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About Us

The Lien Centre for Social Innovation, a partnership between the Lien Foundation and Singapore Management University (SMU), was established in 2006 to advance the thinking and capability of the social sector.


Our vision is to be a thought leader and catalyst for positive social change in Singapore and beyond. Our mission is to catalyse innovative responses to social needs through applied research and capacity building in collaboration with the public, private and social sectors. To see our organisational brochure, please click here.


The Lien Centre contributes to a more equitable, inclusive and vibrant society by addressing social needs through innovative approaches. We drive socially innovative solutions by strengthening social sector organisations so that they become influential and effective partners with business and government. We also work at the intersection of the public, private and social sectors to catalyse social innovation.


Board Members

The Lien Centre’s 9 board members comprise a cross-section of thought leadership in Singapore.

Dr Tan Chi Chiu

Dr. Tan Chi Chiu is a gastroenterologist and Managing Director of Gastroenterology & Medicine International in Singapore. He has been deeply involved in the medical, youth development, and community service scene for several decades. He volunteers with several nonprofit organizations. Besides his chairmanship of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation he is also a director of SATA CommHealth and National Youth Achievement Awards. He is an elected member of the Singapore Medical Council and Chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee. He was previously Executive Director of the Singapore International Foundation and has won numerous Singaporean and international military and civilian awards for his global humanitarian, community, and youth work. He is a keen observer of and commentator on the social arena.

Laurence Lien
Member, Lien Foundation

Laurence Lien is the Chairman of the Lien Foundation, Chairman of the Community Foundation of Singapore, and CEO of the Asia Philanthropy Circle. He is also the Vice-President of the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership.

He is the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) and a former Nominated Member of Parliament, advocating for the social sector and civil society in Parliament.

Formerly the Director of Governance and Investment at the Ministry of Finance, Laurence served 14 years in the Singapore Administrative Service, rotating through different positions in the Ministries of Community Development, Youth and Sports, Home Affairs and Education.

Laurence holds a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University, a Masters in Business Administration from the National University of Singapore, and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. In 2010, Laurence was awarded the Eisenhower Fellowship.

Professor Arnoud De Meyer
Member (SMU)

Professor De Meyer is President of Singapore Management University. Prior to his appointment at SMU, he was Director of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge. He was associated for 23 years with INSEAD where he held various senior academic/administrative positions, including Founding Dean of INSEAD’s Asia Campus in Singapore.

Professor De Meyer has an MSc in Electrical Engineering, an MSc in Business Administration and a PhD in Management, all from the State University of Ghent in Belgium. His research interests are in manufacturing and technology strategy, the management of R&D, the effective management of innovation, the globalisation of Asian firms, the management of novel projects, and e-readiness in Europe. Professor De Meyer has been consultant to a number of companies throughout Europe and Asia. He was a member of the Singapore Economic Review Committee (2002-2003), board member of the Infocomm Development Authority (2000-2003) and Sentosa Island Corporation (2001-2002).

Professor James Tang
Member (SMU)

Professor James T.H. Tang is Dean and Professor of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University (SMU). He is a specialist in international relations with special reference to China/Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining SMU he was Professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). A graduate of HKU, he obtained his M.Phil in International Relations at Cambridge University, and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Professor Tang began his academic career at the National University of Singapore in 1988 where he had his first full-time academic appointment.

Professor Gerard George
Member (SMU)

Professor Gerard George is a Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he is also the Editor of the Academy of Management Journal, the flagship empirical journal in the field of management. Additionally, he leads Imperial College’s Elite Programme as Academic Director. This unique programme sponsored by the London Stock Exchange develops and supports high-potential private companies through their next stage of growth. Besides his extensive experience partnering with the business and social communities, Professor George is also an award-winning teacher and researcher. He has also written two books on entrepreneurship and published many articles in leading scholarly journals.

