It's double joy for Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA), as the centre celebrates two important anniversaries this year.
This October marks 25 years of NCPA's development, and although NCPA was formally established in 2009, NTU started offering executive training programmes to Chinese officials in 1992, which eventually expanded into Master programmes for Chinese officials and business leaders thereafter.
A quarter-century is merely a drop of water in the long river of the human history, but NCPA's humble origins have been growing steadily, and today brings about a significant milestone, as we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship, which is administered by NCPA.
The gala dinner in celebration of this special occasion held at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore on 26 October, was attended by over 340 guests. Among the guests were distinguished overseas VIPs, including Deputy Administrator of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs of China Mr Lu Ming, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) of Cambodia Dr Hean Sahib, the Charge d'Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Singapore Mr Fang Xinwen, Vice Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee Han Fangming, and Ambassador of Ukraine His Excellency Dmytro Senik, as well as overseas alumni from ASEAN countries.
Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung graced the event as Guest-of-Honour, and together with the other VIPs, unveiled the launch of the special publication Connecting & Pioneering, published in time of the anniversaries.
At the dinner, Mr Ong congratulated NCPA on the 25 years of development, and the role it has played in helping to foster Singapore-China relations. "The NCPA and its programmes, provided an effective platform for us to learn from each other's experiences. In the process, we also deepened the friendship between both countries. This is not just a matter of having healthy bilateral relations due to strategic congruence on many issues, but a relationship grounded on strong and warm people-to-people linkages, built upon the cultural affinities that both countries share."
Speaking on NCPA's future, Mr Ong also mentioned that NCPA can make a concerted push to nurture more people who understand both Singapore and China, or "中新通". "NCPA currently offers a Master of Arts in Contemporary China, which is open to Singaporeans and foreigners. It can take a further step, to work with Business China and other relevant organisations, to develop internships, attachments, or semester exchanges with Chinese Universities."
Embracing the Bigger Future
Over the years, NCPA forms a bilateral bridge of knowledge sharing between Singapore and other countries, particularly with China. Today, NCPA has trained more than 15,000 officials from China, excluding over 1,400 from the Mayors' Class. NCPA has also gradually reached out to more countries in Asia and beyond.
Acknowledging the centre's achievements at the gala dinner, President of NTU Professor Bertil Andersson said, "As a leading 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."
He also expressed joy that these programmes not only promote good governance and share Singapore's successful development experience, but help foster new initiatives and deepen relations between Singapore and its neighbours too.
Addressing the guests in the opening speech, Director of NCPA and Chair of School of Social Sciences Professor Liu Hong said, while looking back on the years together, it is critical to look forward to the future and ponder on what the institution can continue to do more, bringing NCPA to greater heights. "We at NCPA are now renewing our direction and future development. Looking to the future, we will further enhance the quality of our education and research to provide bi-lingual and practical courses in accordance with the society's changing needs."
For instance, NCPA has just established a Research Programme on "Belt and Road Initiative", aiming at contributing to this important initiative from Singapore and Maritime Silk Road perspectives. In terms of geographical coverage of the programmes, the centre will continue to strengthen engagement with China and ASEAN, but also expand to other regions that are strategic for Singapore's future developments, such as India, Russia, Ukraine, and the Middle East.
Notably, this early November, the centre will welcome a high-level executive leadership-training group from Ukraine, which is the first in Singapore. Ready to embrace challenges from the rapidly-changing world, NCPA is prepared to enter a new phase of development moving forward, while constantly staying relevant.
Lien Conference Fostering Knowledge Exchange
The Lien Ying Chow Fellowship has over 100 fellows today. They include not only well-established leaders such as Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Mr Chen Yuan, Founder of the Lenovo Group Mr Liu Chuangzhi, as well as prominent and promising leaders from both countries. Through visits, project collaborations, policy recommendations and public outreaching activities, the Lien Fellows have been instrumental in enhancing greater understanding and friendship between Singapore and China.
The third Lien International Conference on Good Governance, which is funded by the Lien Foundation and co-organized with the American Society for Public Administration and the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, took place on 27 and 28 October at Shangri-La Hotel Singapore. It has drawn more than 90 presenters from 16 countries, and a total of 300 delegates and participants.
Widely experienced leader and governance expert, Honourable Janice Lachance, who is President of American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and Former Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), gave the keynote speech titled "The Implications of the Emerging Trump Management Agenda on Federal Human Resources, on the Scope and Size of Government, and on Program Operations".
Against the backdrop of new opportunities, unprecedented challenges and shifting paradigms with the rise of populism, anti-immigration, and anti-globalization sentiments, the theme of this year's conference aims to discuss in-depth good governance in the context of achieving an inclusive and sustainable globalization. During t he two-day conference, there were 2 speeches and 25 papers accepted for presentation which discussed good governance central to the mandate of minimising disequilibrium to promote economic dynamism and social justice in a sustainable and inclusive way.