Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, it's almost a cliché to say that it has changed the world. The pandemic has left a lasting imprint on the world economy, causing permanent changes and teaching important lessons. The world must emerge more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable. Meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will therefore require extraordinary efforts. The pandemic has also accelerated and transformed the way we work dramatically, leveraging the proliferation of technology. Technological disruption has displaced occupations, shifted tasks, and created demand for new skills and talent pools to drive exponential growth as we move into the post-pandemic era.
The 6th TCTF-NTU Advanced Leadership Development Forum - an annual event supported by the Tan Chin Tuan Foundation (TCTF), hosted by Nanyang Centre for Public Administration (NCPA), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), aims to strengthen cooperation among NTU, Chinese universities, government institutions, and enterprises and provide a platform for the participants to explore the opportunities and solutions for challenges in the important areas of sustainable development and global creative talent nurturing in the post-pandemic era. Ms Lien Siaou-Sze, NTU Singapore’s Vice President for University Advancement, and Professor Cham Tao Soon, Council Member of TCTF and President Emeritus of NTU Singapore, graced the forum with opening speeches on behalf of the organizers.
The forum was held online on 11 March 2022, featuring keynote speakers from university-level leaders of well-known universities in China and distinguished senior government officials, entrepreneurs, and business leaders from Singapore and China. The forum drew insights on how business leaders have implemented tactical strategies in achieving sustainability goals in their organization and the ecosystem. In addition, industry experts also shared the cultivation of international innovative talents with the paradigm shift in the demand for industrial-specific talents, caused by technological disruption.
The first keynote speaker, Professor Nie Zuoren, President of Beijing University of Technology (BJUT), and Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, shared how BJUT undertook the responsibility of nurturing talents based on the principle of being "rooted in Beijing and facing the world". He introduced the experience of how BJUT optimized the disciplinary direction and strategies to meet the dynamic needs of the country and Beijing.
Mr Han Shenghao, Vice President of Shandong University (SDU), believed that higher education institutions like colleges and universities play a pivotal role in achieving sustainable development goals, and talent training will contribute towards sustainable development goals. He also shared how international cooperation through multilateral or bilateral cooperative mechanisms has aided in the cultivation of global talents in various fields such as infrastructure, health, new energy, and industrial ecology.
Recognising the importance of talent training, Professor Jin Min, Deputy Party Secretary of the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China (UESTC), also an alumnus of NCPA, shared how UESTC utilized the "Digital Intelligence Innovation" platform with the support of cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and big data technologies to develop online platforms with dynamic functions such as online examinations, seamless submission of scripts, online Q&A, and real-time monitoring, benefitting more than 800,000 students.
The forum also featured two prominent business leaders: Mr Teo Eng Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment & Development Co., Ltd. (SSTEC), and Mr Douglas Foo, Founder, and Chairman of Sakae Holdings Ltd., Singapore.
Mr Teo introduced the concept behind the construction of Tianjin Eco-City – the second flagship cooperation project between the governments of Singapore and China, towards low-carbon, smart and premium development so that the audience can have a deep understanding of this new eco-friendly, socially harmonious, economically sustainable eco-city. Whilst, Mr Foo shared how industry associations have played an active role in sustainable development and nurturing international talents.
Other keynote speakers in the forum included Professor Yang Yixin, Vice President of Northwest Polytechnical University, Mr Wang Haibo, Deputy Director-General of the Education Department, Shaanxi Province (2012 alumni of NCPA’s Master of Public Administration Program); Mr Wang Weizhong, Chairman of Shandong Talent Development Group; Professor Fu Shenglei, Vice President of Henan University, China; Dr Wang Yi, Vice President of China Council for International Investment Promotion; and Mr Simon Li, Vice President of Singapore China Business Association, and President of Feoso Oil (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
The forum explored the correlation between creativity and sustainability, where innovation is the catalyst of sustainable development goals (SDGs) for a green economy. Higher education institutions need to reform and innovate, strengthened by effective international exchanges and cooperation towards global sustainable development. There has been a wide consensus that Singapore and China have a lot of collaborative opportunities for global sustainable development, especially in the post-pandemic era.
2022 marks the 30th Anniversary of NCPA’s development. Professor Liu Hong, Director of NCPA, shared that NCPA has undergone several transformations, is at the pinnacle of its development but faces new challenges constantly. This year, the number of students in the college has reached a new height of more than 500. Six Master's programmes are conducted in English and Mandarin respectively, promoting diversification and internationalization with the traditional and profound China’s resources as cornerstones. He also expressed his gratification that many alumni have taken on the mission to promote educational exchanges between Singapore and China, with many holding influential appointments.
The forum held for six consecutive years has received strong support from peers in China’s higher education institutions. More than 100 speakers from 60 universities, enterprises, and government agencies have participated in the forum. In addition to sharing insights and experiences, it also promotes mutual understanding and broadens collaborative partnership, and achieved significant results in exploring the internationalization of universities, global creative talent nurturing, and collaborative partnerships among universities from different countries.
Due to the restriction of the epidemic, this year's forum was again held online. The forum attracted more than 200 online participants, and most of them are middle and senior university administrative and management personnel, entrepreneurs, business managers, and professionals, as well as policy researchers and makers.