Fulbright-SMU Policy Forum


The FA(S)-SMU Public Policy Forum has been initiated to catalyse critical thinking on important public issues. Its inaugural session focuses on the question of social mobility in Singapore.

Singapore is undergoing a period of rapid social change. Income inequality has widened dramatically over the past decade and costs of living for the average Singaporean has risen sharply in the period. The success of Singapore has historically been underpinned by a strong and proven social mobility that helped uplift those who worked hard to improve themselves. While this was most self-evident when we were a developing country, paradoxically, now that we are an advanced economy, there is the pervasive sense that social mobility is eroding rapidly. Can public policy intervene to improve social mobility and how so?

Two talented and socially conscious young Singaporeans, Mr Soon Sze-Meng (Director at global MNC) and Mr Donald Low (Senior Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy) will present on their views followed by a panel discussion.”


5.30 – Registration
6.00 – Convening Remarks (Dr Kirpal Singh)
6.10 – Speech by Mr Soon Sze-Meng
6.25 – Speech by Mr Donald Low
6.40 – Panel Discussion
7.15 – Closing Remarks (Dr Jeremy Lim)
7.30 – End of session

All are welcome to attend. To sign up for this free event, please register online here.

(Closing date for registration:
21 February 2013, Thursday)
22 February 2013, Friday
5.30pm to 7pm
Administration Building
Executive Seminar Room 4.1
Level 4
For enquiries, please contact us at weekimweecentre@smu.edu.sg

About the speakers

Mr Soon Sze Meng

Sze Meng is a Singaporean, and a graduate of public policy from Stanford University and business administration from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He worked in Monitor Group out of Asia and McKinsey & Company in the US, and currently works in a multi-national corporation . He is also a board member of Halogen Foundation.

Mr Donald Low

Mr Donald Low is Senior Fellow and Assistant Dean (Research Centres) at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. He has administrative oversight of the School’s research centres and leads the School’s case writing efforts.

His research interests at the School include inequality and social spending, behavioural economics, economics and public policy, public finance, and governance and politics in Singapore.

Prior to his current appointment, Donald served fifteen years in the Singapore government. During that time, he established the Centre for Public Economics at the Civil Service College of Singapore to advance economics literacy in the Singapore government.

Donald also held various senior positions at the heart of the Singapore government. He was the Director of Fiscal Policy at the Ministry of Finance from 2004 to 2005, and the Director of the Strategic Policy Office in the Public Service Division from 2006 to 2007.

Donald co-wrote and edited Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore (2011), a pioneering book which details how the Singapore government has applied ideas from the field of behavioural economics in the design of public policies.

Donald holds a double first in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and a Masters in International Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies. He is currently a Vice President at the Economics Society of Singapore.

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