Skip to content Skip to navigation

Shirin Fozdar Annual Lecture

The Inaugural Shirin Fozdar Annual Lecture serves as a platform where students, advocates, policy-makers, businesses, institutions and the public are encourage to enter into dialougue in order to address the challenges women face today. Every year, Shirin Fozdar Programme is honoured to invite prominiet speakers to drive discussion on significant social issues. 

Throughout the world, the opportunity and appeal of cities is beset by challenges and compromises. Cities continue to attract people looking for upward socio-economic mobility, and companies looking to create value. They are clusters of ideas and ideals, where the future is often more present than the past. In many cases, they are bastions of progress, tolerance and justice. Yet, as cities develop, the management of density and diversity becomes a more pressing issue. The clustering of people and businesses puts pressure on housing, transportation, natural resources and public services. It causes inequalities and inter-group tensions to become pronounced, and traditions to be eroded.
These dynamics are most acutely felt in the postcolonial world, where the development trajectories of many cities have been shorter and steeper than their European and North American counterparts. Compounding the problematique is the emergence and proliferation of digitally-enabled methods of urban management in recent years, which have added a new set of challenges to the ongoing development of urban environments.
Join us as Prof Kong shares her thoughts about the promises and shortcomings of cities in development, and venture some suggestions as to how to address some of them.
Kindly note that limited seats are available on a first-come-first-serve basis and SFP reserves the right to the acceptance of registration. For more information or enquiries, please email .

Professor Lily Kong
Provost and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University 
PROFESSOR LILY KONG is Provost and Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences at the Singapore Management University. She is internationally renowned for her research on social and cultural change in Asian cities, with analyses of myriad dimensions of urbanscapes, from religious landscapes, cultural monuments, creative clusters, to urban heritage and conservation.  Amongst her more than 100 publications are the following books: Conserving the Past, Creating the Future: Urban Heritage in Singapore (2011), Arts, Culture and the Making of Global Cities: Creating New Urban Landscapes in Asia (with Ching C-H and Chou T-L, 2015), Food, Foodways and Foodscapes: Culture, Community and Consumption in Post-Colonial Singapore” (with Vineeta Sinha, 2015) and Religion and Space: Competition, Conflict and Violence in the Contemporary World (with Orlando Woods, 2016).  
An award-winning researcher and teacher, Professor Kong has received five international fellowship awards including the Commonwealth Fellowship Award and the Fulbright Fellowship Award. She has also won an award from the Association of American Geographers for her contributions to the study of religion.  She is a member of Singapore’s Public Service Commission, and Board member of A*STAR, Centre for Liveable Cities, Housing and Development Board, Mt Alvernia Hospital, National Heritage Board, Singapore Art Museum, and member of the Social Science Research Council.  She has also been active on numerous other local and international committees, including the Founders’ Memorial Committee and the United Nations University Council.

Professor Paulin Tay Straughan
Professor of Sociology (Practice) and Dean of Students, Singapore Management University
PROFESSOR PAULIN TAY STRAUGHAN is the Professor of Sociology (Practice) and Dean of Students at the Singapore Management University. Prof Straughan’s research interests center around sociology of family and medical sociology. Her current research investigates environmental risk factors in childhood obesity. She is also the Principal Investigator of recently concluded project on Successful Ageing in Singapore, Seoul and Shanghai which involved multiple institutions and a multidisciplinary team. Professor Straughan serves as Consultant on numerous projects commissioned by various government agencies. Amongst others, she is Principal Consultant for the Marriage and Parenthood Survey 2016 & 2012, which were commissioned by the National Population and Talent Division. She has published in both sociology and medical journals, like Social Science and Medicine, Cancer, and Cancer Causes and Control. Her books include Marriage Dissolution in Singapore: Revisiting Family Values and Ideology in Marriage, and Ultra-Low Fertility in Pacific Asia: Trends, Causes and Policy Issue (with Gavin Jones and Angelique Chan).
Professor Straughan was a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2009 to 2011, during which she argued for work-life balance and the nurture of a more pro-family social environment. Her community involvement includes serving on the Child and Youth Health Task Force, and the Infectious Disease Research Advisory Group (both at the Ministry of Health). She is happily married to an Applied Mathematician, and they have 2 sons.

