Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at SUSS Convocation Ceremony 2021

Mr Richard Eu, Pro-Chancellor, SUSS

SUSS colleagues, Class of 2021, parents and guests

Good morning to all of you present here in SUSS

And all who are joining us online

Congratulations to the Class of 2021.

It is a great pleasure to be here today, to share your joy as you celebrate your graduation. It is certainly well-deserved.

As you mark this important milestone, I would like to encourage you to reflect on your experience at SUSS, and what you will take with you as you embark on your next season.

SUSS, in many ways, can be described as the pathfinder of lifelong learning in Singapore.

Your pursuit of learning has not been limited to your pre-employment days.

Rather, it is driven by the desire to gain new insights and capabilities, to add value and meaning to your life.

For many of you, you have made the intentional choice to take up study programmes here.

Some have taken time-off from your careers

Others have had to juggle multiple commitments while taking on part-time studies.

This hunger for learning is evident, and your attitude to embrace learning new skills, gaining knowledge and building capabilities have been inspirational to many.

You are a shining example of how learning can take place anywhere, anytime, and from anyone, not limited by age, background or past experiences.

I hope that you will continue to model this passion for lifelong learning in our society, to grow to one's fullest potential and experience a deeper appreciation for life.

To do this, SUSS must aim to be the most connected university and its alumni, the most connected people.

Global and societal trends are moving faster than ever, notwithstanding the impact of the COVID-19 situation worldwide.

Accelerated trends in economic development, demographic changes, technology, our environment, even in education, will continue to vastly transform how we live, learn, work, play and grow.

As we find ourselves having to respond to complex challenges, I would like to suggest three dimensions of connectedness that SUSS and its alumni can achieve.

First, be connected to the world and frontier ideas.

On our own, we face limitations in resources. But as we look outward, we can collaborate with global and regional partners, and experience a multiplier effect.

Technology has enabled us to seamlessly connect to the rest of the world, exchanging ideas and drawing inspiration, in real-time.

Furthermore, as industry-academic cycles become shorter and more compressed, ideas can be generated from anywhere, tested and rolled-out within short time periods.

Observing and reviewing industry practices can also help to shape research agendas and teaching curricula, resulting in the activities of work and study becoming more integrated.

Staying connected to the latest trends, trials and thinking will put us in a good position to seize opportunities and drive growth at the most opportune moments.

This opens up endless possibilities and opportunities for Singapore to anchor itself as a key player in the world, whether in governance, technology, or business.

This morning, we celebrate the first cohort to complete the "Enterprise Leadership for Transformation Programme".

These 14 participants have displayed keenness to learn and acquire practical skills to build enterprise capabilities, to scale up and be set up for greater growth.

One of them is Mr Lim Wei Yeh, the director of SKP Private Limited, who shared that the programme helped him to hone his leadership skills in interacting with employees from different backgrounds, and enabled him to lead his company in digital transformation efforts and pursue an internationalisation strategy. Today, under Wei Yeh's leadership, the company is venturing into Australia with renewed confidence, to expand its business overseas.

Let me move to the second dimension, to be connected to the community.

Many of you have done well in getting to where you are today. However, doing well in life must go beyond oneself, and have a spillover impact on our community and our nation.

For many of us, we are here today not just because of our own capabilities, but because of the support and opportunities given to us by our families, friends, colleagues and the wider community.

It is this spirt of paying it forward that will place our society in good stead for the future. This is our ethos of contributing back to society, to give our future generations an even greater chance of success and to do even better than preceding generations. This is our Singapore spirit and our definition of success.

The majority of you seated here are graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work.

The very nature of this course cannot be limited to the classroom, and its true value will now be exemplified in your deeds and actions, and in your contributions to society.

Among the graduands today is Ms Amelia Bte Mohd Ali. Her interest in children welfare has driven her to mentor and tutor children from low-income families, providing them a progressive way forward through education. Her passion to uplift the lives of children in need has translated into tangible and meaningful actions, which serves as an inspiration to us all.

I hope that as you progress, you will stay connected to the community, looking out for ways in which you can make a difference, by sharing your skills and knowledge to improve the lives of those around you.

Finally, the third dimension of connectedness – to be connected with one another, as alumni, students, staff and friends of SUSS.

Your classmates and friends come from all walks of life, across different age groups.

This is something to celebrate, as each person brings something unique to the table – an experience, an ability, an idea or a story to tell. Even something as simple as, friendship.

Leverage the experiences and networks of each other. As leaders and future leaders, you play an instrumental role in shaping companies, institutions, your environment, and people's lives.

Keep on learning from one another, embracing inclusivity in your workplaces and social networks.

Staying connected will allow you to tap on this growing network of like-minded individuals, even as you embark on the next phase of life.

Ladies and gentlemen, SUSS, as the youngest autonomous university in Singapore, can distinguish itself not by size, or by history, but by becoming the most connected university.

Connected to the world and its frontier ideas, connected to the community, and connected with one another.

And as the school continues to make plans for its permanent campus, I hope to see this spirit embodied in the design of the new university campus, enabling SUSS to achieve its purpose of inspiring lifelong learning and transforming ourselves to transform society.

I wish all of you the very best in your future endeavours. Thank you.

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