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Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy


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At Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy Executive Education, we empower leaders with the skills to thrive in a complex, fast-changing world. Our programs encourage critical reflection, impact valuable knowledge about governance and policymaking, and create opportunities for learning across departmental boundaries and intellectual disciplines. Our diverse and international faculty helps to equip individuals and organizations with multiple perspectives to make sense of the complexity they face. By integrating theory and practice, we help them achieve a deeper understanding of how they can be more effective managers, leaders, and changemakers.
Students and faculty of the School enjoy a campus environment at Bukit Timah, second to none in Singapore. Classrooms, research rooms, and study spaces nestle in a parkland renowned for its beauty and serenity. The garden-like campus, with its vibrant green variations from over 60 species of flowering trees and shrubs, is spread over sloping lawns and grassy quadrangles, interspersed with pristine white colonial-era architecture in the neo-classical style. Here and there, low colonial villas lay in the shade of spreading branches, half-hidden in the rise and dip of the landscape, inviting the visitor to step into a world of learning. They serve as home to think-tanks and generate strategic research on contemporary issues, from international law to Asian regional developments, from social policies to economic growth and water management.
Everywhere, students, faculty, and visitors alike can claim a tranquil corner to study, reflect, or daydream or play a computer game and have an unhurried phone conversation. Not to mention for class discussions and more boisterous camaraderie. The campus, shared today by the School and the National University of Singapore ( NUS )’s Law faculty, lie cheek by jowl with the sprawling world-famous Singapore Botanic Garden, with its unrivaled array of rare and splendid botany, its lakes, paths, lawns and sheltering trellis, scents, birds, and flowers. Indeed, the transition from campus to Garden and back is borderless, the one merging into the other. What sets the campus apart from the Garden are the white buildings referred to earlier. The main structures date to the third decade of the 20th century, when Raffles College, the original predecessor of NUS, was founded in 1928 as the first tertiary institution of learning for Singapore and Malaya colonial Great Britain. In 1949, Raffles College became the University of Malaya, before being transformed, in 1962, into the University of Singapore, still housed on the Bukit Timah campus. It was only in 1986, with the burgeoning need for higher education to meet the demands of a rapidly developing Singapore, that the University of Singapore outgrew the campus and moved to its current site at Kent Ridge.
The earliest buildings have all been wonderfully preserved, redolent of a more leisurely time with their manicured green quadrangles and cloistered corridors, inspired by older European halls of learning. They are now protected under the law as national monuments. During the later era of expansion in the 1950s and 60s, newer buildings such as the Tower Block and Block B were erected, blending seamlessly with the older buildings thanks to a similarity in architectural sobriety and simplicity. In the 21st century, all the buildings are well equipped for use as modern classrooms and lecture halls, incorporating the latest technology, easily accessible to the physically disabled.
Students today remain as attached and inspired as the first generations to this cradle of learning and scholarship. They partake of a living legacy, where, on a quiet late afternoon, when shadows are long, the sounds of students playing Frisby in the quadrangles ring with the echoes of old ghosts who were once as young and sturdy, their future as bright with promise. Through these halls have passed students such as Singapore’s first two Prime Ministers, a former Prime Minister of Malaysia, a former Vice-Chancellor of Hong Kong University, and innumerable others who went on to travel their chosen paths. Classroom diversity is a critical feature of our programs. International students make up about 80% of the cohort. This is intentional, to inculcate a classroom representative of the global environment. We envision our students to graduate and move on to a career of an international nature, working side-by-side with colleagues of diverse backgrounds and nationalities.
Students from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy also bring back with them an Education in Public Policy that enables them to improve the lives of others in Asia and beyond. These stories are best told from the students’ perspectives, experiences, and photos. Leaders in government, business, and non-profit institutions are often expected to make quick decisions under conditions of uncertainty – often with incomplete information. While relying on their heuristics and their organizations’ routines may work well in stable contexts, in less predictable settings, these mental shortcuts often lead to misdiagnoses and poor decisions.

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