Receiving the University’s most prestigious scholarship award for graduate students, Phua Chao Rong, Charles shares how the Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarship has made a difference.
What is the subject of your PhD thesis?
My PhD thesis examines how pragmatism is used differently by China, US and Singapore policymakers in foreign policy making. Pragmatism is often loosely used but under-theorised. I strongly believe pragmatism is important to both practitioners and academics and can serve to enhance collaboration between both worlds for the betterment of society. One needs to be pragmatic (be realistic by not being ideological, experimentally explore multiple means to an end and humbly recognise the limits of humans) in order to navigate and solve problems in our increasingly complex world. Pragmatism can serve as a compass. Phua Chao Rong, Charles Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP)
Why do you enjoy doing research?
I enjoy doing research that can inform policy. Research and knowledge creation are critical drivers of our humanity’s progress. Academics have an important social function: help the masses understand and possibly explain complex phenomena through rigorous theorisation and crystallisation of insights across time and space. I enjoy being an agent in this process.
What difference has the Scholarship made to you?
The NUS Lee Kong Chian Graduate Scholarship has offered me the opportunity to pursue my academic endeavours and use my public policy skills to contribute to society. There is an intrinsic motivation for me to live up to the ethos of the Scholarship by excelling in academics, leadership and service to LKYSPP, NUS, and Singapore.
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