Ms Claire Chiang
Shirin Fozdar Programme
MS CLAIRE CHIANG is the co-founder and Senior Vice President of Banyan Tree Holdings; she pioneered the group’s retail business in l996 and since 2010, had chaired China Business Development, where the focus is on acquisition of new management contracts. Claire is also the Chairperson of Banyan Tree Global Foundation, the Group’s sustainability arm.
Claire was one of the first two women in 89 years to be elected to the Board of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pioneering gender diversity in action. She was awarded in l998 as a “Woman of the Year” and in 2009 as a champion for village-based entrepreneurship  and the Public Service Star BBM in 2014 for her contribution over the years in  numerous  public and community sectors. She served two terms (1997-2001) as a Nominated Member of Parliament and as a Justice of Peace since 2008.  Most recently, she received the NUS Distinguished Arts and Social Sciences Alumni Award in 2016. Some of her current services include : Chairperson of the Wildlife Reserves Singapore Conservation Fund and the National Book Development Council of Singapore,  a Director of  Singapore Mandai Park Holdings, National Arts Council,  Denmark based ISS A/S in 2015 and Dufry AG, Switzerland.

Professor Arnoud De Meyer
Singapore Management University
PROFESSOR ARNOUD DE MEYER is the fourth President of Singapore Management University. Previously, he was Director of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge where he was Professor of Management Studies and Fellow of Jesus College.  He was associated for 23 years with INSEAD where he held various senior academic and administrative positions, including founding Dean of INSEAD’s Asia Campus in Singapore.  
Professor De Meyer has a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, MBA and PhD in Management from the University of Ghent in Belgium.  He also pursued his studies as a visiting scholar at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).  His research interests are in manufacturing and technology strategy; the implementation of new manufacturing technologies; the management of R&D; how innovation can be managed more effectively; project management under conditions of high uncertainty; management and innovation in Asia; the globalisation of Asian firms; the management of novel projects; and ereadiness in Europe.  His work is published widely in academic journals and he has written several books.  Professor De Meyer serves on several boards including the National Research Foundation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Symphonia Company Limited and Temasek Management Services.  He is an external director of Dassault Systèmes SA (France) and also Chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee of VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Belgium).

The Shirin Fozdar Programme (SFP – ) was first established in honour of Mdm Shirin Fozdar, a pioneer of women’s rights in Singapore. Since 1993, the SFP initiatives include educational, training and capacity-building opportunities in fields that are beneficial to disadvantaged women in particular, such as building libraries and safe shelters, and teaching computer skills and the English language. Our hope is to grow SFP within and outside of Singapore by engaging academics, students, professionals, businesses, the government, non-governmental organisations and social communities to collectively build community resilience and stewardship.

Chaired by Ms Claire Chiang, the funding committee continually seeks support from well-wishers to enhance ongoing and new projects by striking strategic alliances with different groups in the community committed to develop women’s full potential.

8 September 2017 (Friday)

4.30pm - 6.30pm

Mochtar Riady Auditorium, Level 5
Singapore Management University
Administration Building
81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065
4.30pm Registration and Refreshment
Welcome Address
by Ms Claire Chiang Chairperson, Shirin Fozdar Programme
Keynote Address by Prof Lily Kong
Provost & Lee Kong Chian Chair Professor of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University
Q&A with Prof Lily Kong
Moderated by Prof Paulin Tay Straughan
Professor of Sociology (Practice) and Dean of Students, Singapore Management University
6.20pm Closing Address by Prof Arnoud De Meyer President, Singapore Management University
6.30pm End of Event



Last updated on 18 Aug 2017 .