Events

The list of articles published is as below – please click on any of the titles to read the full story.

Tears of Rwandans Flow on the Inside – Commemorating the Rwandan Genocide

Exactly sixteen years ago, as the world celebrated Easter last weekend, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons of Rwanda laid under siege waiting for the axe hanging over their heads to fall. And, as sure as day follows night, the axe fell within six days and, for the next agonising 90 days, the once beautiful “Rwanda” was awash with blood – and the whole world was watching in what in todays technologically advanced lingo they call “real-time”.

Earth Hour: Reflections from the Dark

So how did this global lights-off event become an annual ceremony for people across the world to voice their commitment to action against climate change?

Step Up

Over the last year, a group of dedicated LKYSPP students and I have been carrying out fundraising events to promote educational development in rural Cambodia. We have been working with two non-governmental organizations – the Phnom Penh-based Supplementary Teaching Education Program (STEP) and the Seattle-based Construction for Change (CfC) – to help build a kindergarten in Meanchey district, Lveatay, Cambodia.

When your heart speaks, take good notes

Greg Mortenson, co- author of the #1 New York Times bestseller “Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time” and “Stones into Schools,” visited the LKYSPP and shared his experiences as a humanitarian building schools in rural areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson’s easygoing attitude, something that he attributes to his spending his early days in rural Tanzania and his time away from big cities, is in stark contrast with the discipline he has shown in bringing education to areas where little development has taken place.

Singapore Experience Amazing Race – LKYSPP Edition

Following Semester 1’s Cultural Night, the MPP Senior and Junior Class Committees joined forces once again and organized the first-ever “Singapore Experience Amazing Race – LKYSPP Edition,” which involved eleven teams of five members each from both MPP classes.

On the Importance of Understanding Geopolitics

As part of his ongoing lecture series, LKYSPP Dean Kishore Mahbubani discussed the importance of geopolitics in determining the actions of states. To illustrate his point, he explained how the 2008 Georgia-Russia conflict was a result of Georgian political leaders not having a sufficient grasp of contemporary political dynamics.

China’s “Peaceful Rise”: Implications and Challenges

The peaceful rise of China is not a forgone conclusion. The country is still grappling with a complex mix of military, economic and political dilemmas. This was the key message in LKYSPP Visiting Professor Huang Jing’s seminar on “China’s Peaceful Rise: Implications and Challenges” held on March 29th.

Earth Hour 2010 @ LKYSPP and CG

Lights were turned off from 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM at the Bukit Timah Campus and at College Green over the weekend, as the LKYSPP school community joined the rest of the world in observance of Earth Hour 2010.

LKYSPP goes to UWC

A group of Master in Public Policy (MPP) students initiated a Disaster Risk Awareness program for Grade 5 students of the United World College of Southeast Asia (UWC) on February 12th. The program was part of the donation drive initiated by the MPP students for the victims of the earthquake at Haiti, which claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Haitians and left the capital city in ruins.

Africa/Asia Relations: Open For Dialogue

“Africa needs to take ownership of its own destiny,” according to Kofi Annan, Li Ka Shing Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP). His public lecture entitled “Africa and Asia: Past Lessons, Future Ambitions” organized by LKYSPP at the NUS University Cultural Centre on February 26th, 2010 coincided with the printing of a Newsweek article that highlighted the strong parallels and blossoming relationship between the African and Asian continents.

Professor Kofi Annan: Do Not Ignore Africa

Kofi Annan is a man to be admired for his outstanding achievements while at the helm of the United Nations (UN). His legacy includes successes in East Timor and Kosovo and an ambitious attempt at reforming the UN. He constantly roams around the African continent as ambassador-at-large promoting good governance, human rights, poverty alleviation and equitable growth. He also inspires the youth to foster the same belief that propelled him to the UN’s top post. It is fitting then that he discussed the future of Asian-African relations in his inaugural public lecture as Li Ka Shing Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP).

LKYSPP Football Team at the Law League

Semester 2 is alive and kicking! And so is the second leg of the Law Faculty Football League at the NUS Bukit Timah Campus! The league is organized by the Law Faculty and has seven participating teams – five from the Law Faculty and two from LKYSPP (MPP Juniors and MPP Seniors). The MPP Seniors won the league last year and emerged as the champions of Bukit Timah!

A European Voice for Free Trade

European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht visited the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) on March 3rd 2010 and gave a public lecture entitled EU and Singapore: Partners in Trade and Partners for Growth.

College Green Dialogues: Regulating Electricity Markets

At the mere age of 22, Jean-Philippe Meloche (MPA 2009/2010) worked as an Industrial Adviser at the Competition Commission in London. His experience there, as part of his policy analysis exercise at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where he studied before coming to the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP), gave him enough insights that he thought might be interesting to his fellow students. On February 24th, JP put together a College Green Dialogue on the “Regulation of Electricity Markets,” where he explained how deregulated electricity markets can function despite fears of collusion, as well as the overarching regulatory framework set by British policymakers.

