Singapore and Switzerland: Learning from each other

07 May 2014

Organised by Avenir Suisse, Switzerland and the Institute of Policy Studies, Singapore.

About the event

Avenir Suisse, Switzerland, and the Institute for Policy Studies, Singapore, presented a seminar which fostered the exchange of ideas and experiences between two countries that are very different but also have a lot in common.

It highlighted the common as well as the different challenges and opportunities that the two countries face. Speakers focused on the policy experiences of these two highly successful small countries and sparked discussions on what lessons each can learn, on what inspiration the countries can draw from each other.

The topics that were covered:

  • Mobilising talent for good governance
  • Migration and integration – diversity and its strengths
  • Urban liveability and sustainability

For more details please refer to the topics tab.

A highlight of the Seminar is the luncheon that was attended by the Guest-of-Honour, Singapore’s President, His Excellency Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam. A Singapore Cabinet member delivered the keynote speech followed by a question and answer session.


Mobilising talent for good governance

Switzerland has a militia system to mobilise its people to contribute to governing the country. In Singapore, there are formal as well as informal systems to ensure that its top talent is mobilised in government, business and civic sectors. How does this contribute to good governance and how are the pitfalls managed? Are there useful lessons for Switzerland?

Migration and integration – diversity and its strengths

Singapore and Switzerland are both immigrant societies that celebrate meritocracy, social mobility, inclusion and equity.  What are the discussions on immigration and integration in Singapore about today; what are the leading ideas about social integration and what resonances do these have for Switzerland?

Urban livability and sustainability

Both Switzerland and Singapore thrive on their dense urban cities.  With population growth and urbanization, there is need to explore ways in which the benefits of agglomeration and globalization do not translate into congestion, environmental degradation and social stress. What has Singapore done in terms of urban planning strategies, technological innovations and social policies to deal with these challenges?


Wednesday, 7 May 2014


Registration & coffee


Welcome remarks by convenors

Dr Gerhard Schwarz, Managing Director, Avenir Suisse
Janadas Devan, Director, Institute of Policy Studies


Session 1: Mobilising talent for good governance

  • Chairperson: Thomas Kupfer, Ambassador of Switzerland in Singapore
  • Speaker: Lim Siong Guan, Group President, GIC Private Limited
  • Discussant: Dr Samuel Rutz, Vice Director, Avenir Suisse

Open discussion


Coffee break


Session 2: Migration and integration - diversity and its strengths

  • Chairperson: Dr Gillian Koh, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Policy Studies
  • Speaker: Professor David Chan, Lee Kuan Yew Fellow and Professor of Psychology and Director, Behavioural Sciences Institute, Singapore Management University
  • Discussant: Dr Urs Meister, Project Manager, Avenir Suisse

Open discussion


Lunch with the Singapore president and keynote speech

  • H E Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of Singapore
  • Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Defence, Singapore


Session 3: Urban livability and sustainability

  • Chairperson: Professor Alexander J. B. Zehnder, Director of triple Z Ltd & Member of the Board of Trustees of NTU & Professor Emeritus of ETH Zurich
  • Speaker: Dr Cheong Koon Hean, Chief Executive Officer, Housing and Development Board & Deputy Secretary (Special Duties), Ministry of National Development Singapore
  • Discussant: Dr Marco Salvi, Project Manager, Avenir Suisse

Open discussion


Next steps and closing remarks

15.45 Open discussion chaired by Convenors

16.20 Closing Remarks by Convenors