Close to 140 Sikhs and non-Sikhs came to hear the MP for Toa Payoh, GRC Mr Davinder Singh, speak on “The New World Order: Are Singaporeans Really Prepared?” at the inaugural Khwaish Lecture by YSA on 14 August 2004, at Hilton Singapore. This officially launched the Khwaish Lecture Series. The word Khwaish means aspiration or hope in Punjabi. During his address, Mr Davinder equated the New World Order with globalisation and focussed on two specific issues. First, the availability, as a result of globalisation, of talent on tap and second, the critical role foreign talent plays in sharpening a country’s competitive edge. Nations that have embraced such talents, such as the United States, have made great progress. Whilst he understood the emotional reaction to international talent, he reassured the participants that this fear was unfounded. Singapore stood to gain as a country and as an economy for adopting an open policy towards international talent.

The timing of the launch of the Khwaish Lecture series could not have been more appropriate. At the swearing in ceremony two days earlier, Singapore’s new Prime Minister Mr Lee Hsien Loong called upon young Singaporeans to be actively involved in shaping Singapore’s future. He also expressed the importance of being in tune with the aspiration of the young in the post-independences generation. The Khwaish Lecture series can be seen as an YSA’s spontaneous response to the call to Singapore’s youths by Mr Lee’s government.

Under this Khwaish Lecture initiative, YSA will invite eminent and distinguished personalities from Singapore and overseas to speak on local and international affairs. It hopes to provide the platform for young Sikhs in Singapore, in particular, to gain a further understanding of local, regional and global issues and developments. Through this lecture series, the Association wants to offer young Sikhs the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations to become informed and knowledgeable global citizens.

Following this inaugural lecture, YSA plans to organise similar lectures at regular intervals or as and when there are relevant developments and events taking place in Singapore, the region or the rest of the world.

The First Khwaish Lecture was supported by the Lee Foundation and a Youth Development Fund grant from the National Youth Council.

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