College Green Multi-Purpose Hall Inaugurated

Coinciding with the Chinese New Year celebrations, LKYSPP Dean Kishore Mahbubani welcomed students and staff for the inauguration of the newly-renovated College Green (CG) Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH) on February 9th. The ceremony was also graced by the presence of Dr. Wolfgang Schüssel, former Austrian chancellor as the school’s distinguished guest.

College Green Dialogues: “Inside Rwanda”

Inspired by National Heroes’ Day held annually on February 1st, Rwandans Florence Mutesi and Liban Mugabo (MPP 2009/2011) used the opportunity to reflect on their country’s journey in the past fifteen years. The dialogue sought to move away from a “Hotel Rwanda-centric” view of the country, and instead intended to focus on current challenges, policy responses and political will.

College Green Dialogues: Challenges Facing Post-Crisis Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Efforts in Haiti

Amidst ongoing efforts by the international community to come to the aid of the victims of the January 12 tragedy that struck Haiti, students at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) spearheaded a campaign to raise funds and spread awareness of the challenges facing the people of Haiti among the student community and Singapore society at-large. The campaign was a collaborative effort among students from the various programs at the school.

On March 27 at eight thirty in the evening, hundreds of millions of people across seven continents in 127 countries, including the most populated cities of the world such as Delhi, Moscow, Beijing, Mexico City, to the remote Davis Station in Antarctica, united and took a stand against global warming as they turned their lights off for Earth Hour 2010.

So how did this global lights-off event become an annual ceremony for people across the world to voice their commitment to action against climate change?

Earth Hour began as “The Big Flick” in Australia in 2005 with the aim to mainstream climate change as a public issue. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia organized the campaign with the underlying theme of hope, not fear, based on the idea that everyone can take personal responsibility for the future of the planet we live on. Proven successful, WWF Australia wanted to broaden the event from just simply flicking the lights off, to representing sustainability in general. Hence, Earth Hour was born in 2007 in Sydney, with the participation of 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2100 businesses. The spirit of the campaign was so high that it extended beyond the boundaries of the continent. By March 2008, more than 50 million people in 371 cities and towns hailing from more than 35 countries globally celebrated Earth Hour.

The momentum continued strong. In 2009, hundreds of millions of people in more than 4000 cities across 88 countries participated in the global switch off. It has been incredible and breathtaking to see Earth Hour sweeping across continents, regardless of economic, political, cultural (and timezone!) differences.

This year, the 4500-year-old Egyptian pyramids headed a list of 1274 man-made marvels and natural wonders taking the action for climate change including: China’s most historic landmark – the Forbidden City; the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe in Paris; the Empire State Building in New York; Buckingham Palace and the Big Ben in London; Brandenburg Gate in Berlin; the Acropolis in Athens; the Trevi Fountain and Coliseum in Rome; Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe; the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Japan; the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House; Las Vegas Strip; India Gate and Red Fort in Delhi; Edinburgh Castle; Bosphorous Bridge in Istanbul; and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Remarkably, the people of Tuvalu also kept cars and motorcycles off the road for Earth Hour, aiming to make the country carbon neutral. This arguably was the most ambitious initiative for Earth Hour 2010 and was much welcomed.

You might be wondering: “What does this all mean?”

Firstly, it means “Yes, We Can.” Starting out as a sub-national event in Australia, Earth Hour now represents one of the strongest and largest movements that have mobilized hundreds of millions of people across the globe. The sheer number of people participating in the campaign emphasizes the power of individuals and collective activism. The importance of this is two-fold. First, governments around the world generally respond to public demand. Voicing your concerns about the devastating effects of climate change and demonstrating your commitment to take action against climate change places pressure on political leaders to start taking some serious measures. Second, it shows the power of individual actions. Many people keep waiting for solutions from elsewhere rather than taking the initiatives themselves, mainly due to the belief that individual actions are small and hence, meaningless. Earth Hour has proven otherwise. Everyone has a stake in the well-being of the Earth and can do their part to share in the responsibility of addressing climate change.

Secondly, Earth Hour means the future. The movement has become one of the most effective ways to promote global awareness of climate change. On the eve of Earth Hour, millions of children in the world were educated about climate change and the love for our planet. This is our hope.

Thirdly, Earth Hour is not only about turning the lights off. It is about making a stand on climate change. It is about making your vote for the Earth over global warming. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, on reflection of his work advocating civil rights equality in South Africa, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, says Earth Hour can be a catalyst for global climate reform.

There is no lack of evidence of climate change. In fact, the evidence is growing as we speak. It is high time for action! So congratulate yourselves if you participated in the event. It was an important step in itself in fighting against climate change.

It is more important, however, to not confine your efforts within Earth Hour. There are many other ways you can contribute to addressing climate change. Some simple steps are:

• Turning off your appliances at the wall when not in use.

• Using public transport when possible. Transport is one of the biggest contributors to climate change in most economies.

• Demand more renewable energy in your country’s energy system.

• Donating to organizations that actively fight for the Earth’s rights such as WWF.

— by Hanh Le (MPP 09/11)

Check out pictures of the Earth Hour Celebrations from across the world here.

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