The inaugural Singapore Prize is an international awards programme that recognises philanthropists who have a profound impact on humanity through their scalable and innovative solutions. Unlike traditional prize competitions, the Singapore Prize does not seek to select one winner outright; rather, it is intended to empower newer donors by encouraging them to collaborate with established sector thought leaders who can turbocharge their learning. This will help them accelerate the pace at which they adopt leading-edge philanthropic practices and ultimately transform their own giving.
The winners of the Singapore Prize will receive a US$1 million grant to accelerate their solutions and scale their impact, together with tailored support from experts in areas such as business development, marketing, and fundraising. Additionally, they will be given access to a network of peers in the region and beyond to share their experiences and learn from each other, as well as the opportunity to showcase their work at a global platform.
In addition to the grant, the winning philanthropists will be invited to Singapore for a week-long programme of activities led by Conservation International (CI). This new Earthshot Week initiative aims to bring together global leaders, businesses, and investors to explore exciting opportunities with TEP Winners and Finalists, aimed at accelerating their solutions and bringing about tangible action to repair our planet. It will also include local activations for members of the public to participate in.
During his visit, the Duke of Cambridge will call on Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon at The Istana palace. He will also tour the world’s largest indoor waterfall at Changi Airport, and see a tree planted in his honour at the Rain Vortex. He is visiting the country as part of his work with the philanthropic group the Royal Foundation, which was founded in 2020 to promote innovations that tackle climate change and reduce poverty.
NUS’s Professor Kishore Mahbubani, senior advisor (university and global relations), said that the award could potentially be expanded in the future to cover works other than books, such as movies and comics, which may be more effective at reaching out to non-academic audiences. He cited the film 12 Years A Slave as an example.
This year, the prize has been awarded to a number of writers for their outstanding works. This includes the first-time winners alllkunila (Azhagunila), innnpaa (Rama Suresh), rma cureess (Suratman Markasan), Jee Leong Koh, and Yifan Wang. Other notables include the nonagenarian Wang Gungwu, who won for his novel Snow at 5 PM. They join the likes of literary pioneer Edwin Thumboo, who won in the English category for his poetry collection The Last Words of the Angry Youth. Five writers were shortlisted for two or more categories – a record for the program, which was created in 1992 and now operates in four languages. The theme of this year’s Singapore prize is “resonance.” It celebrates how literature evokes emotions and memories. The winners were honoured at the Singapore Writers Festival Gala on 30 November.