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Mr S R Nathan speaks at U@live 2012

10 February 2012

Mr Sadasivan (left) with Mr Nathan during the lively forum

NUS was privileged to have pre-eminent alumnus Mr S R Nathan as guest speaker at U@live, a special monthly forum featuring outstanding members of the university community who have been indefatigable in championing causes that make a difference to the world.

Mr Nathan, Singapore's longest-serving President, shared with the audience lessons learnt from his experiences as a student at the University of Malaya, his various appointments in the public service, and as Singapore's head of state.

When asked on his message to young Singaporeans by Mr Viswa Sadasivan, forum moderator and Chairman of the U@live organising committee, Mr Nathan said that the younger generation today is like the Pilgrim Fathers who have just landed.

"My generation has provided the landing space. The land ahead is yours. You have to mould it, you have to build on it. And you have to ask yourself 'Why am I here?' Our existence is not preordained, our prosperity is not preordained. What is on today, can go tomorrow. And we have only 40 years of history. The moulding of that nation is your responsibility," said Mr Nathan.

Mr Nathan has held key positions in security, intelligence and foreign affairs, as well as chaired various companies and academic institutions. He became the sixth President of Singapore in September 1999 and served two terms in office. After leaving office last year, he joined the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies as Distinguished Senior Fellow.

Rounding off the forum, Mr Nathan fielded questions which included whether he knew he was destined for big things in life, the traits of a leader and how Singapore can be prepared for changes in the globalised world.

U@live is also webcast live to the student population on campus. Initiated by the NUS Alumni Advisory Board, the forum is spearheaded jointly by alumni and the Office of Alumni Relations.