26 Feb 2014
Topics Singapore

Asia needs leaders who can champion its growth through challenges that straddle the social, political, economic and cultural arenas.

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The Inaugural Asia Development Fellows Program

Asia needs leaders who can champion its growth through challenges that straddle the social, political, economic and cultural arenas. Driven by this vision, The Asia Foundation created the Asia Development Fellows Program, where highly qualified and young professionals across Asia will have the opportunity to strengthen their adaptive leadership skills that can be creative and transformative, and acquire more knowledge of the region's critical development issues.

For its inaugural batch, 10 accomplished and inspiring fellows were selected from over 600 applicants in 18 countries where The Asia Foundation holds existing programmes. They represent nine Asian countries: China, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. These fellows were directors, executives, social entrepreneurs, journalists and researchers from the public, private and non-profit sectors.

The fellowship kicked off with a fourday Leadership Training Programme at the LKY School from 5 to 8 April 2014. The programme focused on developing the fellows' leadership strategies in a world that is volatile, complex and ambiguous. An authentic and adaptive leadership is needed to manage change, engage diversity, and reflect emotional intelligence, amidst new trends such as social entrepreneurship, social media and social impact and innovation. The lead faculty for this programme Mr. Philip Merry, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Leadership Academy, holds more than 30 years' experience as a global leadership speaker/consultant.

As part of their fellowship, the Asia Development Fellows also participated in a workshop hosted by the Manila Office of The Asia Foundation on Asian Development (9-13 April), in Manila, Philippines. A two-week leadership dialogue and exchange will follow in September, in San Francisco and Washington D.C., USA.

In his opening remarks, Prof. Donald Low, Associate Dean (Research and Executive Education) at the LKY School of Public Policy mentioned that in the case of Singapore, different types of leaders were needed in order for the country to thrive. As society becomes more complex, leaders today need to be more resilient, dynamic and responsive amidst myriad changes, differing opinions and increasingly complex social and political values.

A networking lunch saw the fellows join some 15 LKY School graduate students. The session allowed an exchange of both the fellows' and students' perspectives on the different development challenges in Asia and on what kinds of leaders can help propel inclusive growth in the region.

One participant commented that the programme gave a better understanding of the individuals' unique strengths and weaknesses, and understanding differences in leadership qualities allows for one's self-improvement in their journey to become better leaders. Another participant remarked that her interaction with the LKY School students was valuable in this programme.


McRhon Banderlipe, Hidayat Hamim and Chin Kai Li are from the LKY School Executive Education. , , and .

Topics Singapore