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Kimberly Mann – “It’s key to present information to people in a way that allows them to understand the lessons that are to be learned from this tragedy”
Kimberly Mann – “It’s key to present information to people in a way that allows them to understand the lessons that are to be learned from this tragedy”
Louise Hallman and Tomas De La Rosa 
It happened in Europe over 70 years ago, but teaching about and learning from the Holocaust is still vital across the world today, says Kimberly Mann, Salzburg Global Fellow and chief of the Education Outreach Section in the United Nations’ Department of Public Information. Speaking at the session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism, Mann discussed the importance of Holocaust Education: “I think that when we look at Holocaust Education, we have to focus on two things: education and remembrance. It’s key to present this history to young people in a way that they can understand the lessons that are to be learned from this tragedy,” Mann says. In her role with the UN, Mann devised the strategy and outreach program to be used by all 63 field offices of the UN around the world, which each has a mandate to observe the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27 (the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp). In 2005, the first year of the outreach program, 10 Holocaust education and remembrance activities were held in 10 countries. By 2017, this had grown to 150 events and activities in 50 countries. “To me [that growth] says a lot,” says Mann. “To me it says that the United Nations has taken this subject very seriously and we have been very determined to encourage Holocaust education in countries around the world, in countries that are at risk and in countries that have had absolutely or very little connection to the Holocaust as it occurred at the time.” In April 2017, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) published Education about the Holocaust and preventing genocide: A policy guide. As Mann explains, the guide “defines what it is about the Holocaust that is universal; why it’s important for educators around the world to introduce education about the Holocaust in their classrooms; the relationship that it has not only with the preventing of genocide but [also] international law; and the role of the international community has in helping to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.” The document, which was contributed to by 10 Salzburg Global Fellows, makes the link between Holocaust education and global citizenship education and the role that all individuals have to help promote peace and sustainable development. The Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme contributed to the document's guidelines. There are challenges in this approach. Mann attended an earlier session in the Salzburg Global Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention Program where she says there were many intellectual debates: “Do we teach about the Holocaust in order to protect human rights? Or do we look at human rights and then consider the Holocaust? There are some great sensitivities.” Mann believes that “the Holocaust is a very important subject in and of itself.” “You don’t teach about the Holocaust to learn about other genocides; you teach about the Holocaust to understand how the Holocaust came about – the specific history, the impact that it had on the Jewish people, and what that meant to the rest of the world.” “Comparative genocide [studies are] important but you can’t compare the suffering of the victims. There is no hierarchy of suffering,” Mann explains. “But you can look at certain warning signs. You can be more aware and take action to prevent these things from happening by looking at case histories like the Holocaust, and what happened in Rwanda or other countries.” For Mann, Holocaust education has an important role in teaching societies about what happens when there is discrimination, hatred and bigotry, and a lack of respect for minorities and diversity, as well as how communities – local, national and international – respond to such atrocities. She highlights the importance of learning how the Holocaust was perpetrated and by whom: “It wasn’t just the Nazis, it was the German people and their collaborators.” Sharing personal experiences such as The Diary of Anne Frank has great value, says Mann, as they can help to make the atrocities feel more “real”: “It’s so important that we continue to listen to the stories of survivors, that this history has been documented.” At a UN event in New York to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Diary of Anne Frank, at which the accounts of Anne Frank and other young victims of genocidal violence were presented to an audience of than 500 13 to 18 year olds, Mann remarks that she was “very inspired by [their] reaction.” “The reaction from the young people was to ask: ‘Why? Why do we see people who are different to us as being less than us? Why do we think that people who are different than us don’t deserve to have same treatment, the same quality of life, the same standards of living and protections under the law as we do? Why?!’ …I really think that what I see [now] versus when I was younger in school is that there is a lot of critical thinking that is happening now.” “There is a lot of work to be done but I think the first step is for young people to analyze the information that is being presented to them and then question the assumptions that they have already made themselves or the so-called ‘truths’ that have been presented to them.”    Ultimately, Holocaust education is not only about learning about and from the past. Mann hopes that programs like as hers will “motivate [young people] to take some sort of positive action to defend human rights.” The session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism is part of the multi-year series Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program, which is held partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. More information can be found on the session here, and you can follow along via the hashtag #SGShol on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
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Learning from the Past - Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism
