ASEAN Leaders Programme
A Common Purpose programme launched with the support of GE and in partnership with the ASEAN Foundation and UK (FCO)

An annual Common Purpose Leadership programme that brings together senior leaders from across the region to meet and address challenges and opportunities relevant to the ASEAN

Overview of the programme

Leaders work together to address a carefully selected challenge relevant to the region. The inaugural ASEAN Leaders Programme was delivered successfully in 2016, over two parts that were run in Singapore, Jakarta and New York. The challenge for the ASEAN Leaders Programme 2017 is “What makes a city smart?”



Part 1:
Singapore, 3 - 7 July 2017

Part 2 (choice of):
Manila,  5 – 8 September 2017
Pune,  24 – 27 October 2017 


Wouter van Wersch (President & CEO, GE ASEAN) and Elaine Tan (Elaine Tan, Director, ASEAN Foundation)

Alvin Ng, General Manager, GE Digital, Singapore

“The exposure in experiential trips to various organizations was the main highlight. Coming from a corporate environment, I do not get to witness the other sides of the machinery. To see how the public sector, government bodies, corporates, and not for-profit come together and make things work was the most impactful insight for me. It was heartening to observe that all are driven by the common theme of sustainability and impact.”

Participants on the ASEAN Leaders 2016 programme share what they have learnt

Syahira Hamidon, Head of Entrepreneurship & Public Private Research Network, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia

“I really didn't know what to expect, but after attending the programme, I must say it is not like any other I have attended before. All the programmes I have attended were at Government level. This one was at the level of people to people as opposed to Govt to Govt. It surprised me, and was much needed, too.”

ASEAN Leaders Programme 2016 Outcomes


Further developed their own leadership


Gained broader networks 


Made better decisions


Enhanced their ability to drive bold innovation

The ASEAN Leaders Programme is made possible with the support of GE. 

"At GE we believe that the individual excellence of people, and the collective progress that they will generate across all sectors and communities, will pave the way to success."

Wouter van Wersch, President & CEO, GE ASEAN

The ASEAN Leaders Programme is made possible through support from the ASEAN Foundation.

"We are excited to partner with Common Purpose on this excellent initiative that brings senior leaders from ASEAN together to build connections across the region and work collaboratively to solve its common challenges.”

Elaine Tan, Executive Director, Asean Foundation

The ASEAN Leaders Programme is made possible with the support of UKFCO. 

“ We are pleased to have helped to establish the ASEAN Leaders Programme and hope that all involved will remain in close contact with the UK. We look forward to continuing to work together with people in South East Asia from all sectors to find solutions to today’s most pressing concerns.”

Scott Wightman, British High Commissioner to Singapore

Saskia Hansen, Executive Director, International Partnerships and Development, RMIT University, Australia

“I was amazed that in such a short time..., I could grow an understanding of my own self. The cultural intelligence propositions of core and flex helped to test my own understanding of working with people and made me reflect on how other people respond, and react in particular situations. By a real, lived experience around testing my own, and others reactions to ideas and suggestions, means that I am now better equipped to do business in an internationally diverse, cultural dimension.”


How to apply

Who can apply?

Participants on the ASEAN Leaders Programme will be drawn from different sectors and backgrounds across the region. We are looking for individuals who are:

  • Exceptional leaders operating at a senior, strategic level in their organisation and/or society
  • Able to demonstrate significant influence in their current role
  • Close to the pinnacle of their career with ambition to achieve even more
  • Passionate about the potential of the ASEAN region and excited about the opportunity provided by the programme

Participant Fees: $10,000 The fee covers all accommodation, meals and local transport during the programme. Ability to pay is not a criterion for selection. Scholarships and partially funded places are available for applicants who are genuinely unable to meet the fee criteria.

Ambassador Hung Seng Tan, Permanent Representative of Singapore to ASEAN

“The ASEAN Leaders Programme promises to be an exciting platform for leaders from our region to interact, exchange ideas and build networks. The Programme has the potential to nurture the next generation of ASEAN leaders, who, to quote Mr S Rajaratnam, Singapore’s first Foreign Minister, are able to 'marry national thinking with regional thinking'.”

Advisory Group Members