Associate Professor Ong Siow Heng
Member (SMU)

Dr. Ong Siow Heng is Associate Professor of Corporate Communication Practice at Singapore Management University (SMU). He earned his PhD from Northwestern University.  He is Associate Dean of the Lee Kong Chian School of Business and the Director of the Centre for Scholars’ Development at SMU.  Siow Heng is the author of several books on communication and also a writer for TIME Magazine’s Educational Programme.  He has helped leaders in persuasive strategies and intercultural communication competencies. His research interests include Intercultural Communication, Public Campaigns, and Communication & Popular Culture.

Watanan Petersik
Member (Independent)

Watanan Petersik has been in the finance industry for over 26 years. She started out in commercial banking with Bankers Trust in New York before moving back to Thailand to work for their subsidiary, TISCO, in Thailand, where she set up Thailand’s first equity research department. She was subsequently Chief Representative and Head of Research for James Capel in Thailand, Head of Broking at JF Thanakom, and Chief Representative and Head of Research for S.G. Warburg in Bangkok. She moved to Hong Kong in 1994 to head up Warburg’s Asia ex-Japan Equity Capital Markets desk. Watanan joined Goldman Sachs Hong Kong in 1996 in the ECM/Investment Banking Division and stayed on for ten years. Her last position at Goldman was Chief of Staff Asia ex-Japan. Since then Watanan has been a Senior Advisor for TPG Capital. She currently sits on the Boards of CIMB Thai Bank and CIMB Group Holdings Berhad in Malaysia. She is Chairman of the Nomination and Remuneration Committee at CIMB Thai Bank. Watanan is also a Senior Moderator for the Aspen Institute, active with the Aspen Global Leadership Network in South Africa and the U.S. She is also a member of the Ashoka Fellowship Support Network in Asia. In 2010 she served as a member of the Finance Sub Committee for Thailand’s Social Enterprise initiative masterplan. Watanan is a Thai national and currently lives in Singapore with her husband and son.

Tan Bien Kiat
Member (Independent)

Tan Bien Kiat is the founder of Titan Capital, a private equity investment firm.  Mr. Tan was formerly the Chairman of the Board of Pacific Internet, a NASDAQ-listed telco services company operating in 8 Asian countries. He was the Managing Director of the Asian arm of TPG Capital, a leading global private equity firm with $40 billion of capital under management.  He started and ran their operations in South & South-East Asia, and Australia .  Prior to that, he ran a major South East Asian conglomerate which controlled 5 public-listed companies.  His career also included senior management stints with Booz Allen and AT Kearney, both leading American strategy consulting firms, where he was instrumental in pioneering their Asian franchisees.  Mr. Tan holds an MBA and MS from Columbia University in New York City . Mr. Tan is an international trustee of International House of New York and President of Social Venture Partners, a philanthropic organisation.

Tim Oei
Member (Independent)

Mr Tim Oei is the Chief Executive Office of AWWA. Overseeing the whole of AWWA from the Headquarters, Tim aims to bring the professional level of all services provided by AWWA to new heights. Tim joined AWWA in February 2008 as Chief Operation Officer and was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in 2009.

Being a Law graduate, Tim started out his career in the legal field and after more than 5 years working on the ground level, he was appointed as a Partner and General Manager of Khattar Wong & Partners where he was first exposed to operations and management matters. Being involved in running of the law firm very early in his career, Tim experienced the complexity of management which made became more aware of the need to be better and formally trained as a professional manager. He believed that with better management, the environment will then be transformed into highly effective and better service focused organization. Tim later joined AT Kearney as Director of Practice Management for South East Asia and India. In his last job before joining AWWA, Tim was the General Counsel (Head of Department) with Jurong Port Pte Ltd.

Tim holds a Bachelor of Law from National University of Singapore, a Certificate in Postgraduate Practical Course in Law from the Board of Legal Education and Master of Business Administration in Legal Practice from The Nottingham Trent University. He is also a member of Singapore Academy of Law. Within the Social Service Sector in Singapore, Tim is a member of Social Service Talent Development (SSTD) Panel with National Council of Social Service (NCSS), a member of ComCare Committee of Management with Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and a board member of National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC).

