Helping students discover Asia
NUS young alumni have raised $80,000 for the new FASStrack Asia Advancement Bursary Fund which will help financially needy NUS Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) undergraduates enrolled in the FASStrack Asia programme from next year.
FASStrack Asia is the Faculty’s flagship summer school programme. Started in 2013, the five-week course offers students an enriching platform to participate in active discussions in a multicultural learning environment, while exploring their interests in Asian Studies and deepening their understanding of different Asian cultures. About half of the more than a dozen modules offered also include an overseas field trip component to promote experiential learning. The programme has trained more than 760 students to date.
The cheque was presented to FASS Dean Professor Robbie Goh by alumnus and 35th NUS Students’ Union President Mr Soh Yi Da during a gala dinner held on 27 September at the Kent Ridge Guild House in appreciation of those who had donated to the fund. Mr Soh spearheaded the launch of the new bursary, sending out hundreds of appeals for donations through e-mail, social media and word-of-mouth.
“During my university days I had many opportunities to travel abroad for conferences, made possible by generous support from grants by the University and external organisations, for which I am very grateful. These experiences truly widened my horizon and were instrumental in shaping my worldview in my formative years. Being thankful for these opportunities has motivated me to pay it forward by championing this fundraiser to help future generations of students benefit from the exposure of overseas learning. Asia is a vibrant region full of opportunities, it is only by venturing out and experiencing the dynamism that one can realise the region's true potential,” said Mr Soh.
Prof Goh thanked the generosity of the donors and said that it showed how faculty members, alumni and supporters could be united by shared purpose and values. “With your partnership, FASS will be able to deliver these opportunities to more students and continue to play our part in training engaged global citizens in, and of, Asia,” he said, addressing some 150 guests at the event.
The evening’s Guest-of-Honour Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat, Ministry of Communications and Information and Ministry of Health, delivered a keynote address on “Envisioning Asia in 2020”, during which he shared his thoughts on how Singapore can contribute to, and participate in, the growth of the region.
“There are many exciting opportunities in Asia with its large population, cultural diversity, rich heritage and fast-rising middle class. To benefit from these opportunities, Singapore will have to deepen our links with the region and serve as a gateway between ASEAN and the rest of the world. We must also build on our strengths — trust, connectivity and talent — and help more Singaporeans to develop a better understanding of the region.” To do this, he emphasised the need to try new ideas in order to break new ground. “I hope that our students under the FASStrack Asia programme will be amongst these trailblazers and pathfinders,” Mr Chee added.
This was followed by an engaging panel discussion on “Navigating Uncharted Waters in Asian Century”, which saw Mr Chee join Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS and Professor Wang Gungwu, Chairman of East Asian Institute at NUS, to give their take on the Asian countries expected to play a crucial role in shaping the region in the foreseeable future.
To make a contribution to the FASStrack Asia Advancement Bursary Fund, please click here.