Say yes to Singapore: A gathering place for the meeting of great minds

The city-state’s vibrant business environment, stable government, and excellent infrastructure are key drivers of the Milken Institute Asia Summit’s extraordinary decade-long success, according to its newly-minted chair of the Asia centre, Curtis S Chin

Curtis S Chin, chair of the Milken Institute Asia Center (extreme right), moderated a session with (from left) actor, Henry Golding; singer Eric Nam, co-founder and creative director, Mindset; and actress and entrepreneur, Raline Shah, at this year's summit
Curtis S Chin, chair of the Milken Institute Asia Center (extreme right), moderated The Next Saga for Asia’s Creative Industries session with (from left) actor, Henry Golding; singer, co-founder and creative director, Mindset, Eric Nam and actress and entrepreneur, Raline Shah

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Singapore as a world-class business event destination of choice is powering along its recovery trajectory with a robust pipeline of renowned international events, driven by the city-state’s resilience, continuous innovation to reimagine the future of business events, and strong ability to meet new and elevated standards in today’s redefined operating environment.

Blazing the trail on the thought leadership front in September was the Milken Institute Asia Summit 2022, which played host to more than 1,000 in-person regional and global leaders from more than 35 countries.

With nearly 230 diverse speakers on more than 50 public panels, private sessions and receptions, the curated discussions and purpose-driven meetings aimed to translate ideas into scalable solutions to transform institutions and communities.

In the first instalment of the Say yes to Singapore series, Curtis S Chin, chair of the Milken Institute Asia Center – the new head honcho appointed days before the Asia summit opened – and former US ambassador to the Asian Development Bank, told TTGmice why the nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank chose the city-state to stage its influential event.

What are some of the highlights at your event in Singapore?
Our 9th annual Milken Institute Asia Summit – held over three days in September 2022 on the eve of the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022 – underscored that Singapore is back as a major, world-class locale for meeting, incentive, conference & exhibition (MICE) events.

Singapore is setting the pace for MICE events in a region and world hungry for in-person convenings.

The theme of the Milken Institute Asia Summit 2022 was ‘The World Transformed’ – how the world has changed and not changed – with a focus on ideas and discussions that are transforming institutions and communities as Singapore and numerous other nations adjusted to living with Covid-19.

For me, a clear highlight of the 9th Milken Institute Asia Summit was our successful return to a fully in-person format to convene and to discuss critical issues and topics ranging from environmental, social and governance standards, to the rise of Asia’s creative industries.

The summit welcomed more than 1,100 in-person attendees originating from more than 35 countries; and a diversity of nearly 230 speakers on more than 30 public panels, some 21 private discussion sessions and three private receptions.

As in past years, this year’s summit welcomed top global and regional leaders, cultural, sports and business icons, innovators and disruptors.

Adding to a diversity of speakers at the summit including many a titan of industry, tech and finance, were superstars of another sort, including Singapore’s senior minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam; Julia Gillard, 27th prime minister of Australia and inaugural chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership; K-pop star and mental health advocate, Eric Nam; British-Malaysian Hollywood actor, Henry Golding making his return to Singapore; top Singaporean singer JJ Lin; celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud and Nobu Matsahisa; Indian matchmaker and Netflix series star, Sima Taparia or “Sima Aunty”; and Indonesian actress and entrepreneur, Raline Shah.

What aspects of Singapore made you choose it for your event, and why are these considerations important to host destination selection?
Singapore’s vibrant business culture, stable and respected government, and excellent infrastructure continue to be key drivers of the Milken Institute Asia Summit’s phenomenal success for nearly a decade.

Step-by-step and well-thought-through easing of community health measures such as indoor masking has meant major events are even more likely to resume and scale up as Singapore leads the region in moving forward.

At a time when the eyes of the world have shifted to South-east Asia with ASEAN, G20 and APEC summits held in Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand respectively in November 2022, how terrific it is that the Milken Institute in close partnership with the Singapore government, continues to be a major part of Singapore’s (message) making clear to the world that this dynamic city state is back.

How would you describe your experience working with MICE professionals in Singapore? Any highlights?
My colleagues in Los Angeles and Singapore tell me that they had a terrific experience working with event and production company professionals in Singapore.

They felt that the working experience was smooth and efficient, with event and production professionals in Singapore proving to be extremely attentive and responsive in supporting the event. They set a high standard in terms of the quality of work they produced.

Our success in putting together yet another blockbuster Milken Institute Asia Summit was very much the product of working and partnering with some of Singapore’s finest MICE professionals.

How likely would you return to Singapore for future events?
With Singapore home to our Milken Institute Asia Center, work is already underway on plans for our 10th Milken Institute Asia Summit in 2023, as well as on a range of other future events in Singapore.

For us at the Milken Institute Asia Center and for MICE events in Singapore, it is most definitely clear: the best is yet to come as this city-state goes from strength to strength.

All images to be credited to the Milken Institute and the Milken Institute Asia Summit.

Keen to organise your next business event in Singapore?

Find out why Singapore is your business event destination of choice here.

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