Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for Social Policies

About The Speaker

Tharman Shanmugaratnam has been Senior Minister in Singapore since 2019, after serving for eight years as Deputy Prime Minister and several years as Finance Minister. He is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies and advises the Prime Minister on economic policies. He is, concurrently, Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the nation’s central bank and financial regulator.

Tharman co-chaired the G20 High Level Independent Panel in 2021 that recommended financial reforms and measures to strengthen global preparedness for pandemics. He earlier chaired the G20 Eminent Persons Group on Global Financial Governance which in Oct 2018 proposed reforms for a more effective system of finance for development, sustainability, and financial stability.

Tharman currently co-chairs the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, whose recommendations will be considered at the UN Water Conference in 2023 (the first since 1977). He is also on the High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism established by the UN Secretary-General, that will make recommendations for the UN’s 2023 Summit of the Future. 

Tharman also chairs the Group of Thirty, an independent global council of economic and financial leaders from the public and private sectors and academia. In addition, he currently co-chairs the Global Education Forum, and the Advisory Board for the UN’s Human Development Report. He chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) for four years, from 2011 – 2014; he was its first Asian chair.

Tharman has spent his working life in public service, in roles principally related to economic and social policies. He served for nine years as Finance Minister and five as Education Minister.

Creating Bases for Optimism in an Era of Insecurities

22 September 2022

SMU had the honour of hosting Senior Minister & Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who delivered the 11th edition of the HRH Leadership Lecture on 22 September 2022. The lecture was attended by over 700 guests which included members of the SMU Community, students and teachers from other educational institutions, as well as representatives from the business, government, and foreign diplomatic community. Titled “Creating Bases for Optimism in an Era of Insecurities”, his address provided valuable insights and views on how we must respond to the new confluence of geopolitical, economic, social and existential insecurities.

SMU Chairman Mr Ho Kwon Ping moderated a lively Question-and-Answer segment that followed the lecture.  Questions included one on the evolution of the education system in Singapore to acknowledge not just academic qualities but also individual aptitudes in other areas. SM Tharman shared that significant steps have been taken, and expressed optimism that more progress will continue to be made.