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NUS and Dads for Life movement hold first international conference on fatherhood in Asia

21 Jun 2010



GUEST-OF-HONOUR: Parliamentary Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman


Q&A SESSION: Keynote speaker Prof William Marsiglio from the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law at the University of Florida fielding questions from the audience. Moderating the session was Conference Convenor Prof Jean Yeung from ARI and the NUS Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Fatherhood in Asia was an extremely important yet insufficiently discussed topic. The first international conference on "Fatherhood in 21st Century Asia: Research, Interventions and Policies", organised by NUS' Asia Research Institute (ARI) in collaboration with the national "Dads for Life" movement, was hence a milestone event, promoting dialogue, advancing research and influencing practice related to this area of knowledge.

The conference was held from 17 to 18 June 2010 at NUS' Bukit Timah Campus, and was opened by Guest-of-Honour Parliamentary Secretary of the Singapore Ministry of National Development Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman.

In his welcome address, Dr Mohamad Maliki said: "In a context where societal and familial needs are constantly evolving, and where familial and gender roles are constantly changing, this conference is timely. The value of research and conferences like today's, then, is to understand these trends and shifts in context and to inform our policies and programmes impacting fatherhood."

"Much remains to be learnt about Asian fathers. This conference brings together scholars, policymakers and practitioners to share findings about fathers in 10 different countries," said Conference Convenor Prof Jean Yeung from ARI and the NUS Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. She added, "Our presenters come from many different disciplines, including sociology, social work, psychology, human development, family studies, Malay studies, arts and cultural studies, economics ... this is a testimony that fatherhood research requires a multidisciplinary understanding."

Seventeen selected papers on diverse aspects of fatherhood in Asia were presented at the conference. The presented papers will be published in a book volume or academic journal to inform academics and policy-makers about the changing family roles of fathers in Asia.

The keynote speaker was Prof William Marsiglio from the Department of Sociology and Criminology and Law at the University of Florida, who set the stage by sharing a broad vision of what fathering encompassed and elaborated on opportunities to engage fathers in diverse settings.

The conference also featured five panel discussions on the following themes: "Father Involvement in Changing Asia", "Fathering across Diversity", "Father-Child Relationship and Fathering Styles", "Fatherhood Ideology, Aspirations and Motivations" and "Fatherhood in the Context of Migration".

One of the strategic initiatives of NUS, ARI was established in 2001 to lead and promote research focusing on issues of importance to Asia.

The "Dads for Life" movement is an initiative of the National Family Council under Singapore's Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS), and is spearheaded by the Fathers Action Network. Launched in November 2009, the movement seeks to inspire and involve fathers to become good influencers in their children's lives.


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