Executive Team


Jonathan Chang

Jonathan is the Executive Director of the Lien Centre for Social Innovation at Singapore Management University. He pioneered Ashoka Changemaker Campus accreditation for SMU, the first and only university in Asia to receive the honour. Jonathan is the Harvard Kennedy School Ambassador to Singapore, and an elected member of HKS Alumni Board of Directors. A strong supporter of social entrepreneurship, Jonathan has mentored and invested in social enterprises in Southeast Asia.

Prior to Singapore, Jonathan founded and co-founded four startups across multiple industries in Silicon Valley and Manhattan. His most recent venture was OhMyGreen, a Y-Combinator incubated social enterprise, providing wellness solutions to corporations. His passion for social entrepreneurship and impact investing has brought him to Rwanda, England, New Zealand, India, and Indonesia, writing papers and case studies for Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, and SMU. He spent a couple of years working on a book project with Esko Aho, former Prime Minister of Finland. Jonathan also gave a TEDx talk at Harvard about the importance of a mission-driven life, which was featured on Voice of America.

Jonathan has been invited to support social innovation initiatives internationally, including the US (by Brown, Cornell, and Penn), Nepal (UNICEF and Microsoft), Japan (Toyota Foundation), Korea (Hope Institute), Hong Kong (The Jockey Club and Chivas Regal), Taiwan (National Chengchi University), Bangladesh (BRAC), Malaysia (MaGIC), Thailand (Thai Social Enterprise Office), Cambodia (UNDP), and Indonesia (Universitas Gadjah Mada). He has been featured on BBC World News, Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Billionaire Magazine, and The Peak.

Jonathan is a graduate of UC Berkeley, the Stanford Graduate School of Business (with certificates in Public and Global Management), and Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Edward S. Mason Program on Public Policy and Management. Jonathan received Stanford’s Miller Social Change Leadership Award, was a Digital Problem Solving Initiative Fellow at Harvard Law School, was a Fellow at Columbia’s Earth Institute, and was Harvard Kennedy School’s Commencement Marshal.

Jonathan is a passionate mountaineer. He spent 14 days trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp (5350m), and climbed two mountains on the way – Kala Patthar (5644.5m) and Nagarjuna (5100m). He is constantly looking to scale new heights – not just mountain peaks all over the world, but also in social innovation, entrepreneurship, and wellbeing.

Dr Emma Glendinning
Research Associate

Emma Glendinning is a Research Fellow at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. She is currently heading up the centre’s study on Food Poverty in Singapore, as well as other commissioned research projects being undertaken by the centre. Emma worked on the centre’s report ‘Single-Parent Families in Singapore: Understanding the challenges of finances, housing and time poverty’ which can be viewed here: Through working with various organisations Emma is actively involved in developing action and change resulting from the centre’s research findings and reports.

Emma has a PhD from the School of Planning and Geography at Cardiff University, UK. Her thesis, titled “Building resilience through post-productivism: the case of farmers’ markets”, sought to understand the use of communities of practice (essential for innovation) and communities of coping, as well as the barriers to the formation of such communities, within the space of a farmers’ market. Emma’s PhD thesis is available here.

During her time as a PhD student Emma worked with leading academics at Cardiff University on key research projects in a number of research areas including: Ecological Footprinting, Biosecurity, Environmental Regulation and Economic Resilience. Prior to moving from the UK to Singapore in July 2014, Emma worked in Community Development delivering a community focused, anti-poverty programme funded by the Welsh Government. Her role was responsible for Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of the programme within the Caerphilly County area.

Holding an MSc in Social Science Research Methods (from Cardiff University), Emma has an excellent knowledge of both qualitative and quantitative research techniques. She also has a BSc in Geography from the University of Wales, Swansea.

Shirley Pong
shirleypong at

Shirley is a professional secretary and office administrator with many years of work experience in multinational corporations and non-profit organisations. She comes with a rich background of providing secretarial and administrative support across various industries, including sales, training, mortgage and higher education. Prior to coming to the Lien Centre, she supported research development at Canada's International Development Research Centre (South East and East Asia Regional Office, Singapore).

