Professor Bertil Andersson
President, Nanyang Technological University
25TH ANNIVERSARY OF NANYANG CENTRE FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION’S DEVELOPMENT
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF LIEN YING CHOW LEGACY FELLOWSHIP
Thursday, 26 October 2017, 7.40pm
Tower Ballroom, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister of Education and Second Minister of Defence,
Members of NTU Board of Trustees,
Mr Lim Chee Onn, Chairman of Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship Council and ex-member of NTU Board of Trustees,
Friends and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening! It gives me great pleasure to join you here tonight to celebrate two important anniversaries of the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA). Two celebrations rather than one, 25 and 10, that’s what we are going to look at tonight.
NCPA was formally established in 2009, but actually NTU started offering executive training programmes to Chinese officials 25 years ago in 1992. The big success of these courses resulted in their expansion into Master programmes for the Chinese officials and business leaders. It is indeed an achievement that the training programmes continue to be in demand 25 years on. Remember, NTU in its current form is only 26 years old, of course it has a pre-history. 26 years is exactly half the number of years of Singapore’s independence, which is 52 years.
Today, we are also celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship, which is also administered by NCPA. The fellowship is a collaboration with the Lien Foundation that supports exchange and research between distinguished government officials, business leaders, influential scholars and professionals from both Singapore and China. Through public talks and conferences, it also promotes mutual understanding of the two countries. I think that’s important.
I have always said that people is the most important success factor for a university. The second most important success factor is also people. At NTU, we are proud to play a role in developing the skills and expertise of many government officials and business leaders. It is fantastic to hear that over the years, many of the graduates from our programmes have gone on to more senior positions and have made a difference in their organisations. Many of these officials that we have supported are today passionate NTU alumni. I have joined them three weeks ago when 1000 of the China alumni came to the alumni gathering in Shanghai. That was impressive, I must say.
As you may be aware, NTU had an early start to this important role. In the 1990s, NTU was designated by the Chinese government at that time as the first higher education institution in Singapore to conduct executive training programmes for government officials and professionals from China.
Over the years, NCPA has continued to diversify and reach out to more countries in the region. Today it is also offering executive development programmes, as well as the Master of Arts in Contemporary China and the Master of Public Administration, all in English.
As a leading and highly-positioned global university, it is little wonder that NTU has partners from all over the world. In the same light, NCPA’s training programmes have also extended to different parts of the globe. Today, NCPA has trained more than 17,000 middle and senior level government officials, management staff of higher education institutions, and corporate leaders from China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Laos, Malaysia and Thailand.
These programmes not only promote good governance and share Singapore’s successful development experience, they also help foster new initiatives and deepen relations between Singapore and its neighbours.
We have gone beyond China and Southeast Asia too. Beyond this region, NCPA has also developed similar graduate education and executive development programmes with counterparts from India, Russia and Ukraine.
Many of these people are influential in their fields. For example, there are five Distinguished Lien Fellows from the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship so far. They include high-calibre leaders such as Dr Ma Weihua, former CEO and President of China Merchants Bank and Mr Liu Chuanzhi, founder of Lenovo.
We are proud that our efforts have been recognised. For instance, the Lien Fellowship received the prestigious Business China Enterprise Award in July this year. This is in recognition of our efforts in advocating the spirit of knowledge exchange and the fostering of Singapore-China relations.
Besides training, NCPA is also active on the research front. Let us not forget that NTU is a research-intensive university too like other top universities, including those in China whom we have a very close collaboration. One notable project is the Lien Service-oriented Government Index, a large-scale survey to analyse the quality of public service delivery in major Chinese cities. It also has a new research project which aims to study transnational knowledge transfer and dynamic governance in Singapore, China, Southeast Asia as well as Africa.
As we await results from the newer studies, we can look forward to hearing insights from academics and practitioners at the Lien International Conference on Good Governance, which will be held here tomorrow and on Saturday. It’s an outstanding event.
The conference is organised by NCPA, in partnership with the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS). This flagship event will look at how globalisation can be inclusive and sustainable, and how to have good governance and economic dynamism that does not leave anyone behind. I think these are important issues that leaders in today’s uncertain world need to think about.
NCPA has come a long way from its beginnings in the early 1990s, diversifying its programmes and navigating uncharted areas to further its work in promoting sound public administration.
I have personally enjoyed these NCPA dinners and the passion for NTU expressed by the participants. But everything good comes to an end. This is the last time I stand here preaching to you. I have been here 11 years, very exciting and fruitful years in Singapore, and I like everyone that I have the privilege to interact with these years, not the least in China. So the new leadership will take over from 1 Jan with President Subra Suresh from Carnegie-Mellon. I’m sure he will continue to give additional directions between Singapore and China’s universities.
It now leaves me to wish NCPA and the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship Programme continued success as it scales new heights in the years ahead.
Thank you and have a good evening!