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Speech by NTU Professor Subra Suresh at the Lien International Conference on Good Governance 2021


Address by





Grand Ballroom, Level 3, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel,

320 Orchard Road, Singapore 238865
Monday, 22 November 2021



Mr Laurence Lien, Chairman of the Lien Foundation

Mr Roger Tan, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Civil Service College

Mr Goh Yong Siang, Chairman of the Stratagem Group

Mr Zainul Abidin Rasheed, member, NTU Board of Trustees

Distinguished Speakers and Guests,
Friends and Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,


  1. Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to welcome our distinguished guests, and leading public policy and management scholars and practitioners from Singapore and around the world, to this year’s Lien International Conference on Good Governance organised by NTU’s Nanyang Centre for Public Administration.


  2. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Lien Foundation for supporting this conference and for being a strong supporter of NTU for many years. Since 2006, the Foundation has worked with NTU to initiate a number of programmes, such as the Lien Environmental Fellowship and the Lien Ying Chow Legacy Fellowship.


  3. My thanks also to the International Institute of Administrative Sciences, the Civil Service College of Singapore, and Stratagem Group for joining hands as co-organisers of this conference.


  4. It has been almost two years since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to so many deaths, battered economies around the world and impacted almost every aspect of our lives. This pandemic has shone a light on the importance of crisis-preparedness, digital transformation and healthcare policies, and particularly, the need for closer collaboration among government, industry, academia, and society. In Singapore, collaborative partnerships between the public and private sectors have played a critical role in developing and deploying innovative practices to manage the COVID-19 crisis.


  5. Our battle against COVID-19 and its known variants have also brought good governance into closer focus, both as a matter of policy and social concern. Public administration research and education can be a key enabler for policymakers to respond effectively to the complex challenges caused or exacerbated by the pandemic, such as escalating geopolitical tensions, accelerating climate change and a greater momentum of deglobalization.


  6. This conference offers an excellent opportunity for academics and practitioners from various fields to examine major issues relating to governance and public service, such as technological innovation, sustainability, inclusivity, and knowledge transfer. I am confident the discussions in this conference over the next two days will generate new insights into how businesses and society might navigate in a post-COVID world.


    NCPA as Premier Training Institution in Good Governance

  7. Universities play a pivotal in educating, nurturing and inspiring leaders of tomorrow, and generating new knowledge through research and innovation that benefit industry and society. As part of NTU, the Nanyang Centre for Public Administration, or NCPA, recognises the importance of preparing the next generation of policymakers to respond to an increasingly tough and complicated global environment through its multidisciplinary and global perspectives on developments in Asia and around the world.

  8. NTU was established in its current form just 30 years ago in 1991. A year later, it became the first university in Singapore to offer management training to government officials from China, and with the establishment of NCPA in 2009, its training programmes were expanded to participants from ASEAN, Asia and Europe.


  9. The NCPA programmes have since graduated some 20,000 participants, many of whom have gone on to assume influential roles in governments around the world.

    NTU2025 Initiative

    10. Early this year, NTU unveiled our 5-year strategic plan, NTU 2025, which details the University’s education, research and innovation ambitions and goals, and provides a roadmap to achieve them over the next few years.

    11. At the top of our ambitious agenda is to introduce new paradigms that respond to the changes brought about by the accelerating pace of technology, and to strongly support high-impact interdisciplinary research, along with deep disciplinary scholarship, to address some of the global grand challenges facing humanity. Just last month, NTU unveiled a very ambitious sustainability manifesto with tangible and measurable action oriented items in our commitment to sustainability over the next 15 years.

    12. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an important test for governance systems around the world. A coordinated national and international response is needed to ensure effective measures are in place so that we can emerge stronger to tackle the complex challenges that lie ahead. I believe the theme of this year’s conference on good governance will uncover many new strategies and practices and become the new normal.


    13. In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to the Lien Foundation for making this event possible, and once again thank you to all our distinguished guests and speakers for joining us over these next two days. I wish you a very productive conference.

    Thank you.