Asia Summit 2019


Limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in
all aspects of society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in their
assessment last October 2018. Who else to make non-incremental changes than the open-minded,
technologically minded and digitally connected youngsters who care for their only planet?

This gathering of minds is for the participants to learn and share on the latest of sustainability trends, on the skills needed to lead ground-breaking sustainability projects, and to make new connections to collaborate with one another to start-up initiatives to impact local realities.

It is also about activating the often dormant leadership potential of talented young academics into utilizing their intellectual capabilities for positive impact in their immediate surroundings. It is about giving them tools for skills upgrading, technology, context and mindset to think entrepreneurially.


The programme is being designed in such a way that interactions will be key, beyond the
traditional standard template of sitting-and-listening to experts.


Understand the latest big picture trends & research on science & sustainability with the current backdrop of political and economic turmoils.


Bring your own ideas to the conversations and be inspired by others' stories on climate leadership.


Meet sustainability entrepreneurs thinking laterally on tackling sustainability challenges.


Connect to networks and diasporas to build an understanding on how to collaborate cross-culturally.


Get to ask for help in the marketplaces on how to make your existing projects more actionable and fundable.

Antti Vänskä

Ambassador Antti Vänskä arrived in Singapore in June 2019 to assume his position as Head of Mission at the Embassy of Finland. Mr. Vänskä joined the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland in 1996 and has served on several interesting assignments both home and abroad. Prior to Singapore Mr. Vänskä served four years as Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Finland in Washington DC, USA. Earlier in his career, Mr. Vänskä has worked in the Embassy of Finland in Berlin, Germany (2001 – 2004) and in the Consulate General of Finland in St Petersburg, Russia (1997 – 2001).

Tsuneo Suzuki

Tsuneo is the CEO and Founder of Inter Act Marketing.Co, Ltd. He provides management consulting services towards realizing sustainability in enterprises and local organizations. He is shareholder and adviser of Sustainable Life Media (who organize the annual Sustainable Brands conferences held in more than 12 cities around the world) and introduced the SB conference concept to Japan 8 years ago, supporting SB-Tokyo since 2015. To protect and hand down our beautiful nature, landscapes, traditional entertainment and technologies, Tsuneo conducts consultation related to inbound-tourism promoted by Japanese local tourist associations, in particular aiding Nagasaki City in promoting peace to the world. Tsuneo is an initial key sponsor of and collaborator on the NELIS Fund, hoping thus to help support promising young leaders gathering in the NELIS network.

Peter David Pedersen

Peter David Pedersen is the Co-Founder of NELIS (Next Leaders' Initiative for Sustainability). He is the co-founder of E-Square Inc., one of Japan's leading sustainability think tanks and consultancies. He is the Executive Director, TACL, The Academy for Corporate Leadership. He has worked with more than 100 Japanese corporations on integrating sustainability into corporate strategy.

Prof. Jeff Obbard, PhD

Jeff Obbard is an Associate Professor in the Division of Environmental Science & Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Principal Scientist and Program Manager (Bioenergy) at the Science & Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology & Research of the Government of Singapore (A*STAR). He also has a affiliated position with the Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences, Singapore. He has previously served as Associate Director and Project Director (Bioenergy) at the Tropical Marine Science Institute (TMSI), NUS where his research was focussed on: bioremediation of marine oil spillages; accumulation of persistent organic pollutants in the marine environment; and the development of bioenergy derivatives from marine microalgae.

Harveen Narulla

Harveen is the Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder of Kommerce. After an early career as a lawyer with top-tier firms in Singapore, he spent a decade in various lead roles in technology ventures. This included co-founding and heading Hatcher, a leading technology venture builder in Singapore, whose portfolio includes Dropsuite (ASX:DSE), Telr (Middle East’s fastest growing online payment processor), SocialCops (India’s leading comprehensive big data play) and Hatcher+ (big data transforming venture capital investing). Harveen also co-founded Pan African Logistics (PAL), which has grown into a leading third-party logistics player in East Africa.

Dr. Wong Lai Yong

Dr. Wong Lai Yong is the Founder of First Penguin, a social enterprise that advocates action taking and integrity. Dr. Wong is a trainer, career coach and Corporate Social Responsibility consultant. Dedicated and passionate, she inspires others to search for their ikigai (reason for being) and practice a sustainable lifestyle. Dr. Wong holds many prominent appointments such as a Director of Penang Women's Development Corporation, a Lecturer (Part Time) of Kyushu University and Adjunct Professor of Graduate School of Leadership and Innovation, Shizenkan University (Japan), Deputy Centre Head of Centre of Sustainability & Innovation (Shizenkan University), Advisor of Advertising NAGATA Co., Ltd. (Japan). She continues her in search of wisdom and is actively transforming herself and sharpening her consciousness through mentored by world-renowned philosophical teachers in India, in the vision to best lead and inspire others herself.

Lekha Patmanathan

Lekha is a co-founder of Nexergy - a Singapore-based startup in the field of energy conservation. It offers energy-use diagnoses and recommend solutions to reduce energy consumption in buildings. It also supports social causes by giving non-profit organisations one complementary energy conservation service per every five for-profit deployments. Lekha cals herself an environmental evangelist, hoping that we will one day live in a world where global citizens embrace a shared responsibility to care for the environment. Before venturing into sustainability, Lekha has worked for several years in the medical field, including with tissue and organ transplantation.

Wouter Lincklaen Arrlëns

Wouter is the CEO of TransformationFirst.Asia in Singapore. A former monk and banker who bridges East and West, Wouter is called The Unlearning Coach for how he helps executives and Millennial leaders to create new cultures of innovation. Clients from 54 countries have benefited from his coaching and training to boost their leadership and productivity. Known as a global water expert and the Asian Development Bank’s former leading water specialist, he has helped clients in innovation, investment projects, change management, leadership development, stakeholder engagement, collaborative research, and regional cooperation. Wouter has helped Nelis members as a coach and mentor.

Lai Wan Chung

Wan Chung is the CEO of The MasterCoach App. Leadership development programmes are costly, yet the return-on-investment - in terms of managers putting new skills and mental models into actual practice - is often low. Something needs to be done. Workers -millennials in particular, who make up one-third of today's workforce - are not excited about being managed, they want to be engaged.This spurred us to develop and put a first-of-its-kind 'Coaching App' into the hands of today's busy managers. Our vision is to equip leaders as 'Enterprise Coaches' who can, and who will, facilitate strengths-based and engagement-driven conversations.