woo, President, Inter-Religious Organisation
Pictures of the Community Leaders' Conference 2015
Community Leaders' Conference 2013 (Highlights)
Community Leaders’ Conference 2013 – Securing Peace: Lessons From History
Over 200 people comprising of religious, community and government leaders attended the Conference on 16 March at Republic Polytechnic.
With the theme Securing Peace: Lessons From History, the Conference brought in Mr Jakob Finci, Ambassador of Bosnia-Herzegovina to Switzerland and President of La Benevolencija, to share on his experiences during the Bosnian War in the early 90s, in dealing with crisis. Being similar to Singapore in terms of multiculturalism, Mr Finci also shared about the diversity of his country from the Bosnian perspective.
We also invited Mr Janadas Devan, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), to share on what constitutes (multi)-cultural and national identity and government policies, drawing on Singapore’s history and his own life as examples.
Joining us for the dialogue panel was our Guest of Honour, Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development, together with the two guest speakers, Chairman OnePeople.sg and Sister Theresa Seow, Asst. Secretary of the Inter-Religious Organisation (Singapore). Together, they answered questions and clarifications from the audience on issues such as integration and identity.
“Our history is very short. Our ancestors all come from certain lands and speak a different language. It is more uplifting to define a common future.”
Check out photos of the Conference here.
“By sharing similarities / common problems from another part of the world, it helps to show us that there are similar issues faced around the world, and we are not alone” – Lee Hong Chuang
“It was knowledgeable. I learnt the experience of Bosnia. Its civil war is a lesson to Singapore” – S Visvalingam
“The conference was very timely to discuss the current situation in Singapore” – Rustom Russi Ghadiali
“Our history is very short. Our ancestors all come from certain lands and speak a different language. It is more uplifting to define a common future” – Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Social and Family Development