Activist to head national volunteer centre

Social activist Melissa Kwee (above) will replace Nominated Member of Parliament Laurence Lien as chief executive of the board of the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).

The change, announced yesterday by the NVPC, which connects volunteers and donors with the non-profit sector here, will take effect on Sept 1.

Ms Kwee is a graduate of Harvard College and a Fulbright Scholar who dived into social entrepreneurship after university. She is the founder of Project Access, a leadership education initiative to inspire and equip girls and young women to be role models.

She also pioneered service learning programmes in schools and has since worn various hats in social service. These include being chairman of youth leadership organisation Halogen Foundation, president of UN Women Singapore, and an advocate against trafficking. In the corporate arena, she recently acted as vice-president of human capital at Pontiac Land Group.

Ms Kwee has received several awards for leadership and service, among them the Singapore Youth Award in 2007 and the ASEAN Youth Award in 2008.

She described volunteerism and philanthropy as pillars of social capital, and the act of giving as being transformational.

"As our nation evolves, we need to ask what kind of society we want to live in and leave for future generations. Giving should be what we get to do, not what we have to do," she said yesterday.

Mr Lien, who led NVPC for over five years, expressed admiration for her work and capabilities.

"I look forward to seeing how she will steer NVPC to develop a more compassionate and engaged society to the next level," he said.

This article was first published on July 24, 2014.
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