Candles brought to the market square in Turku, Finland, following the knife attack in August 2017. Photo: Sullay/Wikimedia commons
Learning from the Past - Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism
Mirva Villa 
Ensuring the next generation can grow up in more resilient, open, and pluralist communities in the face of rising extremism challenges countries across the globe. Faced with a rise in violent extremism, policymakers are under pressure to invest in prevention and to show that it works. Structured efforts to reduce extremist mindsets and behaviors have existed for some time, but evidence of effectiveness is often not widely known or utilized. Many interventions require considerable time to affect change, making rigorous measurement of their success over the long term resource-intensive and in need of sustained political will around an often-unpopular topic. What works? How do we know? And will it work in different geographic, cultural and political contexts? By providing a platform for cross-border and cross-sector collaborations, the session to be held this week in Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg, Austria – Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism – aims to support those individuals and institutions who have taken up the challenge of promoting peace in their own communities. Salzburg Global Seminar’s long-running Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program works across cultures and contexts, including where perceptions and definitions of “extremism” differ widely. The 2017 session in the Program will build on work from previous years, particularly the projects launched at the December 2016 session, Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism. One of these projects, The Change Makers Leadership Program, created by Salzburg Global Fellows Tali Nates and Richard Freedman from South Africa, and Freddy Mutanguha and Aloys Mahwa from Rwanda, helps students between the ages of 15 and 18 in both countries understand their countries’ troubled pasts in an effort to promote peaceful coexistence and counter extremism. The first class of students graduated this summer, and it is intended that the program will expand to other African countries in 2018. Over 40 participants from 20 countries, mostly from Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, will convene in Schloss Leopoldskron for this year’s session on November 16-20. They come from many professional backgrounds including academia, museums and memorial sites, civil society organizations, government officials, and public communications experts. Many of the participants are returning Fellows from other Salzburg Global sessions, including its multi-year series on Culture, Arts and Society, the Salzburg Global Media Academy and Reform and Transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. The session will mix interactive methodologies, plenary and small group discussions, and thematic and regionally focused working groups to explore and debate the most effective ways to combat rising intolerance and extremism. Participants will deepen and extend their collaborative work in order to identify cross-regional strategies to empower institutions and individuals with tools for ethical education, peaceful conflict resolution, and pluralist societies. Program Director Charles Ehrlich says that “we are thrilled to have such truly remarkable people from across the world to join us in Salzburg. They share a commitment to overcoming the legacy or threat of mass atrocity, using tools developed for Holocaust education to address their countries’ own national tragedies or problematic histories in an appropriate and dignified way, so that they may provide hope for – and through – the next generation.” The HEGP Program is held in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The HEGP Program’s emphasis on grassroots activity within existing institutional budgets anchors projects in their local communities and improves chances for longer-term sustainability. Activities depend on the partners and are demand-driven: The Program provides no financial support to activity implementation, but rather facilitates networks and exchange of experiences across borders to help in-country partners achieve their own institutional mandates, and to help external partners (government, academic, civil society, and other interested parties) to have access to practical feedback from on-the-ground actors within affected countries and communities. Since 2010, the Program has sought to develop methods for combating extremism and promoting pluralism through education and research. The Program has a network of individuals and NGOs in more than 40 countries, offering ongoing support to its members. It promotes learning from the Global South – both South-to-South exchange but also importantly transmitting lessons from South to North, to inform and influence effective policy and strategies both in the participants’ countries and in Western countries striving to address the same issues, and to determine what methodologies or tools can be leveraged in different contexts. The session, Learning from the Past: Sharing Experiences across Borders to Combat Extremism is part of the multi-year series Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention (HEGP) Program, which is held partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and this year is funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Zukunftsfonds der Republik Österreich. Additional support comes from Mr. Ronald Abramson; the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research, and Economy; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; the HDH Wills 1965 Charitable Trust; the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung; and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. More information can be found on the session here: www.salzburgglobal.org/go/589 and you can follow along via the hashtag #SGShol on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 
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Chochoe Devaporihartakula – A clean and green Asia needs compliance and transparency
Unhealthy levels of air pollution affect the lives of millions living in Asian mega-cities like Shangai, pictured, writes Chochoe Devaporihartakula
Chochoe Devaporihartakula – A clean and green Asia needs compliance and transparency
