Inspiring future changemakers to collaborate for social impact
Sep 25, 2017

SMU’s very first Social Impact Festival opened a window into the world of opportunities for cross-sector collaboration among youth

The inaugural Social Impact Festival (SIF) 2017 was organised by the Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Lien Centre for Social Innovation in celebration of social innovation and impact.

Taking place around SMU's city campus from 11 to 16 September 2017, the festival programmes were attended by the public, including individuals passionate about making a change in society. The festival was deliberately shaped to allow participants the option to choose the programmes they wanted to be part of and to hear from socially minded changemakers.

Articulating the objectives of the Social Impact Festival, Jonathan Chang, Executive Director of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation said, “With the right skills and mindset, anyone can be a changemaker, no matter who or where we are. We all have to think critically about our journeys, and consider our role in nurturing a society that’s respectful and inclusive. That’s why we have organised the inaugural SMU Social Impact Festival, which has a strong focus on storytelling, inclusion, and social-emotional leadership.”

“Hosting this public festival at SMU is especially meaningful – the university is the first in Asia to be named an Ashoka Changemaker Campus, recognising its position among global leaders in facilitating social innovation and changemaking in higher education,” he added.

With a strong focus on the sharing of ideas for cross-sector collaboration, the SIF 2017 programme line-up included interactive workshops, panels and activities by social enterprises, non-profit organisations, student groups and socially-minded consultants working on disability, social inclusion, technology, social-emotional leadership, photography, fashion, filmmaking, and storytelling.

SIF 2017 kickstarted the week of activities with its opening event, Journeys in Social Impact, where SMU welcomed Mr Heng Chee How, Senior Minister of State (PMO), as Guest of Honour. Mr Heng shared his personal experiences on social impact with the audience, such as the importance of adopting pragmatism on the journey of changemaking, having a growth-minded mindset, and ensuring clarity in the mission of making positive impact.

To underscore the importance of social inclusion, the audience was treated to enthusiastic performances by the Down Syndrome Association’s drum prodigy ensemble and the SMU Sikhs Inc student group. This was followed by a series of moving impact presentations by inspiring individuals on topics ranging from water conservation to reducing food waste.

Rounding off the event, a distinguished panel of professionals discussed social changemaking concepts, from transforming passive eldercare to active everyday rehabilitation, to policies designed to shape an equitable, inclusive and sustainable future.The panel included Her Excellency Dorte Bech Vizard (Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore), Her Excellency Nancy Lynn McDonald (High Commissioner of Canada in Singapore), Ramandeep Sidhu (Assistant Director, Philanthropy & Partnerships, National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre), and Vadivu Govind (Founder, Joy Works).

SOURCE / Singapore Management University