The Yusof Ishak Professorship in Social Sciences, established at NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has received a substantial donation of $500,000 from Temasek Holdings.
Fund-raising for the professorship is undertaken by SG50Kita, an independent committee driving the Malay/Muslim community’s efforts in celebrating Singapore’s 50th anniversary this year. The committee’s use of “Kita”, a Malay word which means “us” in English, is symbolic of their efforts to stand together with the other communities in Singapore and be of service to the nation.
The committee is appreciative of pioneers’ active contribution to the country, and views Encik Yusof as an illustrious embodiment of the spirit of service and unity to Singapore. The committee has raised $559,000 as at 30 January and is working towards a total endowed fund of $6 million by year-end, inclusive of a 1.5 times matching government grant.
With their contribution of $500,000, Temasek Holdings is the first major donor to the fund. Mr Gary Ang, Managing Director, Strategic and Public Affairs, at Temasek said: “We are happy to support SG50Kita’s ongoing efforts to raise funds for the NUS Yusof Ishak Professorship. Our sponsorship is part of a series of contributions we’ve made to honour Singapore’s pioneer generation; and includes the various endowments that we have funded and named after other founding fathers such as S Rajaratnam, David Marshall and Hon Sui Sen.”
The professorship offers a platform for leading social science academics with an impeccable track record in the teaching and research of multiethnicity and multiculturalism. The appointed candidate will assume stewardship for enhancing cutting-edge research in one (or more) of the following fields of study: race, ethnicity and community studies and multiculturalism; communication and civic engagement; and studies of religion and religious diversity.
The professorship was first announced by Singapore’s Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong during his National Day Rally 2014 speech. It pays tribute to Singapore’s first President, Encik Yusof Bin Ishak. Throughout his term, Encik Yusof guided the country through the challenging early years, and was particularly interested in fostering harmonious relations in our multiethnic and multicultural society. As Chancellor of the University from 1965 to 1970, Encik Yusof urged the University community to focus on nation-building in addition to becoming a centre for scholarship.
This article was first published on 6 February 2015 in NUS News at http://news.nus.edu.sg/highlights/8578-a-head-start-for-yusof-ishak-professorship