Chochoe Devaporihartakula 
Devaporihartakula will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.” Urbanization is increasingly perceived as a serious issue that threatens to undermine recent advances towards sustainable development in Asia. Currently, 48 percent of the population in Asia is living in urban areas and is expected to grow to 64 percent by 2050 according to the United Nations. The highest rate of urban population growth is predicted to take place in Asia and Africa, which will have significant consequences on natural resources, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, while air pollution levels attributable to urban development already far exceed World Health Organization (WHO) standards and are likely to rise substantially in the coming decades. While other regions are exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution, Asia accounts for the largest share of ambient PM2.5 and is responsible for millions of deaths. In Southeast Asia, urban air pollution is ranked among the highest in the world with many cities showing pollution levels five to 10 times above WHO limits. Those of us who live in Southeast Asia’s mega-cities know that air pollution is a problem. But the public is only now beginning to learn just how dangerous this problem has become. A recent study by the University of Chicago found that air pollution is shortening the lives of Vietnamese citizens by 1.16 years. Earlier this year, Harvard University and Greenpeace estimated that air pollution from the region’s coal-fired power plants could be killing 20,000 people per year. It is often the poor who suffer disproportionately from environmental health risks associated with air pollution effects. The Asia we want can only be made clean and green by ensuring the effectiveness of environmental compliance and increasing transparency and accountability of all stakeholders. Every country has limited resources that must be used effectively to foster greater compliance with the law and improved protection for people and the environment. National governments, city officials, local communities, and regional cooperation through networks such as the Asian Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network (AECEN) must collaborate to make sure steps are taken in order to regulate and monitor pollution sources at the very early stage. This would ensure fewer polluting sources, reduced health impacts, more efficient economic growth, and greater economic returns to the country. Most Asian countries currently lack advanced technology used for pollution monitoring. Therefore, proper mechanisms such as prioritizing high risk threats through regulations, incentive programs to motivate compliance, and advanced technology for more accurate and less expensive monitoring can help all countries leap forward in the effectiveness of their compliance and enforcement efforts. Dealing with air pollution is a global challenge but the good news is that during the first Asia-Pacific Ministerial Summit on the Environment held in Bangkok in September 2017, 30 countries in Asia-Pacific committed to move towards a clean and green Asia-Pacific with highlights on the urgency of addressing environmental health risks associated with pollution and promoting resource efficiency measures and practices. Let’s hope and see if this initiative can really lead to sustainable urban development and nature-based solutions – and not just another commitment that is left on the shelf. Chochoe Devaporihartakula is the program manager for the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and the Training Event Specialist for the Regional Resource Center for Asia and the Pacific at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT). Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.
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Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor”
The growth of emerging Asian economies should be achieved in a sustainable manner, writes Choudhury. Image: Flickr/Selamat Made
Sandeep Choudhury – “The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor”
Sandeep Choudhury 
Choudhury will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.” Two thirds of the world’s poor live in Asia. More than 850 million lack access to safe drinking water and over two billion lack access to improved sanitation. Energy demand is set to double in the coming years. Education and women’s issues remains a big concern. Already we see large parts of South East Asia and South Asia ravaged by hurricanes and floods, which has led to millions being displaced. There are other areas with droughts and food security to deal with. Ethnic and political violence has led to the creation of millions of refugees, which compounds the problem further. Set against this backdrop, it is imperative that we understand the localization of problems and come up with solutions that are inclusive as well as bottom up. Communities need to be engaged, and not in superficial ways. Time is of the essence and the bureaucracy across governments needs to streamlined for quicker delivery. The Asia we want is a coming together of modern technology to deliver last mile development as well as draw upon the ethos and traditions of the olden days. Frugal consumption patterns and community living was the norm in Asia, before massive industrialization and population growth spurred millions to migrate and clog the cities of Asia, as well as drive up unsustainable consumption and poverty levels. Asia is comprised of agrarian economies in large parts, and it would be ideal if we could go back to days of clean and sustainable land use practices. The Asia we want should be one based on equitable growth and not the disparity we see today between the rich and the poor. While the emerging economies in Asia are growing and energy demands set to rise, it is important that this growth is achieved in a sustainable manner and not the same way that we witnessed the developed world grow though the 20th century. We have to learn from our mistakes and take this next growth cycle in Asia as an opportunity to grow in a manner which is not detrimental to our existence in the future. Sandeep is a co-founder at VNV Advisory Services, responsible for the initiation and development of the climate change expertise. Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.
