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S'pore to host first meet of South Asian diaspora
[April 22, 2011]

S'pore to host first meet of South Asian diaspora

SINGAPORE, Apr 21, 2011 (The Straits Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- More than 500 prominent delegates will converge in Singapore for the first South Asian Diaspora Convention in July.

The global convention, to be held at Resorts World Sentosa, is set to take place once every two years and is organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), an autonomous research institute within the National University of Singapore.

The South Asian diaspora comprises about 30 million South Asians worldwide outside the region. About 350,000 are living, working or studying in Singapore.

Speaking at a press conference, ISAS chairman Gopinath Pillai outlined two primary objectives of the convention.

First, to allow members of the South Asian diaspora to link up and possibly come up with joint initiatives.

Second, that those taking part in the convention will be able to look at Singapore as a convenient venue to meet, interact, and perhaps use as a base for their joint initiatives.

Themed 'Linking the South Asian Diaspora', the convention on July 21 and 22 will cover a wide range of issues such as entrepreneurship and technology from a political and economic standpoint.

A dialogue session with Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, moderated by Professor Kishore Mahbubani from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, will be held on the second day.

The idea for the convention came from the sustained interest of ISAS in diaspora studies, said Mr Pillai. He added that President S R Nathan, who launched an ISAS website on the South Asian diaspora in 2009, "planted the idea".

As a neutral and culturally diverse state, Singapore provides a good framework for members of the South Asian diaspora to interact and work together, he explained.

Participants will have opportunities for private networking sessions, and hopefully will forge binding relationships that will enable them to capitalise on the growth of South Asia as a region.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will be officiating at the event on July 21, while President Nathan and Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong will be the guest of honour and special guest respectively for the gala dinner held on the same day.

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