The strong UK-Singapore ties in education were further reaffirmed with the annual Scholarship Awards Presentation at the British High Commissioner’s residence Eden Hall.
Her Excellency Kara Owen, the British High Commissioner to Singapore, awarded the three Chevening Scholarships to Mr Leo Chu Chun, Mr Bertrand Seah, and Ms Lee Yi Ting, and will celebrate Mr Nur Hazeem bin Abdul Nasser and Mr Oh Ming Song as Singapore Rhodes Scholar and Lee Kuan Yew–Thatcher Scholar respectively.
The Chevening Scholarships are funded by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and are open to applications from around 150 countries and territories. Known previously in Singapore as the Raffles Scholarships, the Chevening programme offers bond-free scholarships to promising young Singaporeans. Scholarships are usually awarded for one-year postgraduate courses at any UK university and on any course of the Scholar’s choice. In Singapore the financial support usually covers the scholar’s university tuition fees.
Mr Leo Chu Chun will be studying for an MSc in International Strategy and Diplomacy at the London School of Economics (LSE). His goal is to work on policies that harness new technology to help people to reach their potential, whilst minimising the potential harms of technological change. He was previously with Uber, where he worked on technology to help enabled citizens with challenges to drive with Uber. He is currently a senior technical policy analyst at Meta’s Policy Integrity Team, where he works on tackling issues such as election integrity, e-commerce harm and dangerous content.
Mr Leo Chu Chun Lok said: “I am extremely excited to pursue my research and study in the international strategy and diplomacy program run by LSE IDEAS Foreign Policy think tank. With this opportunity, I am closer to my dream of contributing to a more enriching and democratic online ecosystem. I hope to work with the government in South East Asia and tech companies to build a safer and more inclusive internet world. I would also hope to take the opportunity to broaden my horizon, to learn to be a better global citizen!”
Mr Bertrand Seah will be studying for an MSc in Environmental Policy and Regulation, also at the LSE. He is the co-founder of the Green Swan Initiative which seeks to map the sustainable finance landscape in Singapore. He is currently a research assistant at the Asia Research Institute at the National University of Singapore.
Mr Seah said, “I am truly honoured to be awarded the Chevening Scholarship and to join its ranks of remarkable individuals in Singapore and around the world. The threat of climate change will be a great challenge of our time, and I am certain that a Masters in Environmental Policy and Regulation at the LSE will give me invaluable insights to contribute to Singapore’s pursuit of a just and inclusive green transition. In particular, I look forward to learning about the political economy of environmental policymaking, and how it interacts with major questions of development, social justice and distributional conflict.”
Ms Lee Yi Ting will be studying for an MA in Sexual Dissidence at the University of Sussex. She aims to provide support for survivors of image-based sexual abuse and tech-linked gender-based violence. She has recently been working on online safety issues with Hivos, a Dutch NGO, and has previously been working with local organisations such as AWARE and Project X.
Ms Lee Yi Ting said, “I applied for the Chevening Scholarship because this is a scholarship that supports people in civil society, I am humbled and grateful to be awarded it, knowing that they look for people at the forefront of social movements and social change, especially democratic change towards a more just world. Issues of gender and sexuality have always been close to my heart, and I am excited to explore them more deeply through my studies in UK. I hope my time in UK broadens and expands my political imagination, and allows me to make greater strides against gender-based violence in Singapore when I return, where I hope I will set up an initiative in Singapore surrounding image-based sexual abuse and tech-linked gender-based violence.”
Mr Nur Hazeem bin Abdul Nasser is the 2022 Singapore Rhodes Scholar. He will be studying Master’s level Sociology and Public Policy courses at the University of Oxford and will be pursuing a career in the civil service. Having graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Yale-NUS College, he is also the founder of two nonprofits focused on empowering families and the elderly in Singapore, The Signpost Project, which seeks to address the needs and uncover stories of retrenched elderly workers, and ALittleChange, which seeks to show that small acts of service can make a difference.
He said, “The Rhodes Scholarship presents a life-changing opportunity to learn in one of the world’s leading universities, and from individuals who are extremely passionate in their respective fields. I’ll get to be plugged into a global network with leaders in various fields – from refugee protection to biomedical sciences. My current aim is to apply the knowledge and connections gained as I join the civil service back in Singapore. My interests lie in developing robust public policy to strengthen NGO-business relations and support an ageing population.”
The Rhodes Scholarship is a fully funded, full-time, postgraduate award which enables talented young people from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. Rhodes Scholars go to the UK for two or more years and can apply to study most full-time postgraduate courses offered by Oxford University. Singapore’s previous recipients of this recognition include former Minister of Transport Raymond Lim, former Member of Parliament Chen Show Mao and former competitive swimmer Desmond Koh.
Mr Oh Ming Song is the 2022 Lee Kuan Yew–Thatcher Scholar. He will be studying for a BA in Jurisprudence at Somerville College in Oxford University. He was formerly a student at Raffles Institution and has recently completed a year at the National University of Singapore studying for a double honours degree in Law and Economics. The Lee Kuan Yew–Thatcher Scholarship at Somerville College is available for Singaporean students who can demonstrate that they have succeeded against the odds.
The Margaret Thatcher Scholarship Trust (MTST) was established at Somerville College in 2013, the college Margaret Thatcher studied at, to fund and administer the Thatcher Scholarship Programme in the University of Oxford,. Through the generosity of ST Telemedia, the Lee Kuan Yew – Thatcher Scholarships were created in 2019 to enable Singaporean students from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake undergraduate studies at Somerville.
Her Excellency Kara Owen said: “I am delighted to congratulate Singaporeans who have been awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship for postgraduate study in the UK and celebrate these together with Singaporeans who have received other UK-linked scholarships. If you spend any amount of time with these individuals, you are left with no doubt that these exceptional, passionate people will make enormous contributions to their country, to innovation and to their community. We hope they will forge lasting connections with our country during their time in the UK. Congratulations to all scholars”
Applications for Chevening Awards to study in the 2022/2023 academic year opened in August and close on 1st November 2022. For more information, visit their website here