Singapore Prize 2023
The first Singapore prize devoted to the country’s history was launched in 2014 as part of the SG50 programme. It was awarded by NUS’ Department of History and was open to both Singaporeans and foreign authors. It was established with an endowment gift from a private donor and is the first of its kind in Asia.
Prof Miksic, who is also an archaeological specialist, won the first prize for his book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea, 1300 – 1800, which was published in 2013. He recalled the idea for the prize came from an opinion piece he wrote in April 2014. He said one of the new citizens who read the column responded that he would like to donate S$500,000 to establish a prize for the best history book written about Singapore.
NUS’ senior advisor (university and global relations) Prof Kishore Mahbubani was a member of the jury panel that picked the winner this year. He said he hoped the award would inspire writers and help to encourage more people to write about Singapore’s history. He added that the prize may eventually be expanded to include other forms of art such as movies, comic books and novels, which can often communicate complex historical ideas more effectively than textbooks.
Ms Hidayah Ibrahim, whose book Leluhur: A Story of Kampong Glam won the 2021 Singapore History Prize, told reporters that she was honoured to receive the prize. She said it was “an affirmation that anyone who has lived a proportion of their lives in Singapore has something to contribute to the discussion about our history”.
As part of the HOFS Awards 2023, NUS also gave out a series of special prizes that highlighted some of the most innovative companies and individuals. These included Neo4j, an open source graph data platform that enables businesses to unlock the value of their big data. The prize was sponsored by Temasek and GenZero.
The HOFS Awards ceremony was held at the Ritz Carlton Millenia and was attended by prominent figures from various niche sectors around the world. It was hosted by actresses Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K. Brown, as well as US singer Bebe Rexha and her band. The heir to the British throne Prince William was present and wore a 10-year-old dark green suit by Alexander McQueen.
The Earthshot Prize, founded in 2020 by the philanthropists William and Catherine Middleton and their charitable foundation, was in Singapore to host a global awards event in collaboration with local partners. It aims to promote solutions for a sustainable world by amplifying the voices of entrepreneurs working in the field of climate change. The finalists of the award were presented on the second day of their visit. They were joined by government ministers, business leaders and former New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who wore a navy blue dress from the luxury brand Stella McCartney. She is an ambassador for the prize, which was co-founded with the US company GenZero.