NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences establishes Buddhist Studies Visiting Professorship to foster interdisciplinary research in Buddhist studies

The Visiting Professorship is established through a S$500,000 gift from Mee Toh Foundation

The NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) will soon be able to boost its research and teachings in Buddhist Studies, thanks to a generous gift of S$500,000 from Mee Toh Foundation.

The gift will enable the establishment of the Mee Toh Foundation Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies, augmenting FASS’ Buddhist Studies offerings with fresh perspectives on the history, philosophy, art, and literature of Buddhism.

To be administered over the course of five years from 2024 by the Department of Philosophy at FASS, the new Visiting Professorship will be awarded annually to a distinguished Buddhist studies academic/expert who will teach undergraduate courses, spearhead research endeavours and deliver public lectures related to the field. The appointed Visiting Professor’s focal areas may encompass Buddhist philosophy, history in Buddhist studies, and literature related to Buddhist studies, in order to foster a comprehensive exploration of this multifaceted field.

FASS Dean Professor Lionel Wee said, “Singapore, a culturally diverse nation, is home to a tapestry of religious and cultural traditions, including Buddhism. A deeper understanding of one another’s culture and religion will promote mutual understanding and foster a greater sense of respect within society. We are pleased to partner with the Mee Toh Foundation to provide invaluable opportunities for students, scholars, and the broader community to engage with world-renowned experts so as to enrich their understanding of this rich subject.”

The search for the first Visiting Professor will commence soon.

Mr Ong Pang Boon, Chairman of the Mee Toh Foundation said, “Our Foundation traces its roots to Venerable Sek Kong Hiap who started Mee Toh School because of his dedication to the cause of education. We are delighted to work with NUS to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist studies among Singaporeans.”

Prof Qu Hsueh Ming, Head of the FASS Department of Philosophy, added, “The establishment of the Mee Toh Foundation Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies underscores our commitment to academic excellence and the cultivation of cross-cultural awareness. Buddhist Studies holds the potential to encourage more academic discourse by offering fresh outlooks not only in the area of philosophy, but also in religion, history, philosophy, art, and literature. By embracing these perspectives, interdisciplinary research flourishes, enriching our comprehension of various fields of knowledge.”

Mee Toh Foundation is a registered charity incorporated in 2016. Besides supporting the underprivileged and welfare organisations, the Foundation provides financial help to three Buddhist schools in Singapore (Mee Toh School, Maha Bodhi School and Manjusri Secondary School). Through the Visiting Professorship at NUS, it hopes to bring more awareness to the public about Buddhist Studies.