As Asia steps into the limelight in the 21st century, and there is a need for dynamic leadership, the National University of Singapore (NUS), thanks to the generosity of its donors, is grooming a new generation of change-makers who will be guiding the continent’s continued progress. This is in keeping with NUS’ long-standing history of being a nurturing ground for leadership, with over half of Singapore’s Members of Parliament and over a third of the country’s ambassadors having studied at NUS.
Launched in November 2011, the Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme (CTPCLP) was established with a generous gift from Mr Chua Thian Poh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of real estate development and investment company Ho Bee Investment Ltd.
The programme is conducted at NUS University Town (UTown) and is supported by the University Scholars Programme (USP). It aims to nurture Singapore’s next generation of community leaders to become passionate about addressing their country’s social and community challenges. Associate Professor Albert Teo, CTPCLP’s Director, says, “We believe that one of the best ways to learn about community leadership is through active engagement with the social service sector. Our fellows learn through hands-on experience and mentorship, get involved in action research, and examine and propose solutions for real-world problems.”
CTPCLP currently has 40 fellows (as the students are referred to) and is expected to reach a steady rate of 60 fellows per year. They are engaged in a range of societal issues such as physical and intellectual disabilities, ageing and eldercare and youth at-risk. Since its launch, CTPCLP has established partnerships with 14 organisations, including the Singapore Association for Mental Health and the Tsao Foundation.
First Year Medical student and CTPCLP Fellow, Andrew Sayampanathan, says, “I took a leap of faith and applied for the Programme because I wanted to develop my ability to appreciate and feel for societal problems on a much deeper level and from an interdisciplinary platform. The CTPCLP offers rigorous exposure to a host of challenges faced by the various strata in our society. It is an avenue for us to exchange ideas and draw inspiration from society’s leaders. Most importantly, it is a reminder that many in our society need help, and I hope that those who are capable and who have had the resources to advance their education will see it as their duty to step forward and lend a helping hand.”
Apart from community leadership, water and health are two other pressing issues that NUS is playing a part in. The Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme (TFWLP) is a collaboration between Temasek Foundation, the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS and PUB, Singapore’s national water agency. The programme brings together a distinguished team of academics and policymakers and runs twice a year. Aimed at building capacity in developing countries in Asia, the programme will train 70 mid-career professionals and upper-level managers in the water industry each year on “best practices” in water utilities governance, effective management of water utilities, and potential strategies to deal with existing and future challenges.
In preparation for the programme, teams are required to prepare a project proposal based on a specific water management challenge faced by their city or country; with an action plan that could address the challenge in the year after the programme ended. Apart from their projects, participants will conduct training workshops for their counterparts in other ministries, statutory boards and local governments after returning to their countries.
Adolf Tommy Sitompul, TFWLP 2011 attendee and Deputy Director (Regulation) at the Ministry of Public Works in Indonesia, says, “This programme has inspired me to take a fresh approach towards dealing with water issues in the public utilities.”
The NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia (NIHA), supported by the GlaxoSmithKline-Economic Development Board (GSK-EDB) Trust Fund, is a springboard for ongoing dialogue and collaboration among academics, senior policy makers, leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGO) and private healthcare service providers. Its annual Healthcare Leadership Programme brings together a pool of talented individuals from the region to enhance leadership qualities and improve decision-making and programme-implementation.
Says Dr Salima Rahman, Executive Director at RDRS Bangladesh (a development NGO), “This course is of a very participatory nature and brings together a diverse and experienced group of healthcare professionals. This made for extremely fruitful and relevant discussions. I shared my learnings with my colleagues at RDRS and now we have a more systematic approach to project implementation and policy making. This will be highly advantageous in ensuring the success of our projects for the rural poor.”
To know more about making a gift to NUS, please call Ms Ho Yuen Kwan at 6516 5755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on:
a) The Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme, click here
b) The Temasek Foundation Water Leadership Programme, click here
c) The NUS Initiative to Improve Health in Asia, click here