Shirley is studying for a BA in Psychology with Business at SIM University. She holds a Private and Executive Secretarial Diploma, and a Diploma in Management Studies from SIM University. She is passionate about social issues and hopes to facilitate positive social change in Singapore and Asia through effective and efficient administration. Her primary responsibility in the Centre is to manage its day-to-day operations and support its various projects and programmes.

Ho Han Peng
Programme Manager
hpho at

Han is interested in a spectrum of sociocultural issues in contemporary and historical societies, particularly in relation to social organisation and change, empowerment, and identity formation. The research he has undertaken includes the relevance of museums in addressing community-interest issues; the transmission and transformation of meaning in historical objects through non-textual communication; and non-financial factors in the transfer of wealth through the construct of “ritual economy”. His experience in managing academic, commercial, and other projects has brought him to many locations, not least to windowless storage rooms and frigid libraries, the open fields of rural China, and other situations where the mundane, curious, and fascinating come together in unexpected ways.

Han read Sociology, History, and Philosophy at the National University of Singapore, and received a Postgraduate Diploma in Education from Nanyang Technological University prior to teaching for several years in Singapore and New York. He also holds advanced degrees in Asian Studies and Heritage Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of Cambridge, and Columbia University.

Yina Song
Programme Manager
yinasong at

Yina is a Program Manager at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. She works with the Centre’s consulting projects and research efforts studying the current landscape of social entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia.

Her previous jobs took her to various countries in Asia, including South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. Most recently, she worked for a Korean government agency connecting Korean tech startups to Southeast Asian markets. Before her stint in Korea, she served as a public sector consultant for the Malaysian government, assisting socioeconomic policy development utilising Blue Ocean Strategy. She was previously project officer for ICT for Development (ICT4D) research program at NTU’s Singapore Internet Research Centre, as well as intern at UNICEF Vietnam’s Provincial Child Friendly Program.

She graduated from Duke University with a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and obtained her master’s in Public Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. She is passionate about women’s empowerment, education, and volunteering.

Christian Petroske
Assistant Manager
cpetroske at

Christian is an Assistant Manager at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. He drives forward a diverse range of projects, including the centre’s research, capacity building, partnerships, events, and magazine, Social Space.

Before joining the centre, Christian helped Year Up build data-based feedback loops into its core decision making as Sales Operations and Market Research Fellow while participating in a selective, applied management training program through New Sector Alliance’s Residency in Social Enterprise.

Christian holds a B.A. in Sociology with Honors from Brown University, where he chaired the state’s biggest social enterprise conference, worked with two startups and founded one, conducted both applied and academic research, and wrote an award-winning honors thesis on feedback and power in social finance.

Sujith Kumar Prankumar
Assistant Manager
skprankumar at

Sujith is an Assistant Manager at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, where he works primarily on project communication.

Prior to joining SMU, Sujith was a research and events associate with the United Nations Development Programme and spent a year as the Graduate Coordinator for Campus Education at the Harvard College Office of BGLTQ Student Life. He studied communications, human rights, gender and religion at the University of South Australia, Columbia University, and Harvard University, learnt Chinese at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and was a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace at Middlebury College. He actively volunteers in access to health initiatives, and is committed to exploring identity, health, emotion and suffering through qualitative approaches.

Florian Parzhuber
Data & Operations Associate

Florian Parzhuber is a final-year student at the Singapore Management University (SMU) with a double major in Finance and Operations Management. Previously, as a Summer Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, he conducted research on water access in Laos (specifically the regional water management along the Mekong River), social entrepreneurship in the Philippines, as well as the social entrepreneurial landscape around the globe. His research interests include water and sanitation systems across different continents, financial inclusion, as well as the future outlook of crowdfunding.


Assoc Prof John Donaldson
Senior Research Fellow, Unmet Social Needs and Principal Investigator

John is an Associate Professor of Political Science, School of Social Sciences, at Singapore Management University. He is the author of Small Works: Poverty and Economic Development in Southwestern China (Cornell University Press, 2011). His research focuses on seeking effective solutions to rural poverty reduction around the world, local rural poverty reduction policies in China, the transformation of China’s agrarian system, and central-provincial relations. Recently, he has extended his research on China’s rural transformation by comparing it with that of India.

