(From left:) Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs; Mr Goh Geok Khim, Chairman, Temasek Foundation; ESM Goh Chok Tong; Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director, SIF; Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General, Singapore Red Cross; and Benedict Cheong, Chief Executive Officer, Temasek Foundation

Connecting Singapore to Asia and the World

The International Involvement Hub (I²Hub), a workspace shared between four outward-facing non-profit organisations, was officially launched on 27 June 2013.

“As a small city state, Singapore must be global in its outlook,” declared Emeritus Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, during his speech at the official opening ceremony of the I²Hub on 27 June 2013. “By carrying the spirit of volunteerism abroad, by developing empathy for others, and by giving practical help, we contribute in a small and modest way, to a better world… [and] develop friendships and garner goodwill for Singapore.”

ESM Goh was officiating the opening of the shared workspace between the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and Temasek Foundation (TF) – four home-grown non-profit organisations engaged in work beyond Singapore’s borders.

As a collective entity, the I²Hub seeks to encourage and train Singapore volunteers, non-profit organisations and groups, and the Singapore public to participate in social, relief, and community development activities and programmes overseas. The shared I²Hub facilities allow the partners to run the necessary volunteer development and support programmes, as well as public education activities – both jointly, as well as individually.

The ceremony was part of the ‘Making a Difference’ Festival held from 26 to 29 June 2013, aimed at acquainting the public with the I²Hub as well as the work of the organisations which sit within it. The events, which included a roundtable, public seminars and workshops, were free and open to the public.

The launch ceremony was also graced by Mr Goh Geok Khim, Chairman of TF, who called the space “a labour of love”, adding that “the areas of work of the four organisations are complementary and there is great synergy to be realised….[so] it is therefore fitting and natural for us to be co-located in the I²Hub.”

The opening ceremony was followed by a tour of the I²Hub workspace, during which ESM Goh visited the four organisations’ offices and got acquainted with the work that is being done in them.

During the SIF leg of the tour, he met and chatted with project participants and volunteers from a number of SIF projects – namely, Singapore Internationale, Friendship Express, Our Better World, Water for Life and Early Childhood Care and Development in Myanmar. The projects and their representatives gave guests a flavour of the diversity of SIF’s projects, across different areas such as art and education, and target groups such as youth and developing communities.

Said Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of SIF: "The impact of Singapore's contributions to international understanding and development could be better coordinated and conveyed with a central, strategic driver. Currently there are pockets of collaboration where agencies work on their own to find like-minded partners and work together. So the impact and reputation of Singapore as 'responsible global citizen' remains diffused. Co-locating four agencies in one space is not a bad start.”

She cited the examples of the SIF’s partnership with the Singapore Red Cross on Water for Life (Yangon), a clean water project that will improve access to clean drinking water for an estimated 7,000 villagers in Myanmar. The SIF also recently collaborated with Temasek Foundation on launching an initiative to enhance national healthcare education in Sri Lanka.

“Both of these would not have been possible on an impactful scale were it not for the partnerships between our organisations,” she concluded.

This article on the official launch of I²Hub was contributed by SIF staffer Charlene Poon.

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