Nurturing Asian leaders

Mr Tan shared that a strong personal value system is central to developing one’s leadership qualities

Sixty-four returning NUS and incoming scholars from Asia attended a two-day Service Learning Workshop at the Fort Canning Lodge from 11 to 12 August organised by NUS Global Relations. The workshop was part of the Temasek Foundation International Leadership Enrichment and Regional Networking (TF Int’l LEaRN) programme @ NUS.

The workshop featured interactive activities and in-depth group discussions with volunteer mentors from Compass @ Campus — a group of experienced industry leaders, business executives, entrepreneurs and professionals — and provided the participants with opportunities to develop camaraderie and strengthen their shared commitment to developing a thriving and prosperous Asia. It culminated in a sharing and question-and-answer session over dinner with Speaker of Parliament, Mr Tan Chuan-Jin.


The two-day workshop included interactive activities and in-depth group discussions

In his illuminating and inspiring talk titled “Journey of a Trusted Leader”, Mr Tan emphasised that analysing one's purpose in life and nurturing it with a strong personal value system are central to developing one’s leadership qualities. “Leadership is stewarding the next generation,” he said, highlighting that leaders must be purpose-driven, readily provide clarity, motivate through guidance and appreciation, and facilitate the unlocking of one’s full potential through passion and the commitment to “chiong” (charge ahead). “Leaders are the levers that bring about change,” shared Mr Tan, adding that inculcating a “sense of others” is pivotal to the success of trusted leadership.

The scholars tapped not only on Mr Tan’s experience as Speaker of Parliament but also his contributions as a Brigadier-General in the Singapore Armed Forces and as a Member of Parliament; as well as his leadership as the Minister for Manpower and the Minister for Social and Family Development. They raised questions ranging from setting personal goals in life to professional management of underperformers in the public sector, and the relevance of Asian countries emulating Singapore’s development model.

Learning about their life stories and struggles helped put our priorities in perspective.

The workshop was well received by the participants. Shared Yib Sotheary, a Year 3 scholar from the Royal University of Law and Economics, Cambodia, “It was a fascinating experience to learn about creative concepts and experiences from well-known speakers and mentors”. She said that through the workshop, she was able to gain cross-cultural understanding of diverse societies through interactions with peer participants from different countries in Asia.

Year 3 NUS Arts and Social Sciences student Sim Wee Kong found the allocated mentor-to-scholar format inspirational. The mentors were professionals in their respective fields. “Learning about their life stories and struggles helped put our priorities in perspective,” said Wee Kong. Bryan Wong, a Year 4 NUS Engineering student, found Mr Tan Chuan-Jin’s sharing of his role as Speaker of Parliament “eye-opening” and believed that he is now better able to understand national challenges facing the government.


Mr Tan (centre in blue shirt) with some of the participants

This workshop is part of a series of activities organised for TF Int’l LEaRN scholars in NUS, which also included an academic writing course, learning journeys to Singapore companies and a TF Int’l LEaRN Young Asian Leaders Forum. The TF Int’l LEaRN programme @ NUS nurtures the next generation of Asian leaders by providing opportunities for cultural exchange, networking, community engagement and leadership development through the Student Exchange Programme platform. This is the 11th year of the University’s partnership in this programme.

By NUS Global Relations