His research has been published in such journals as World Development, International Studies Quarterly, Politics and Society, China Journal, China Quarterly and Journal of Contemporary China. John has served as a faculty member at SMU since graduating in 2005 from George Washington University in Washington DC.


Eunice Rachel Low
Editorial Consultant

Eunice Rachel Low is Editorial Consultant for the Lien Centre for Social Innovation and Deputy Editor of its flagship publication, Social Space. She is also Adjunct Editor with the Centre for Liveable Cities at the Ministry of National Development, where she sees to the content development of urban studies publications. Eunice was previously based at the National University of Singapore for seven years: as Editor at the Energy Studies Institute; and prior to that, as Editor and Head of the Journals Division at NUS Press. She was previously Team Leader (Journals Content Management) at John Wiley and Sons, and Assistant Senior Editor at Marshall Cavendish. Eunice obtained her BA (with merit) from NUS’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, majoring in Sociology and European Studies (French). A published author under the pen-name “Rachel Tey”, her middle-grade action adventure novel, Tea in Pajamas, was featured in The Sunday Times and is into its second printing. When not busy editing, writing, or conducting book readings, Eunice enjoys classical music and medieval European history. Connect with her at


Seth Lutsic
Spring Associate (Research) | 2017

Seth Lutsic is a Spring Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. While in Singapore, he is working on disability-related initiatives with SG Enable – an agency set up by the Singapore Government dedicated to enabling persons with disabilities – and the Singapore Management University’s Diversity & Inclusion unit. Prior to joining the LCSI team, he worked on disability-related employment initiatives in Haiti, India, and the United States. Seth holds a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

Remi Cordelle
Summer Associate (Research) | 2016

Remi Cordelle is a rising sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, where he majors in economics and computer science. He was born in France but attended high school in Belgium. As a Summer Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, Remi conducted research on income inequality. His areas of interest include social mobility in emerging economies; financial inclusion in Southeast Asia; financial literacy in marginalised communities; social enterprises in Indonesia; microfinance in developed and emerging economies; and leadership in social finance.

Haneol Jeong
Summer Associate (Research) | 2016

Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Haneol Jeong is a student at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Joseph Wharton scholars program. He was a Summer Associate (Research)at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, where he conducted an independent research project on increasing energy access in Southeast Asia through investment in social enterprises. He has previously worked as a renewable energy project research assistant in Bangkok, and as a private equity summer analyst in Seoul. Haneol’s primary research interests include renewable energy, impact investing and development banking.

John Kinsella
Summer Associate (Research) | 2016

John Kinsella is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. Originally from Houston, Texas, he has earned an Eagle Scout award and received the Princeton Prize Certificate in Racial Relations. As a Summer Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, he conducted independent research on interdisciplinary solutions to issues facing the world.

Mitchell Laferriere
Summer Associate (Research) | 2016

Mitchell Ryan Laferriere was a Summer Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation. He studies theory, strategy and developmental curriculum for the teaching of impact investing to university students. His primary research interests cover impact investing, sustainable finance, social entrepreneurship and social innovation. Originally from Londonderry, New Hampshire, Mitchell attended the preparatory high school Boston College High School. From there, he entered Gabelli Business School at Fordham University. He currently is based in Manhattan, New York.

Maaya Murakami
Summer Associate (Research) | 2016

Maaya Murakami, who was a Summer Associate (Research) at the Lien Centre for Social Innovation, is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she majors in International Relations and Economics. Born in Japan but raised in the Netherlands and Germany, Maaya’s research interests include ASEAN’s strengthening of social protection measures in its member states, and its challenges and implications; social entrepreneurship in Cambodia; and Germany’s dominance in the management of the European Economic Crisis.


We are constantly on the lookout for top-notch talent to support our projects in the pipeline. Do visit the SMU Jobstreet page to learn about specific opportunities, or email our Director at

Contact Us

To receive news about our upcoming events and publications, or for more information about the centre, please contact us at or +65 68280821.

Lien Centre for Social Innovation

Singapore Management University
Administration Building, 81 Victoria Street
Singapore 188065





















































Last updated on 08 Jun 2017 .