Several celebrities turned up to witness this year’s singapore prize awards. British actor Cate Blanchett, Ted Lasso actress Hannah Waddingham and actor Sterling K. Brown were among those who walked the “green carpet” at Victoria Theatre, which was decorated in line with sustainability themes. The winners, who were selected at a glittering ceremony hosted by Malaysian singer-songwriter Yen Lee, each received a cash prize of up to $400,000, as well as the opportunity to scale their environmental solutions.
Presented by the National Book Development Council of Singapore, this is Singapore’s highest literary award. It honors authors for their published works in Chinese, English or Malay. The winner receives both a cash prize and an engraved trophy.
The prize was first awarded in 2014, after an anonymous donor made an endowment gift to fund the Prize, which is administered by the Department of History at NUS. It aims to cast a wider net in terms of the kinds of books it considers for award, from both new and established writers. The NUS Singapore History Prize also aims to broaden definitions of what constitutes history, and welcomes writings that explore diverse perspectives and themes.
According to NUS historian Prof Kishore Mahbubani, who was one of the jury members for this year’s Singapore Prize, Ms Hidayah’s work was a good example of this. Her book, Leluhur: Singapore Kampong Glam, is both a synthesis and a primary source, as she spent two to three years interviewing people who lived in the area in the past. He said it was an affirmation that ordinary Singaporeans can write history books if they have the passion and time to do so.
In addition to monetary prizes, the winners of this category also get to participate in a series of workshops with global leaders. This allows them to gain insights and learn best practices in their respective areas of expertise. It is an opportunity to get their hands on cutting edge technologies, hear from thought leaders and be inspired by the latest developments in the field.
NUS Distinguished Fellow and former Foreign Minister Kishore Mahbubani, who chaired the prize’s jury panel along with author Meira Chand, economist Lam San Ling, historian Peter Coclanis and archaeologist John Miksic, believes that this is a valuable platform to inspire young people to become changemakers and address issues of social, economic and environmental justice. “It is vital to encourage a culture of empathy, respect and tolerance and provide young people with the skills and confidence to speak up,” he said.
The Earthshot Prize is supported by its founding strategic partners, Temasek Trust, GenZero and Conservation International. Together, they bring a wide range of experience in catalytic philanthropy and blended finance and will play an important role in ensuring the success of this year’s awards ceremony and ‘Earthshot Week’ in Singapore. The prizes are also backed by a host of international organizations and individuals. For more information on this year’s awards, visit the official website here.