Sowing the Seeds of Sino-Singapore Friendship

The SIF’s Young Business Ambassadors (YBA) programme celebrated its 10th anniversary in Shanghai, with the “graduation” of 13 new Chinese and Singaporean YBAs.

SIF Governor Mr David Chong speaking at the YBA closing ceremony.

“During my YBA exchange experience, I often felt that Singapore International Foundation (SIF) and the Shanghai People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (SPAFFC) were like farmers – sowing us YBAs like seeds, which blossomed into friendships connecting the cities of Singapore and Shanghai.”

So shared Singaporean Mr Stanley Keng, F&B Manager at SATS Ltd, one of this year’s YBAs who were selected to participate in the Singapore International Foundation’s Singapore-China YBA programme, an annual 11-week business exchange between Singapore and Shanghai organised in partnership with SPAFFC and the Shanghai Administration for Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA). This year’s YBAs were attached to host organisations from diverse sectors including tourism, telecommunications, banking and finance and aviation, and join a network of 90 alumni from over 50 host organisations in both countries.

Stanley and his group of YBAs attended the 2014 programme’s closing ceremony in Shanghai on 1 December 2014, which commemorated a triple celebration – firstly, that of the growth and development of the programme, with the largest batch of 13 YBAs in 10 years; secondly, the 10th anniversary of partnership between SIF, SPAFFC and SAFEA; and finally, the China launch of the YBA commemorative book ‘A Decade of Business Exchanges, a Lifetime of Friendships’, demonstrating the enduring relationships among alumni and host company representatives nurtured through the YBA programme.

From left: Singapore Consul-General to Shanghai Mr Ong Siew Gay, SIF Governor Mr David Chong and SPAFFC Vice President Mr Yu Jianhao.

The ceremony was attended by Singapore Consul-General to Shanghai Mr Ong Siew Gay, SIF Governor Mr David Chong, SPAFFC Vice President Mr Yu Jianhao and SAFEA Deputy Director-General Mr Huang Weimao.

Mr Yu shared with the audience: “We are delighted to contribute to stronger people-to-people ties between Singapore and China through the YBA programme. Moving ahead, 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Singapore and China, bringing opportunities for more exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. We hope to continue working together with partners such as the SIF to explore and broaden areas for future partnership and cooperation.”

To mark the 10th anniversary of the YBA exchange, SIF launched a commemorative book ‘A Decade of Exchanges, A Lifetime of Friendships’ in Shanghai.

Also present were YBA alumni who made time to join the latest batch of “graduates”, happy to catch up with existing friends, while making new ones. One of them, Singaporean Mr Tan Kai Yeow, Senior Associate Director and Investment Advisor at Standard Chartered Bank, shared with the audience an interesting insight: “When I think of all the connections forged between Singaporeans and Shanghainese through the programme, I think of it very much like a network of intersecting train lines – busy, diverse and vibrant. And full of potential for growth in the future!”

SIF Governor David Chong concluded: “The YBA programme is much more than a business exchange programme. Our YBAs are passionate about promoting international friendship and understanding, having volunteered to rebuild homes for families affected by the April earthquake in Sichuan Province and regularly engaging in cross-cultural sharing sessions. We look forward to more friendships being forged to effect positive change and enrich lives.”

To find out more about the YBA programme, click here.

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