The inaugural Hwa Chong Asian Young Leaders Summit 2006

The 21st century is often regarded as the Asian century. Already, the Asian economies produce almost 40% of global GDP and the figure is set to rise with the emerging economies of China, India and Malaysia; while Japan is of course the world's second largest economy after the US. To reap the huge benefits of economic co-operation, Singapore has intensified its efforts to build strong ties with these Asian giants.

From 17-28 2006, HCI organised the inaugural Hwa Chong Asian Young Leaders Summit (HC-AYLS). The Summit took the form of a forum for promising Asian student leaders who have clearly demonstrated a commitment to serving society. The project was initiated by inviting the most outstanding young leaders from China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.

Hwa Chong Asia-Pacific Young Leaders Summit 2011

In its fifth year, the HC-APYLS has adopted the theme 'Towards Globality: Renegotiating Communities'

About the Theme:

In the words of Kofi Annan, former UN-Secretary General, "Arguing against globalisation is like arguing against the laws of gravity." Globalisation is a process that has taken on a life of its own, and continually leaves a trail of change and challenge. None but the most insular of communities can claim to have been sheltered from its wake. There is no consensus on the implications of globalisation. However, what we do know is that globalisation requires a dynamic paradigm. The process of interconnection and linkage leads us to continually learn more about ourselves, others, and how we interact. To struggle in water and clasp at nothing is to drown, whereas to trust, float, swim and adapt is to survive.

In this new era, we are compelled to deal with differences on both a grand and local scale. Cultural, religious and national differences are particularly highlighted when they are cast beside each other. Barriers that were once instinctive and logical are now within question. Just as cannon walls rendered city walls obsolete, a globalising world will conceivably move past the barriers of old. The concept of community, defined through differences and barriers, will be tested severely. Whether "global community" is empty phrasing or a valid aspiration is up for debate. Subsequently, we also need to consider if the obsolescence of communities amidst globality is inevitable or even ideal.

As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, it is important we constantly review our roles in a globalising world. Given how change is the only constant, no assumptions stay valid forever. The summit theme hopes to be a trigger for discussion that is truly evergreen.

As the word 'summit' suggests, HC-APYLS aspires to provide a platform for the best young minds of the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues pertinent to the region today. This pinnacle of Asian youth is embodied by the symbol of an upright triangle - grounded by a wide and firm base, and peaking at the top to chart a direction for the future.

The individual triangles represent the gathering of young leaders of diverse ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds, as marked by the different shades of the same colour scheme. All these are freely stacked to form the silhouette of a mountain, representing how leaders across the continent can build on each other's strengths to surmount common problems.

As a triangle always has a point that indicates an upward direction, the unity of these different nations despite their differences is reflected in how the triangles that make up the mountain ultimately point toward the same goal.


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