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NUS and Yale sign agreement to work towards landmark collaboration on liberal arts college at NUS

14 September 2010



YALE-NUS COLLABORATION: Yale University and NUS signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work towards a collaboration to establish a liberal arts college in NUS


IN CONVERSATION: (From left) NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, Singapore Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen and President of Yale University Prof Richard Levin


TOUR OF YALE'S JONATHAN EDWARDS RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE: (From left) Vice President (University and Global Relations), NUS, Prof Lily Kong; Deputy President (Administration), NUS, Mr Joseph Mullinix; Associate Dean, Yale College, and Master of Jonathan Edwards Residential College, Dr Penelope Laurans; Singapore Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen; NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan; and Vice President and Secretary, Yale University, Ms Linda Lorimer

NUS and Yale University have, on 10 September 2010, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work towards a collaboration to establish a liberal arts college in NUS. Singapore's Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen witnessed the event at Yale University's campus in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. The MOU was announced by the Ministry of Education on 14 September.

In a statement made during the meeting with the Yale leadership and its faculty, Dr Ng said: "It is timely to consider introducing liberal arts education in Singapore. Yale is a world-class university and has a strong tradition in liberal arts education. The Government is supportive of NUS' and Yale's efforts to develop a liberal arts model that will attract top students, and that is contextualised to Singapore and Asia."

President of Yale Prof Richard C. Levin said: "It is very exciting to contemplate collaborating with the National University of Singapore to create a new educational model for the 21st century, contextualised especially for Asia. There has never been greater need for undergraduate education that cultivates critical inquiry. In a world that is increasingly interconnected, the qualities of mind developed through liberal education are perhaps more indispensable than ever in preparing students to understand and appreciate differences across cultures and national boundaries, and to address problems for which there are no easy solutions."

Yale, a pre-eminent global university, has been widely regarded as having a major influence on the development of liberal arts education in the US. Yale's established experience with liberal arts education is expected to complement NUS' expertise in developing global and Asian perspectives on international issues.

Said NUS President Prof Tan Chorh Chuan, "Our University's strong and warm partnership with Yale has resulted in several innovative programmes over the last few years. We look forward, with excitement, to further extending our collaborations to an area that is very important for the future, for Singapore and beyond. This MOU with Yale brings us a step closer to making the vision of a liberal arts college in Singapore and at NUS a reality."

Prof Tan, in a circular to the NUS community on the NUS-Yale MOU, wrote that NUS had been seriously studying the feasibility of establishing a liberal arts college within the University.

"With the rise of Asia, we have been interested particularly in how a residentially-based broad-based educational model may be introduced, developing liberal arts education for the 21st century, contextualised to Asia," he noted.

Prof Tan added that the NUS team led by Prof Lily Kong, Vice President (University and Global Relations), would continue to work with Yale colleagues on the details of the landmark collaboration.



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