General News

Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series: Third Edition

25 Jul 2019

The Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series aims to provide a platform for the continued engagement of eminent thought leaders around the world. With each of these individuals bringing their unique insights and wisdom to Hwa Chong and the education fraternity, we hope to lead collective conversations in our commitment to education for the nation. Each lecture will see the engagement of and with two luminaries in their respective fields.

We are privileged to have two distinguished speakers for the third edition of the Hwa Chong Centennial Insights Series:

  • Mr George Yeo, former Foreign Minister and Senior Adviser to both the Kuok Group and Kerry Logistics Network; and
  • Professor Michael Puett, Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese Anthropology and History at Harvard University.

They each delivered a keynote address with illuminating insights on the theme “Wisdom of the East and West: A Global Future”, exploring how countries can adapt and internalize socio-political and economic frameworks from both ends of the cultural spectrum in order to effectively engage with the challenges of our modern world. An engaging dialogue session was also held; moderated by Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times, editor-in-chief of Singapore Press Holdings' English, Malay and Tamil Media Group as well as President of the World Editors Forum.

From left to right: Professor Michael Puett, Mr Warren Fernandez, Mr George Yeo

Speaking on the fundamental differences between the East and West and drawing upon wide ranging references to historic East-West encounters, Mr Yeo argued in his keynote address that it is important to learn from both perspectives given that culture forms the collective brain of humanity.

Professor Puett spoke on the importance of building a truly “global and cosmopolitan” consensus to replace the complacency that set in after a post-war American-centric world order. Reflecting on the importance of cultivating the flourishing self, he exhorted the next generation to build enduring and robust multicultural societies.

Concluding on common ground during the dialogue session, both speakers emphasized the importance of bridging the ideological differences of the East and West, yet preserving the unique characteristics of both paradigms. The dialogue session ended emphatically on the need to maintain multiple identities and embrace the challenge of navigating diverse and pluralistic world views for the future.

From left to right: Mr Robson Lee Teck Leng (Chairman, Board of Directors, Hwa Chong Institution), Mr Pang Choon How (Principal, Hwa Chong Institution), Mr George Yeo, Professor Michael Puett, Mr Warren Fernandez, Professor Phua Kok Khoo (Institute of Advanced Studies, Nanyang Technological University), Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Chairman, Board of Governors, Hwa Chong Institution), Mrs Rathi Parimalan (Superintendent, West 1, Ministry of Education, Singapore)

Videos for both keynote speeches as well as the dialogue session can be accessed here::

1. Keynote Speech by Mr George Yeo

2. Keynote Speech by Professor Michael Puett

3. Question & Answer Session with Mr George Yeo and Professor Michael Puett; Chaired by Mr Warren Fernandez

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