Welcome Remarks by Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, SIF Chairman, at SIF Connects! Hanoi, Vietnam - Singapore Cooperation Centre, in Hanoi, Vietnam

Ambassador Catherine Wong, Singapore’s Ambassador to Vietnam,
Ambassador Nguyen Phuong Nga, President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisation,
Ambassador Nguyen Duc Hung, Vice President of the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association,
Partners and Friends,

Xin chào! Welcome and thank you for joining us at the Singapore International Foundation, or SIF, Connects! Hanoi.

This is one of many ways we stay in touch with our friends from across the globe. We began SIF Connects! in 2010, and one of our first overseas editions was held in Hanoi. We are glad to be back to reconnect with friends, old and new.

Since 1994, Singaporeans and Vietnamese have worked together on SIF projects in the fields of healthcare, education, arts and culture, and social entrepreneurship. A sign of the strengthening relations between our people is evident in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2017, between the SIF and the Vietnam-Singapore Friendship Association (VSFA). It was witnessed by our Prime Ministers. The two-year MOU reflects our shared goal to boost intercultural understanding and build friendships. Today, I am pleased to announce that the SIF and VSFA will renew our commitment and extend the partnership for the next five years.

The longstanding support from the Vietnamese community has enabled the SIF’s work in bridging world communities to do good. Together, we have achieved many new milestones. In the field of Special Education, we have successfully run two phases of our Special Education (SPED) project in Hanoi since 2010. Over 460 SPED educators received training to eventually support thousands of Vietnamese children with special needs. In January last year, we launched the SIF’s Haemodialysis Care Project in Hanoi. This capacity-building project will see improvements in the standards of haemodialysis care in the region. Over 180 healthcare professionals from Hanoi Medical University have successfully received training by our Singapore volunteers. We look forward to hosting a select group of master trainers for their study visit to Singapore next month.  

We have extended the second run of our Words on Wheels, or WoW, programme in Ho Chi Minh City for another three years. Since 2011, WoW has brought the joy of reading to over 14,000 Vietnamese children. The programme connects the people of Singapore and Vietnam to share skills and resources – fuelling the spirit of collaboration in making this world a better place.

We have also seen many Vietnamese social entrepreneurs taking part in our Young Social Entrepreneurs (YSE) programme. Last year, Cricket One, which runs a cricket farming business to support struggling farmers, was one of the seven winners in the programme. They are now part of the 1000-strong global youth network of 30 nationalities.

These milestones would not have been possible without the warm support of our Vietnamese friends. We will be taking our friendship one step further by appointing an SIF representative in Vietnam – Mr Harry Pham. Harry is one of our young leaders from the SIF’s ASEAN Youth Fellowship.

I would now like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt appreciation to each and every one of you for taking time off your busy schedules to be with us today. I hope to see you again for our biennial SIF Connects! Singapore in December.

Thank you and I wish you an enjoyable time, rekindling old friendships and making new ones.



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