The Singapore Prize honours cities that have demonstrated foresight, good governance and innovation in tackling their key urban challenges to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits. It is named after Singapore’s first Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who was instrumental in transforming his city-state into a clean and green garden city. The prize aims to inspire hope and optimism in the face of the global challenges we face, and to encourage the world to embrace innovation as a means to address these challenges.
The winners receive a grant of S$1 million to support their work, and the opportunity to showcase their project at a global forum. They also gain access to a network of philanthropists, business leaders and experts from around the world to help them grow their initiatives. The prize is one of the most prestigious in Southeast Asia, and the only one to be co-organised by Singapore’s government and private sector agencies.
This year, the prize will be awarded to five winning projects developing solutions for environmental problems. The prizes will be presented on November 7 at a ceremony in Singapore. Prince William, who founded the awards in 2020, said they were designed to show that solutions to climate change and other urgent environmental issues are already available. He will visit the region to meet the award finalists and to learn about their work.
A number of books about Singapore have been shortlisted for the prize. These include “Singapore: A Biography” by Kwa Chong, and the 2024 winner, Hidayah Amin’s Leluhur: The History of Kampong Gelam. Her book traces the evolution of the area through changes to the country’s economy, politics and society. In addition, it synthesises 25 years of archaeological research to reconstruct the 14th-century port.
Other Singapore-based book projects on the shortlist this year are “The Landmarks Of Singapore” by James Loh and “Singapore And The Silk Road Of The Sea, 1300-1800” by John Miksic, both published by NUS Press. Loh’s is an illustrated history of the nation that spans its illustrious political, cultural and social history. His book is a must-read for anyone interested in Singapore.
In other news, the winner of this year’s Singapore Prize is Accion Andina, a community-based initiative that works across South America to protect native high Andean forest ecosystems for the benefit of nature and millions of people in the region. They were recognised for their commitment to preserving the biodiversity of these forests and for demonstrating that sustainable development can coexist with a healthy natural environment. The finalists were chosen from a long list of entries submitted to NUS for the prize. NUS says it received “over a hundred submissions from across the globe”. The winner will be announced on October 31. The prize will be awarded in partnership with the United Nations Foundation and the Singapore International Foundation. The event is free to attend, but advance registration is required. More information is available here. The winners will be honoured at an event in November in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.