Welcome to Singapore and the 19th Biennial International Consortium for Social Development (ICSD) Symposium. I am very excited as President of this wonderful organisation to welcome you to this beautiful country. Singapore as the host country for this gathering has much to offer as examples of transformation and leadership.

Our ICSD symposium brings educators, researchers, scholars, faculty, students, practitioners, and others from around the world to share their commitment and dedication to the promotion of social development. We gather worldwide every two years as an international community, and in between, our regional branches host regional symposia. At our conference venue, sharing takes many forms including plenary addresses, scholarly papers, workshops, posters, roundtables and dialogues. Everyone who attends and participates should be able to find an area, topic or colleague that they can engage with, learn about, and learn from. We have assembled the current and future experts in this field and we are here to listen, learn and act.

This will be old news to the veteran ICSD symposium participant, but to the newcomers, ICSD symposia are undeniably unique. First of all, our historical and continuing focus on social development is unique among social service/science practitioners. Secondly, the interdisciplinary nature of the symposium provides a unique opportunity to dialogue with colleagues who we often do not dialogue with due to our schedules and our professional silos. Thirdly, the symposium is manageable in size so that participants get to meet each other, share experiences and develop lasting relationships. Personally, I have had the privilege of building relationships with colleagues from every continent who share my passion for international work, social justice and social development.

This 2015 ICSD symposium builds on the success of past symposiums most recently in Kampala, Uganda and Dhaka, Bangladesh. Drs Kamya, Kirumira, Mathbor and Islam organised first class professional programmes in 2013 and 2011.

The 2015 symposium focuses on transforming society by looking at key international social development issues at the local, regional and international levels. The theme "Transforming Society: Trends and Models in Community Leadership and Social Development" develops further on our previous ICSD symposia emphasising good governance, as well as new and emerging issues in social development. Conference Chairs Professor Tan Ngoh Tiong, Associate Professor Corrine Ghoh and Mr Jeremy Tay state: "Strong community leadership is needed to tackle the problems of an increasingly polarised and troubled world." Transforming society, community leadership and social development serve as our call to action.

Welcome to the 19th ICSD International Symposium.

Barbara Shank
President, ICSD

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