NTU has received a $3 million gift from private investor Peter Lim. The money will go towards a new professorship in peace studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
The donation is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Singapore Government, bringing the total amount to $6 million, NTU said in a statement on Monday.
The professorship will provide for a global expert "who can lead the development of RSIS' peace studies curriculum and research strategies", NTU said.
Singapore philanthropist Peter Lim's $3 million gift to NTU creates new professorship in peace studies at RSIS
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has received a $3 million gift from Singapore philanthropist and private investor Peter Lim to endow a new professorship in peace studies.
To be based at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), NTU's graduate school of international affairs, the Peter Lim Professorship in Peace Studies will provide for a top global expert who can lead the development of RSIS' peace studies curriculum and research strategies as part of the School's new Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) programme. The gift is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Singapore Government, bringing the total endowment to $6 million.
Mr Lim said, "We have enjoyed decades of peace because of the harmonious relations amongst Singapore's different communities. But the world's many conflicts remind us that we cannot take this peace for granted. I hope that my donation can bring together distinguished scholars and thought leaders to study how we can be one step closer to protecting and promoting the harmony in our country. It is my sincere wish that Singapore will continue to enjoy peace and harmony amongst our increasingly diverse communities."
Presenting the $3 million gift cheque to the University was a representative of Mr Lim. The cheque presentation was witnessed by Singapore President and NTU Chancellor Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam at the launch of the RSIS' new SRP programme this afternoon.
On receiving the gift, NTU President Prof Bertil Andersson said, "NTU is very grateful to Mr Peter Lim for his generosity, which is testimony to the significant role RSIS plays as one of the world's top think tanks. Mr Lim's gift clearly reflects his personal deep interest in peace studies. His gift will elevate NTU's ability to ramp up RSIS' development as a leading centre of scholarship in peace and conflict studies, and more importantly, promote the creation of peaceful communities, which is essential for global progress."
The SRP is a research programme which focuses on how various religious communities develop their teachings to meet the contemporary challenges of living in multi-religious and multi-ethnic societies, also known as plural societies. The programme, which centres around education, research and community engagement, also seeks to deepen the study of relations between religions, and to formulate new models to promote the positive role of religion in fostering peace and social harmony. It also aims to develop shared knowledge to strengthen social ties within plural communities.
Heading the SRP programme is Mr Mohammad Alami Musa, Singapore's non-resident Ambassador to Algeria. He is concurrently the Non-Executive President of Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) Council and Honorary Business Representative for Middle East and North Africa for International Enterprise Singapore.
Commenting on the launch of the new programme, Ambassador Barry Desker, Dean of RSIS, said, "Today, we are pleased to inaugurate the SRP Programme. It is most fitting that this new programme is launched in a graduate school of international repute that is named after the architect of Singapore's multicultural vision - the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Given Singapore's success in managing inter-religious relations, the SRP Programme is well-placed to deepen knowledge and understanding in existing scholarship and research in the field of inter-religious studies and relations. It is an area of study that is much needed in our present context of religion in global society."
The ceremony was immediately followed by the inaugural SRP Programme Distinguished Lecture by Sheikh Dr Ali Gomaa, the former Grand Mufti of Egypt, and the current Chairman of the Misr Al Khayr Foundation. He spoke on the theme Reclaiming Our Common Humanity- Role of Religion Amidst Pluralism.
A seminar on the theme of Theological and Cultural Foundations for Strong and Positive Inter-Religious Relations will also be held tomorrow in conjunction with the launch of the SRP Programme. The keynote speakers are influential religious leaders and global scholars, including Professor Abdullah Saeed, Adviser to the SRP Programme and Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Melbourne, and Archbishop Dr Mouneer Hanna Anis (Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt). During the panel discussion, they will be joined by Sheikh Dr Ali Gomaa, Dr Mohamed Fatris Bakaram, Mufti of Singapore, and Right Reverend Dr John Chew, former Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Singapore.