25 Years of Building Enduring Global Friendships for a Better World

To mark its silver jubilee in 2016, the Singapore International Foundation’s (SIF) Patron and President of Singapore Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam launched a commemorative book at its 25th anniversary dinner on August 26. 

Our citizen ambassador and Young Social Entrepreneurs programme alumnus Justine Lee from Soule, presenting SIF Patron and President of Singapore Dr Tony Tan our 25th Anniversary commemorative book titled Building a Better World.

The book features 25 stories of citizen ambassadors – Singaporeans who connect with people from different parts of the world and work alongside communities sharing their time, skills and resources to effect real change.

Entitled Building a Better World, it highlights the significant role that they play to enable the work of the SIF in building mutual understanding and strengthening ties and trust between Singapore and world communities.

During his speech made at the event, President Tan described this group of citizen ambassadors as “manifesting the spirit of Singapore abroad, and stepping outside of their comfort zones to connect, collaborate and effect positive change in global communities”. Since 1991, over 4,000 of such Singaporeans have partnered with the SIF and its friends from overseas communities to make a difference in areas such as healthcare, education, arts and culture, the environment and business and livelihood. These cross-cultural collaborations with more than 30,000 Friends of Singapore serves as testament to the power of human connections and how friendships between the peoples of countries can be harnessed for greater good.

Our citizen ambassadors, partners and friends of Singapore joined us for a commemorative dinner to celebrate 25 years of making friends for a better world, together.

For instance, Justin Lee who is alumnus of the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs programme, channels a portion of the revenue from his socially conscious business Soule towards initiatives for children living under the poverty line in Yunnan, China. From 2010 to 2013, neonatal specialist Associate Professor Victor Samuel Rajadurai and his team of Singapore International Volunteers exchanged medical expertise with their Indian counterparts to empower them to better care for critically ill newborns, leading to a 15 per cent reduction in infant mortality in the Chengalpattu region in Tamil Nadu. More recently, arts educator Richard Tan worked with both Singaporean and Indonesian artists to design a creative education programme for children in an orphanage in Kupang, Indonesia and have collectively equipped 100 children with artistic skills, while building their confidence through self-expression.

These are just a few examples of the good that can happen when communities with common interests work together to enrich lives and create social impact.

Mr Roland Davis, Director, British Council Singapore, shares with President Tan about the collaborations between the British Council and the SIF to bridge the Singapore and British communities to effect greater mutual understanding between both communities.

Over the years, the SIF has been privileged to work with a network of over 650 partners from across the public, private and people sectors. Some of these like-minded partners were among the more than 350 guests comprising of partners, friends of Singapore, citizen ambassadors and members of the international community in Singapore who had came together to mark this milestone. Leveraging each other’s strengths and learning from one another, we have advanced on our common goal of building a more peaceful and inclusive world.

One such partner was Keith Chua, founding member and chairman of Asian Philanthropic Ventures, who said he was looking forward to future co-operations, ‘’for many of us this was not just an evening to celebrate 25 years of life changing work of SIF. Rather, I believe the evening has been an inspiration for all to continue building upon this work and contributing towards a better world. SIF must continue to be a key catalyst for inspiring, grooming and nurturing young social entrepreneurs regionally and actively facilitate and encourage increasing levels of partnership and collaboration”.

Read the SIF’s commemorative book Building a Better World here:


You can view more images from the dinner here:


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