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Xixi Chen – We need integrated, collaborative and bottom-up leadership to build a cleaner and greener Asia
Businesses and communities need support in setting their goals to reduce emissions, writes Xixi Chen
Xixi Chen – We need integrated, collaborative and bottom-up leadership to build a cleaner and greener Asia
Xixi Chen 
Chen will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their own vision for “the Asia we want.” 2015 saw the historic successful deal of the Paris Agreement, which symbolized the unanimous determination from nearly 200 countries to fight against climate change and emphasized the climate leadership of the collaboration among all countries. But 2017 has seen this leadership transformed, if not demolished. On June 1, 2017, the new administration of the United States announced that the country will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. It was a big setback for the green community. However, four days later, the CEO of Unilever made the announcement saying “we are still in,” followed by thousands of city mayors, business CEOs, and non-profit organization leaders. The decision of the president of the US did not change or stop the joint effort from a cross-section communities of the country and beyond to help reduce carbon emissions. This new rising leadership on climate change and sustainability, is different from the top-down national-level leadership we are used to seeing – it is a stronger integrated force, incorporating all kinds of bottom-up community-level efforts working together. To build a cleaner and greener Asia, this is the new leadership we need and it can help bridge us into the long-term future in the face of inevitable short-term political unitability and uncertainties in many different parts of the world. This new force of leadership on climate requires strong and effective collaboration on community level, letting leaders from cities, businesses, investors, colleges and universities, local communities, to come and work together toward the same goal: providing fresh air, clean water, safe food, affordable energy, and a healthy environment to everyone in Asia – and the world. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said “a journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.” Helping businesses and communities set their own big and achievable science-based goals on emissions reduction and sustainability is that crucial first step. Once we have the goals, we will need to overcome the communication barrier and build high-quality conversations to help us move forward together because Asian countries are so diverse in cultures and languages and the social and economic developments are uneven. Using advanced technologies to build the best-practice sharing platform can help strengthen the collaboration among our communities; if there is an innovative transportation solution in one city, how can we effectively share the solution with other cities? Regional high-impact initiatives need to be applauded and encouraged, and the resources and tools that can help maximize the impacts should be replicated and shared across industries and regions with lower cost and higher accessibility. Undoubtedly, market-based policies and innovative financing mechanisms will also help accelerate the collaboration and scale up positive results because the best environmental solutions are always strong business cases too. This is not an easy pathway and there is a lot of work need to be done along the road. But the future looks more promising and exciting because a future Asia with better networked and collaborative communities will be not only cleaner and greener, but also more resilient and prosperous. Xixi Chen is a manager at the Environmental Defense Fund based in New York with focuses on clean energy, green supply chain, and corporate partnerships. Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.
