Homegrown Non-Profits Launch 'International Involvement Hub' To Connect Singaporeans To Asia And The World

Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong presides over official opening; series of free talks and workshops open to public

Singapore, 27 June 2013 – Emeritus Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong today opened the International Involvement Hub (I2Hub) – a space where Singaporeans can participate in an international exchange of ideas, access information on overseas giving in social, relief and community development, and where the non-profit sector can share expertise and collaborate.

The first of its kind in Singapore, the 2,000 square meters space at The Atrium@Orchard houses the four home-grown non-profit organisations (NPOs) engaged in building international understanding, capacity-building and development work as well as disaster relief. They are the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA), the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) and Temasek Foundation, Singapore (TF),

Speaking at the opening ceremony as Guest of Honour, Emeritus Senior Minister Goh said, “As a small city state, Singapore must be global in its outlook. We need to take a deep and active interest in international trends and issues which affect us. We can do this by contributing good ideas on how to tackle global challenges like liveable cities, water management, climate change and sustainable development. Beyond initiating conversations on these important topics, we can also make a tangible difference to the lives of some communities outside of Singapore in a practical, sustainable way through our volunteers and technical assistance.”

“I am optimistic that the I2Hub can serve as a model to show how different organisations can come together to collaborate, pool resources, and share ideas to do good. I hope that stories of the good work done by the I2Hub will inspire more Singaporeans – young and old – to want to do more to help others. When we all reach out to help others, we are building a better and more compassionate society.”

To celebrate the opening of the I²Hub, the four NPOs are co-presenting the ‘Making a Difference’ Festival from 26-29 June 2013, a line-up of free events featuring a roundtable, public seminars and workshops. See Annex A for details. On the eve of the opening, the four NPOs based at the I²Hub hosted a roundtable to discuss how Singapore can better work towards making a difference. Other NPOs, humanitarian bodies and foundations were invited to share their views and experiences. Participants agreed that at present, cooperation between Singapore-based groups is not extensive enough. We believe that the I²Hub will be able to encourage Singapore NPOs to work more closely with each other and share expertise and knowledge of situations on the ground, forging closer connections across the entire sector.

“The I2Hub will encourage and facilitate the involvement of Singaporeans in social, community development, humanitarian and relief activities and programmes outside Singapore. It will be a gathering place for learning and exchange for Singapore-based non-profit groups and organisations that reach out to the region and the world. With the partnerships among the four organisations at the hub extending to the larger ‘international involvement community’ of like-minded organisations, greater synergy can be reaped,” said Benedict Cheong, Chief Executive Officer of Temasek Foundation.

“The SIIA’s mission is to be a Think Tank for A Thinking People. As we share analyses about the world, we foster thought and awareness. We then hope that Singaporeans and those who live here will move towards taking action. This combination of analysis, awareness and action is the foundation for International Involvement; more of us can be Global Citizens: that is why International Involvement reads, “I too” at the I2Hub. In the global cities like New York and London, there are independent think tanks and civic institutions that serve this role. This is what the SIIA hopes to contribute to Singapore,” said Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs

“The impact of Singapore’s contributions to international understanding and development could be better coordinated and conveyed with a central, strategic driver. Currently there are pockets of collaboration where agencies work on their own to find like-minded partners and work together. So the impact and reputation of Singapore as a ‘responsible global citizen’ remains diffused. Co-locating four agencies in one space is not a bad start. What’s impactful is when we harness the potential of collaborating to do good. Recently, for instance, the SIF partnered with the Singapore Red Cross on a clean water project that will benefit an estimated 7,000 villagers in Yangon. Next week, Temasek Foundation and SIF will launch an initiative to enhance national healthcare education in Sri Lanka. Both of these would not have been possible on an impactful scale were it not for the partnerships between our organisations,” said Ms Jean Tan, Executive Director of SIF.

“The Singapore Red Cross Academy@Atrium will train and develop Singaporean volunteers in first aid and disaster management, to strengthen their resilience and to equip them with the know-how for overseas humanitarian projects. The space also allows us to promote and disseminate knowledge of our rich heritage of humanitarian service, so as to inspire current and future generations,” Mr Benjamin William, Secretary General of the Singapore Red Cross.
In addition to housing the offices of SIIA, SIF and TF, and the SRC Academy, the I2Hub also features a resource centre and rooms for meetings, training and seminars, as well as “incubation” rooms for temporary use by new and fledging Singapore NPOs.

I2Hub Launch 2013 Chairman Speech