YAP KWONG WENG
Each year, the World Economic Forum recognizes up to 200 exceptional young leaders under the age of 40 for their “professional accomplishments, commitment to society, and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.”
Past winners have included Larry Page, cofounder and CEO of Google; David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; and Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook.
A former Commando Officer and Intelligence Defence Analyst, Kwong Weng once served as the former Secretary‐General of the United Nations Association of Singapore. He is a community leader, who founded youth teams with a purpose to make a positive difference in the lives of others. After serving a diverse career in government for 14 years, he moved on to work in the private sector in 2013. He is currently the Deputy Director of Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) – Pun where he manages several business units in engineering, manufacturing and distribution in Myanmar as its country manager.
At 35, his exceptional successes back up this theory that anyone can contribute back to society. Kwong Weng has used diverse platforms to promote causes that inspire action. He used sports to promote peace and volunteerism by trekking 100km across one of the World’s largest non‐polar desert – the Taklamakan desert in China to raise awareness for the UN Millennium Development goals (listen to interview: link). He spearheaded a fundraiser (UN-Rotary Day celebration) for victims of the 2011 Thai floods with Rotary Clubs, organized Model UN conferences to advocate world peace, environmental sustainability and inspired normal stream students from over 20 secondary schools in Singapore to look beyond their current circumstances via self‐discovery and story‐telling.
He frequently speaks on peace, conflict and leadership to educational institutes in local and international forums. Notably, he was a TED speaker and organizing chair where he inspired hundreds about his journey on volunteerism and how people can make choices to better the world. He was selected as the first Singaporean to lead the dignity movement in Cambodia.
Despite his achievements, Kwong Weng comes from humble beginnings. Born, raised, and schooled in the Toa Payoh heartlands, the only son of a retired manager and a housewife, grew up ingrained with the values that hard work and determination was the means of getting ahead in life, and the conviction that anyone can make a difference in their society.
He began his career in the military at the age of 18, where he was trained as a Commando Officer, Parachutist and a Ranger. He graduated from US Navy SEAL training despite suffering from a lung puncture and a fractured collarbone. He also worked as a principal strategist where he advised policy makers in national security on Counter-Terrorism and Operations-Other-Than-War. Armed with a solid leadership foundation, Kwong Weng was driven by the need for personal growth and took a leap of faith by putting himself through school. He attained his first degree at the age of 29 but has never looked back since.
Kwong Weng graduated Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Manchester and earned his Master of Public Administration from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy where he was also awarded the University’s Distinguished Leadership Award. He was the first Singaporean to become a Rotary Peace Fellow and was awarded the Bhichai Rattakul scholarship.
In the future, Kwong Weng looks forward to play an integral part towards creating a safer and socially richer Singapore.
He wants to bridge communities with bricks of innovation.
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