Chance to talk trade, biz and arts

The South Asian Diaspora Convention (SADC) to be held in Singapore on Nov 21 and 22 will bring under one roof business leaders, politicians, writers and media personalities from across Asia and the world.

The chairman of the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), which is organising the event, ambassador Gopinath Pillai said the convention will initiate discussions on opportunities for increasing trade and investment between South and South-east Asia.

Speaking at a media briefing on Oct 9, Mr Pillai said: "We hope that the convention will foster greater regional integration that will lead to more prosperity and stability in the region in the long term."

More than 1,000 delegates from around the world are expected to participate in the convention. Some of the high-profile speakers include India's finance minister P. Chidambaram, Mahindra Group's chairman and managing director Anand Mahindra, Indian politician Shashi Tharoor and many others.

This is the second SADC organised by ISAS in Singapore. ISAS director Professor Tan Tai Yong said the institute was encouraged by the success of the first SADC in 2011 and hoped that it would be one of the notable events of the region.

"We want it to be the Davos (which hosts the prestigious World Economic Forum) of South Asia."

The convention will also have a session on capital flows in the region and the role of diaspora. One of the speakers at the event will be former World Bank vice-president Shahid Javed Burki. Mr Burki said remittances played a notable role in supporting South Asia's economies. He said at the briefing: "The diaspora, through its remittances to the region, has added significantly to the size of the middle class and in doing so, substantially reduced the incidence of poverty."

The convention will feature two sessions on literary arts and media. The literary arts session will be moderated by Singapore-based novelist Meira Chand. These sessions will have speakers like authors Tahmima Anam and Manjushree Thapa.

Well-known Indian journalist Barkha Dutt and classical dancer Mallika Sarabhai will speak at a session on media and arts.

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