Para Limes

Conference: Disrupted Balance — Society at Risk

Conference: Disrupted Balance — Society at Risk

Supporting partners:

Date: 5 – 7 December 2016

Venue: Mandarin Ballroom 1, Level 6, Mandarin Orchard Hotel

Address: 333 Orchard Road, Singapore 238867


The central issues for the conference are the serious risks that our society runs if the balance in the systems that uphold it is disrupted. On a global and historical scale disruptions in such systems happen quite frequently. In fact, as one of the speakers will show, disasters with a small probability happen all the time. Therefore the conference is not about the probability that such disruptive events occur, but about the effects such disruptions may have on society. The conference is meant to capture the attention of leaders who see risk not as an academic issue, but as something they have to deal with as part of their responsibilities in society. They need to think the unthinkable and anticipate disruptions in crucial systems in society and its effects on it.

In the conference, twelve eminent speakers will discuss in depth and with great authority the effects of disruptions in our food and water supplies, financial systems, trust in our science and governance systems, invasions in our cyber space and the inescapable future of uncontrollable pandemics and it disruptive powers.

In a more general sense, questions will be discussed like: How the risk of a disrupted balance will manifest itself in society and what resilience means in view of those risks? Finally, the relevance of historic cases of disrupted balances to managing our present day society and its environment will be illustrated by answering the question “Why did Angkor Wat collapse”?

The audience will be invited to include senior people from across the globe and especially from Singapore and East and South Asia who deal with risk as part of their responsibilities in society.

The format of the conference will stimulate intense discussions in an informal setting between the speakers and the participants.

Videos & Presentation Slides

Tony Mayer – Welcome and Introduction on Day 1

Europe Representative and Research Integrity Officer, Nanyang Technological University

Jan W. Vasbinder (Chair of the day)

Member of Governing Board, Para Limes

Mr Inderjit Singh – Opening Address

Entrepreneur and former member of Parliament, Singapore

Peter Ho

Senior Advisor to the Centre for Strategic Futures, Singapore

Kerry Sieh

Director, Earth Observatory of Singapore and AXA-Nanyang Chair in Natural Hazards, Nanyang Technological University

Tim Benton

UK Champion for Global Food Security and Professor of Population Ecology at University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Seán Cleary

Chairman of Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd and Executive Vice Chair of the FutureWorld Foundation, South Africa

Tony Mayer (Chair of the day) – Welcome and introduction on Day 2

Europe Representative and Research Integrity Officer, Nanyang Technological University

Shashi Jayakumar

Senior Fellow and Head, Centre of Excellence for National Security, Nanyang Technological University

Sheila Ronis

Director, Center for Complex and Strategic Decisions, Walsh College, United States

David Lallemant

Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University and Co-founder, Stanford Urban Resilience Initiative, United States

Daniel Brooks

Visiting Senior Fellow, Hungarian Institute for Advanced Study, Község, Hungary

Alexander Zehnder

Chair, Sustainable Earth Office, Nanyang Technological University

Roland Fletcher

Professor of Theoretical and World Archaeology, Department of Archaeology at University of Sydney, Australia

Nik Gowing

Co-author, ‘Thinking the Unthinkable’ and Visiting Professor, Nanyang Technological University

Andrew Sheng

Distinguished Fellow, Fung Global Institute, Hong Kong

Tony Mayer – Concluding Discussion on Developing a New Agenda

Europe Representative and Research Integrity Officer, Nanyang Technological University