The See the Possibility Campaign was launched on 17 November 2022, at a special event that allowed donors and guests, along with members of the National University of Singapore (NUS) community, a platform for an open exchange of ideas that illuminate the understanding of pertinent issues today.
(From left) Prof Leong Ching, Mr Chen Heng Hui, Prof Tulika Mitra and Prof Ho Han Kiat.
The See the Possibility Campaign was launched on 17 November 2022, at a special event that allowed donors and guests, along with members of the National University of Singapore (NUS) community, a platform for an open exchange of ideas that illuminate the understanding of pertinent issues today. The panelists included Professor Tulika Mitra, Vice Provost (Academic Affairs) and NUS Provost’s Chair Professor of Computer Science, Associate Professor Ho Han Kiat, Dean of Students and Associate Professor at the Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, Mr Chen Heng Hui, Chief Executive Officer of Neoasia Group, and moderator Associate Professor Leong Ching, Vice Provost (Student Life) and Associate Professor of Economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
The Campaign identifies five highly complex and multi-faceted areas where NUS would like to create positive impact to address major challenges that the world is facing. They are Community and Social Mobility, Smart Technology and Connectivity, Healthy Longevity, Innovation and Enterprise as well as Urbanisation and Sustainability.
With particular focus on Community and Social Mobility at the launch event, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye, in his opening speech, emphasised how important it is for NUS, as a leading global university, to actively shape the future by catalysing upward mobility, not only for our students, but for all deserving students, both within Singapore and beyond. He also highlighted many initiatives and programmes in the University that aim to empower students and at the same time, uplift communities in need.
The Enhanced Financial Aid Scheme, which was introduced in August 2022, serves to plug the financial gap for students from low-income households, so that they too, can participate fully in the rich education offerings at NUS that go beyond the classroom.
Teach Singapore is an outreach programme that empowers NUS students to learn beyond the classroom and develop their sense of citizenry by mentoring underprivileged youths and children. Through this programme, NUS hopes to inspire these beneficiaries to pursue tertiary education, which is a social leveler that empowers individuals to improve their lives.
“We want our students to be responsible and constructive members of society. When students go out into the field to contribute in programmes such as Teach Singapore, they must be good role models and inspire their mentees. Therefore, we ensure they are properly trained and equipped with the right skills for the best results. Support from donors is crucial in upskilling our students to bring positive impact to society,” shared Assoc Prof Ho.
NUS also champions efforts to celebrate and promote inclusiveness and gender diversity. With the NUS for Women initiative, the University hopes to nurture the next generation of female leaders across various disciplines, in particular, in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
“Women bring soft skills, perspectives, and values that can improve not just the organisation but society as a whole. It is also important to ensure a good gender distribution in STEM fields and jobs of the future, which will have long term implications on income distribution and career prospects”, said Prof Mitra.
These initiatives, generously supported by donors, demonstrate the efforts by the University in building a stronger community and a more cohesive society, bolstering the University’s mission to create knowledge and solutions for complex global problems through world-class education and research.
Mr Chen Heng Hui (’10), CEO of Neoasia Group, who received financial aid as a student in NUS, is paying it forward with a bursary to help his juniors.
“With success, we wanted to give back. Within the company, there were quite a few of us who had graduated from NUS. It made sense to give back to our alma mater, and also to support the development of future talent that could benefit our company as well,” explained Mr Chen. He was a beneficiary of the subsidised global programmes at NUS which shaped his worldview and therefore prepared him for a career in a company with a global presence.
Mr Chen Heng Hui, CEO of Neoasia Group, sharing his experience on the panel.
In the face of growing concerns about social inequality, it is more important now than ever for university education to be made financially accessible to all students from different socio-economic backgrounds. The ripple effect of philanthropy is far-changing and will carry on for generations to come.
The open exchange of ideas on enhancing social mobility and uplifting communities could spark more conversations around the life-changing gift of education.
Mr Edi Fung, Vice President of the NUS Development Office with a guest at the event.