SINGAPORE – A pandemic. A war in Ukraine. An energy crisis in Europe. Worsening geopolitical tensions, intensifying climate change events, and global recession risks.
As the world faces greater turbulence, The Straits Times’ inaugural Asia Future Summit is bringing together thought leaders from around the region to offer insights into the crises of our time and how countries can navigate the uncertainties that lie ahead.
Talks delivered by distinguished guests, prominent scholars and business leaders at the one-day summit on Nov 1 will centre on three main themes: geopolitics, technology and culture.
Among the programmes will be panel discussions and deep dives into some of Asia’s most pressing questions: How badly will the region be hit if the United States falls into a recession? Amid unprecedented militarisation in the wake of the invasion in Ukraine, is a potential world war already on our doorstep? Is China nearing a push for reunification with Taiwan as Sino-US tensions rise, and what can Asean do to avoid getting embroiled in an East-West conflict?
And as boundaries blur between the physical and digital worlds, how can societies work to preserve human creativity and critical thinking?
Speakers include US military strategist Edward Luttwak, Chinese think tank Centre for China and Globalisation founder and president Henry Wang Huiyao, and Chinese science fiction writer Stanley Chen Qiufan.
The slate of speakers also includes veteran Singapore diplomats Chan Heng Chee and Tommy Koh, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, former Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa, and China and South-east Asia historian Wang Gungwu.
“Conversations on the future of Asia could not be more timely,” said Dr Natalegawa. “More than simply the much-recognised competitive China-US geopolitical dynamic, Asia confronts other complex and uncertain sets of geopolitical rivalries that not only threaten to revive long-known disputes, but are also manifesting themselves in new areas beyond traditional political and security fields.”
Mr Warren Fernandez, editor-in-chief of SPH Media Trust’s English, Malay and Tamil Media Group and editor of ST, pointed out the importance of engaging in more global conversations in these uncertain times.
“We are at a dangerous and troubling point in geopolitical affairs. All the more we need to engage on and discuss the big issues of our times, from the growing contestation between the big powers, to climate change and the social and political implications of major technological innovations, not least artificial intelligence,” Mr Fernandez said.
“These conversations with leading thinkers in these fields, as well as our ST correspondents, will help us chart the way forward.”
Dr Tan See Leng, Singapore’s Manpower Minister and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, will be the guest of honour at the summit. OCBC Bank is the premier sponsor of the event.