​​Speech by NTU President Professor Subra Suresh at Nanyang Arts Festival 2018 Launch

Published on: 02-Feb-2018

Speech by

Professor Subra Suresh
President, Nanyang Technological University 


Canopy Stage
2 February 2018, 12.15pm

Ms Eng Shuo Ying, President, Cultural Activities Club 

Ms Jasmine Lim, Nanyang Arts Festival (Director), Cultural Activities Club



Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. I am delighted to be here today. I would like to thank the student organisers for inviting me to this launch of the Nanyang Arts Festival 2018. 

The most important part of any university is to engage the students. The emcee had said that I’ve worked in academia, industry and government. Nothing is more fun than being in academia and being with students. 

I am even more delighted to learn how far the Nanyang Arts Festival has come from its humble beginnings. What began as a modest cultural festival 15 years ago aimed at promoting culture and the performing arts on campus has now become a vibrant showcase of performing and visual arts by individuals and groups of students. My aspiration for the Nanyang Arts Festival is that it will eventually grow to become a highlight in Singapore’s arts calendar, well beyond our campus, so our NTU students can present their talents to the wider public.  

Spanning three months from February to April, the Festival promises an exciting and diverse range of events and activities, including arts performances, and many more. One of the highlights that I look forward to this year, is the painting of the wall murals by 16 academic clubs, NTU Student’s Union, Cultural Activities Club, Welfare Services Club and Sports Club. These murals, which will be unveiled on 9 Feb 2018, will transform the busy thoroughfare outside the Nanyang Auditorium into a colourful walkway!

Looking through the festival calendar, I was pleasantly surprised that there are also workshops on terrarium-building, 3D printing and robotics. Art no longer involves humans; it also involves technology and objects. One of the nice things about the arts festival is that it injects humanity into non-human things, and hopefully use non-human objects to enhance humanity. 

Even though I am an engineer by training, I have always been interested in creative and artistic work. Creative self-expression and developing an appreciation for the arts contribute to a holistic education. There is a lot of discussion taking place all over the world on what makes an educated person in the 21st century. If you ask for my personal opinion, an educated person is not just someone who has a degree in engineering science, business or something else, but also has an appreciation for arts, culture, languages and other pursuits that push the boundaries of human intellect. 

As a student on this cosmopolitan campus in multicultural Singapore, you have no lack of opportunities to pursue diverse interests, dive into other fields of study and learn about other cultures and societies. 

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, we will shortly have a lo-hei, or prosperity toss. This is a significant moment. Even though I’ve watched New Year celebrations from far away, this is the first time I’ve had to experience this unique tradition locally. 

I had very much wanted to participate last week at the the students’ Lunar New Year celebration. Unfortunately the event coincided with the World Economic Forum at Davos, an annual gathering of policymakers, political figures, business leaders and civil society leaders discussing ideas and issues. 

In closing, I thank the organisers for what you have planned to bring this arts festival to the NTU campus. I urge all of you to participate in the events and activities that the organisers have planned. I wish the organisers, performers and all NTU students a wonderful experience during the Nanyang Arts Festival 2018. I wish the organisers success, and more importantly, I wish all of you a Very Happy Lunar New Year in advance.

Thank you.

Back to listing

Share Article