The Magic Of Connections

The Singapore International Foundation (SIF) celebrated 25 years of enduring ties between Singaporeans and world communities. The commemorative dinner on Aug 26 was graced by the guest of honour, Singapore’s President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is also Patron of SIF. Also present was Dr Janil Puthucheary, Singapore’s Minister of State for Communications and Information and for Education. It was attended by over 400 guests, including Singaporeans and international friends, who have partnered with SIF over the years to build a better world.

The theme for the evening, “The Magic of Connections”, encapsulated SIF’s mission of connecting communities, enabling collaborations and effecting change. Fuelled by the power of human connections, SIF brings people together to share ideas, skills and experiences, and build partnerships that inspire action and enrich lives. The night’s festivities commemorated 25 years of friendships and networks that have opened many doors of cooperation and collaboration, for a peaceful, more inclusive world.

In the following pages, we bring you some of the evening’s key highlights.

President Tony Tan Keng Yam launching a special commemorative book, Building A Better World, to mark SIFʼs 25th anniversary during the event. The commemorative book features the stories of 25 Citizen Ambassadors who have stepped out of their comfort zone to connect, collaborate and effect positive change in global communities.

“In Singaporeʼs crucial formative years, we were fortunate to have friends from the global community who supported and stood by us. We will always remember and treasure the enduring relationships Singapore has forged with other nations over the decades. Singapore continues to advocate the importance of global citizenry and the impact of a connected and collaborative world. Today, Singapore is doing our part to support the development of other countries and maintain national peace and security.”

Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam, President of Singapore and Patron of SIF

Guests viewing an exhibition providing a brief overview of SIFʼs work across the focus areas of Arts and Culture, Business and Livelihoods, Education, Environment and Healthcare.

“As SIF celebrates 25 years of enduring ties between Singaporeans and world communities, we remain focused on growing our connections and engagements. We are proud of our Singaporean Citizen Ambassadors, our international Friends of Singapore and our outstanding programme alumni. It is both heartening and humbling when our friends continually reach out to stay in touch with SIF.”

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, SIF Chairman
(below, extreme left)

“At SIF, we recognise ʻThe Magic of Connectionsʼ. That possibilities are endless when we harness the power of networks to enrich lives and effect change. In that spirit, the SIFʼs role is to build positive and productive connections between peoples. Around common values or causes to develop shared meaning. That we might enable collaborations for sustained and positive social change.”

Ms Jean Tan, SIF Executive Director
(below, second from left)

Ambassador Ong Keng Yong and Ms Jean Tan with Dr Phone Win and Lady Maw Htoon Daw Yuza from non-profi t organisation Mingalar Myanmar; The anniversary event showcased two chairs that were part of CHAIRITY 2015, which was held in Singapore. SIF supported CHAIRITY Jakarta, which brought together artists and designers to raise funds for Indonesian cancer patients. Also on display was one of 25 pianos from the Singapore edition of global arts installation “Play Me, Iʼm Yours”. Both CHAIRITY and “Play Me, Iʼm Yours” are part of SIFʼs Arts For Good initiative.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Ambassador Ong Keng Yong (back row, sixth from left), President Tony Tan Keng Yam, Dr Janil Puthucheary and Ms Jean Tan with 19 of the 25 Citizen Ambassadors featured in the commemorative book, Building a Better World; Guests being entertained by a magician; Dr Tan talking to Mr Roland Davies, British Council Singaporeʼs director, and Ms Chua Ai Liang, director of arts and communities at Singaporeʼs National Arts Council. Both organisations are partners of SIF projects.

“Cross-cultural collaboration presents an opportunity to understand one another more. When people of similar passions are thrown together and have to work together, when we click, it is like falling in love. Love can solve great problems and if people can do that in art, maybe they can do that in all aspects of life.”

Ms Tan Kheng Hua, actress and programme alumni of SIFʼs Singapore Internationale (above, second from right)

“At first, what they know about Singapore is that it is a rich city-state. Over time, they can see that we are sincere. That also builds trust and friendships, and that is how we become known as a small island with a big heart.”

Mr Seluasundram Nagalingam, Singapore Armed Forces Master Warrant Offi cer and SIF volunteer for the Water for Life project in Cambodia (bottom right, third from right)



FROM LEFT TOP: Singaporean artist Clement Chow (left) and Indonesian artist Nita Aartsen performing during the evening. The two collaborated on the Kupang Project, which is part of SIFʼs Arts For Good initiative. The project is a creative education programme for benefi ciaries of the Roslin Orphanage in West Timor, Indonesia; Guests at dinner; Citizen Ambassadors, SIF donors and guests interacting during the evening. SIF programme alumni and donors at the dinner.


“SIF helped lay the foundation for our social entrepreneurship journey, like the business mindset we developed through mentorship sessions and talks, and the skills we learnt at the workshops.”

Syakir Hashim, co-founder of Skolafund, a fi nalist of SIFʼs Young Social Entrepreneurs 2013 programme

“If you have the chance to do something meaningful and you have the ability to do it, take the risk. As a volunteer, you help others, but you also help yourself by growing as a person.”

Alvan Yap, former teacher and SIF in-field volunteer for disability education in Timor Leste

“We are there (in Indonesia) to share our knowledge and learn from them (the Indonesians) as much as they learn from us. There is mutual trust and respect.”

Dr Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, consultant at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and SIF Specialist Volunteer for the Enhancing Palliative Care Practice project in Jakarta, Indonesia

“On behalf of the American Chamber of Commerce, I would like to thank the Singapore International Foundation for its truly inspirational work, building the bridges between our two societies. The people-topeople connections that you foster are the heart and soul of our relations.”

Judith Fergin, executive director of the American Chamber of Commerce

“This July, I visited Singapore as part of the Singapore International Foundationʼs Journalist Visit Programme and spent fi ve days (there). Iʼm very grateful to SIF for this opportunity to build friendships and connections, and for making this experience possible. In the future, I hope to continue growing with SIF to build new chapters in our Sino-Singapore partnership.”

Zhao Xu, senior reporter with China Daily

“Partnering with the Singapore International Foundation was a strategic move for the Asean Foundation to push forward the mandate of bringing people together as well as to have better collaboration…I hope we can continue to collaborate on different initiatives to build a better Asean for all.”

Elaine Tan, executive director of Asean Foundation

“My wish for SIF is that it will continue its great programmes and continue partnering with Indonesia Bright Foundation because we both share two loves: our love for a good relationship between Indonesia and Singapore, and our love for education for all children.”

Shinto Nugroho, head of public policy and government relations at Google Indonesia




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