SINGAPORE – Singapore’s international community has stood by Singaporeans during the difficult days of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.
And for the international community, the pandemic has been particularly hard due to travel restrictions and separation from their families, he added.
Amidst these tensions, economic uncertainties have also heightened anxieties between locals and foreigners.
Mr Lee was speaking in a video clip recorded earlier and shown at an event marking the 50th anniversary of the United World College of South East Asia (UWCSEA) – one of Singapore’s first international schools.
The college, which has 5,600 students of over 100 nationalities spread over two campuses in Dover and Tampines, was opened by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on December 15, 1971 as the Singapore International School.
Prime Minister Lee on Thursday thanked Singapore’s international community for its contribution to the country’s economy and society, and added that it continues to be welcomed and appreciated here.
He said, “UWC’s success is closely linked to the development and progress of Singapore. Throughout this journey, the college has made a valuable contribution to the community at large, especially through your dynamic service programs.
The college marked the occasion with a ceremony at its Dover campus, where it unveiled a book titled: 50 Years United: The History of UWCSEA in Singapore, written by the former UWCSEA Campus Director Tampines Graham Silverthorne.
The book captures some of the college’s programs as well as the stories and memories of its staff and alumni, some of whom were in the audience at the event.
The president of the college – former British diplomat Carma Elliot – in a speech at the event, she said that the opening of UWCSEA in Singapore had turned the school into a global movement.
She said: “Our mission is as urgent as it has ever been, for education as a force for peace and a sustainable future.”
She told the Straits Times that one of the goals of the school is to promote and foster internationalism and understanding between nations.
The UWC school system was founded in 1962 by German educator Kurt Hahn with the establishment of Atlantic College in Wales, and now includes 18 schools around the world in countries such as Costa Rica, Japan and Thailand.
A few of the staff at the event were from the early days of school
One of them was Ms. Susi Teo, 72, who joined the college in 1973, two years after its inception and taught Asian languages there until 2006, even meeting her husband at school.
She told the Straits Times that she has seen the college transform from a small school into two large, well-resourced campuses, but the most important thing to her is the culture that she and other teachers have. helped build.
She said, “We wanted to instill a deep understanding rather than a shallow understanding of Asia and Asian cultures, and this culture of understanding others underpins the rest of what the school does, whether in learning. by service or sustainability. “