Issue 127, October 2013
NTU hosts World Cultural Council awards and World Academic Summit
WCC honours three leading scholars and artists; academic leaders gather for inaugural summit

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) hosted two prestigious events from 2 to 4 October – the World Cultural Council (WCC)’s 30th Award Ceremony and the World Academic Summit (WAS). These events brought into focus the outstanding achievements of the world’s best and most creative minds, and brought together leaders and decision-makers from around the world to discuss the opportunities and challenges related to the development of future research and innovation. 

Three leading scholars and artists were honoured at the WCC Award Ceremony on 2 October. The WCC, a Mexico-based international organisation that promotes academic achievement, presented its Albert Einstein World Award of Science to Professor Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society (United Kingdom), and the Leonardo da Vinci Award of Arts to Professor Petteri Nisunen and Mr Tommi Gronlund in a ceremony on NTU's campus, which was graced by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education. 

Each year, the WCC chooses two leading scholars from around the world – one in the field of science and the second, in alternate years, either in arts or education – whose work benefits society. The WCC selects a university to host the annual awards celebration. 

This is the first time in the 30-year history of the ceremonies that the council's awards committee selected a Singapore university to host these Awards, and to present the Albert Einstein and Leonardo da Vinci Awards together for the first time in Asia. 

Singapore was also the first to host the inaugural World Academic Summit, which NTU is co-organising with Times Higher Education. The Summit, which featured a slate of high profile speakers including Mr S R Nathan, former President of the Republic of Singapore; Dr Marcus Storch, former chairman of the Nobel Foundation and Lord David Puttnam of Queensgate, the Oscar-winning producer of the film ‘Chariots of Fire’, focused on the economic role of universities as key partners of commerce and industry, and in particular, what universities can do in fuelling the future knowledge economy. 

The Presidents of world-leading universities – including Sir Keith O'Nions, President and Rector of Imperial College London, Professor Tony Chan from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Professor Edward Byrne of Monash University and Professor Oh Yeon Cheon from Seoul National University – as well as Dr Jean-Lou Chameau, former President of Caltech and now President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, also participated as speakers and panelists.

More than 200 outstanding global thought leaders from industry, government, higher education and research from over 25 countries attended the World Academic Summit to explore the fundamental role that world-class research universities play in pushing the boundaries of our collective understanding and fuelling the future knowledge economy.

The timely and important topics which were discussed at the Summit included: collaborating across national borders to tackle the world’s grand challenges and the role of the private sector in supporting and delivering world-class research, as well as nurturing top talent in the face of an uncertain future. 

The official worldwide launch of the 2013-14 Times Higher Education World University Rankings was also held in conjunction with the Summit and a master class on ranking methodology and performance trends was conducted by THE Rankings editor and Mr Simon Pratt of Thomson Reuters.

Prior to the WCC Award Ceremony, Professor Sir Paul Nurse, Professor Petteri Nisunen and Mr Tommi Gronlund shared perspectives on their work in public lectures. Prof Nurse's lecture was on ‘Controlling the Cell Cycle’, whilst Prof Nisunen and Mr Gronlund spoke on the topic ‘Sites, Senses and Synergies: Selected Works 1993-2013’. In addition, Prof Fischer, Nobel Laureate for Physiology/Medicine (1992) and President of the WCC, and Prof Colin Blakemore, professor of neuroscience and philosophy at the University of London and Vice President of WCC, also delivered public lectures related to their research fields.

© Alumni Affairs Office