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Wilson John Barbon – Disasters are not natural phenomena but are the result of human and social conditions
Natural disasters, including the possible eruption of Mt. Agung in Bali, are first and for most social development issues, writes Wilson John Barbon
Wilson John Barbon – Disasters are not natural phenomena but are the result of human and social conditions
Wilson John Barbon 
Barbon will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their vision for “the Asia we want.” The imminent eruption of Mt. Agung in the tourist island of Bali, Indonesia has filled the news in Asia. A number of countries have already issued travel warnings for the island. But despite all of these warnings, I still flew into Bali at the beginning of October together with the hundreds of tourists. It seems like despite all the ominous news both (real and fake) in social media, Bali still enjoys 95 percent occupancy. I was in Bali to facilitate two events related to disaster risk reduction (DRR); namely a two-day orientation on community-managed DRR for a number of local community-based organizations (CBO) from Timor Leste; and a learning conference on the role of local leadership in building disaster resilience in Indonesia and Timor Leste. I thought to myself this is an opportune time to talk about disaster resilience of local communities within the shadows of a possible eruption of Mt. Agung. On the first day of my interaction with CBO leaders from Timor Leste, I had just two key messages for them about building people’s resilience against disasters and climate change. The first message I always teach is: disasters are not natural phenomena. They are the result of human and social conditions. In the parlance of disaster risk reduction, we differentiate hazards from disasters. Hazards are the events (both natural and human acts) that have the potential to create serious disruption in the way of life of people and their communities. These disruptions we refer to as disasters. How people are affected is a result of human and social conditions. Then the second message I teach is: resilience building starts with changing the mindsets of individual people. It’s about shifting to a new way of looking at our development challenges. A resilience mindset is having the ability to be aware of and to understand the hazards that we are exposed to; it is about having the ability to calibrate one’s exposure and vulnerability to these hazards; and finally, it is the ability to determine and act on building coping capacities to better survive and bounce back quickly from these hazards. Therefore, building community resilience is a process of capacity development. Resilience cannot be just handed over to communities. Communities, through their local leadership, have to build their own resilience. I call on development players to shift towards a mindset that disasters are social development issues; that individuals and communities have the ability to choose whether they will be a disaster victim or a survivor. Secondly, I call on local communities that they should continue to organize, mobilize and innovate to address the social, economic and political root causes of disaster risks. And I believe local leadership plays a big role. While Mt. Agung looms in the backdrop of our event in Bali, I hope that the voices we gathered and the relationships built among local leaders will start the ripple towards building a more resilient Asia. Wilson John Barbon is currently the Country Program Coordinator for Myanmar tasked with leading the establishment of the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) presence in Myanmar.  Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.
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Marifrance Avila – “For us to achieve the Asia that we want, we need to start with achieving the country that we want”
Marifrance Avila – “For us to achieve the Asia that we want, we need to start with achieving the country that we want”
Marifrance R. Avila 
Avila will be a participant at the upcoming session in the series The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation. All participants were invited to share their vision for “the Asia we want.” The Philippines is an archipelagic country endowed with both mineral and natural resources that have the potential to meet the basic needs of the people and to support a far more prosperous and equitable society – if it were not for the historical confluence of different factors: a legacy of colonial plunder and its current-day forms, the inability to address the roots of the worsening global climate crisis, and the failure of governance to address the ecological and socio-economic realities of our times. This is not only a reflection of my own country but more of a picture of the Asia we are. Asia is a rich continent not only of its natural resources but of its people and its culture. The Asia we dream of is a haven of cultural integration, a venue for intellectual discourse, a place of economic progress, climate resilience and a green Asia. However, this vision is not something we can achieve in a blink of an eye. This involves hard work, dedication, and collaboration. In my country, we are keen to address issues of the environment. In Makati City, for example, we make sure that economic advancement does not derail our efforts to protect the environment we live in. Makati, as a highly-urbanized city, focuses on managing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GHG Management Plan allows the city government to analyze the emissions produced within its geographic boundary and to identify appropriate climate change mitigation options through policies and programs. Using the inventory report as a backbone for a scientific baseline analysis of trends in GHG emissions, the plan serves as Makati City’s blueprint for climate change actions. This is just one of the initiatives that we can impart to our neighboring countries in Asia. For us to achieve the Asia that we want, we need to start with achieving the country that we want. We need to make sure that where we live is a sanctuary not just for its people and culture, but also for our floras and faunas; a country where people are sensitive not only to their own needs but also to the needs of their surroundings. As Barry Commoner said: “The first Law of Ecology: Everything is connected to everything else.” We are but one in this world, interconnected and intertwined. What we do in our own country will ripple and multiply. This is how we can realize the country we dream of – and the Asia we want. Marifrance R. Avila is currently the focal person for both climate change and water and the pollution section of the pollution control and regulation division of the city of Makati, the Philippines. Session 591 - The Asia We Want: Building Community Through Regional Cooperation I - A Clean and Green Asia - is the first session of a new multi-year series held in partnership with the Japan Foundation. For more information on the Session, please click here. To keep up to date with the conversations taking place during the session on social media, follow #SGSasia.
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