Yale-NUS student named 2022 Singapore Rhodes Scholar

Yale-NUS College student Nur Hazeem Bin Abdul Nasser has been named the 2022 Singapore Rhodes Scholar. Currently reading a BA with Honours in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the College, he hopes to pursue Masters in two Public Policy programmes at the University of Oxford, matriculating in October 2022.

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international scholarship programme established at Oxford University in 1903. It aims to nurture creative young leaders with a commitment to serving others.

“I am truly grateful and humbled to have been given this amazing opportunity to be Singapore’s 2022 Rhodes Scholar,” Hazeem said. “Much of this achievement can be attributed to the unwavering support of my parents, friends and family, who were all extremely encouraging in supporting my endeavours. In particular, the Yale-NUS community has been generous with their time and effort in supporting me during my application process.”

Throughout his pre-tertiary education at Anglo-Chinese Junior College and university education at Yale-NUS College, Hazeem has been actively involved in various college and community activities. He was awarded the Scouts Chief Commissioner’s Award in 2015, and the Public Service Commission Scholarship (Public Administration) in 2017. Over the years, he has epitomised the values of leadership and public service in his many co-curricular activities and beyond, such as taking on the mantle of the seventh President of the Yale-NUS College Student Government.

Passionate about social issues in Singapore, he also co-founded two start-ups that focus on empowering low-income families and the elderly in Singapore. The Signpost Project (2016) seeks to uncover the needs and stories of underprivileged communities, “present these narratives to the wider public, and more importantly, connect them to resources and agencies to address needs, especially during COVID”. Meanwhile, ALittleChange (2019) was set up to “inspire the idea that contributing to the community does not require a largesse of donations or setting up large-scale organisations, but merely that small acts of service can sometimes change an individual's world”.

The seeds of his passion for service were planted in his childhood by his parents, whose passion for people, especially the under-represented in society, encouraged him to develop an interest in, and compassion for, others around him.

With the Rhodes Scholarship, Hazeem hopes to leverage Oxford’s Public Policy 1+1 programme which includes a Masters of Public Policy (MPP) and an MSc in Public Policy Research. This will pave the road for his future career in the civil service, where he hopes to work on improving accessibility for the elderly and empowering them to fulfil their aspirations.

As Singapore’s first minority Rhodes Scholar, he will also strive to promote better understanding and communication between different ethnicities in Singapore.

“While studying at Oxford under the Rhodes scholarship, I hope to be able to bring back my experiences to help strengthen community building to support the elderly in Singapore,” he shared.

Lauding Hazeem’s achievements, Professor Tan Tai Yong, President of Yale-NUS College, said, “We are delighted that Hazeem is being recognised for his work in the community and we hope this will inspire more Singaporean youth to actively serve our citizens. We are confident that this terrific opportunity will help Hazeem achieve even greater impact.”

Asked what words of advice he has to Singaporean youths on being active and involved in the community, Hazeem urged, “There are many amazing resources and causes to be involved in, and starting out can just be a matter of contributing in an area completely new to you.

“Neighbourhoods are a fantastic place to start. Community building may seem like an ambitious project but starting small can sometimes make the biggest difference.”