Provost

EDUCATION IN MANAGEMENT AND THE LIBERAL ARTS: NEVER THE TWAIN SHALL MEET?

The Business Times, 23 September 2015
In a special feature, SMU Provost Professor Lily Kong highlighted the importance of integrating humanities (and social sciences) into business management education, noting that SMU, from inception, has demonstrated a commitment to broad-based learning and multi-disciplinary learning, critical thinking, and emphasis on communicative abilities whilst delivering in-depth education in a specialised field. Professor Kong also discussed the value of cross-cultural communications and cultural awareness, citing several modules which SMU offers to enable students to communicate and negotiate effectively with key international stakeholders. She added that graduates with a broad-based education are more likely to display versatility and be articulate and knowledgeable in diverse subjects, hence making them more sought after in the market. Professor Kong expressed her wish to add to the SMU curriculum more humanities modules in the years ahead as she believes that a management university with a curriculum that combines specialisation with the holistic and broad-based approach of the liberal arts may best-serve the future needs of Singapore, stressing that SMU takes the lead in this.
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RELIGIOUS COMPETITION: HOW TO KEEP THE GOOD, MINIMISE THE BAD

The Straits Times, 23 September 2016
Professor Kong discussed the pros and cons of religious competition and the challenges of building resilience in a multi-religious society. While Prof Kong acknowledged that religious competition can degenerate into disruptive conflict and destabilising violence, she pointed out that it is important to remember that religious competition can also have positive consequences. “It opens up religious choice for individuals. It has the potential to augment social welfare, for example, through the increased provision of psychological and social support services through religious networks,” she said. Prof Kong shared her views on the relation between globalisation and religious change. She observed that globalisation has reinforced and deepened religious consciousness, rather than diminished it. She noted that that growing migration has resulted in a significantly more plural religious demography in many parts of the world, adding that new technologies greatly enhance the ability of religious groups to disseminate religious messages and religious content widely and rapidly. Lastly, Prof Kong discussed the topic of building resilience in Singapore. She stressed that the protection and resilience we require rely on the ability of a people to absorb, adapt to or mitigate the influence of negative stressors, including any conflict and violence resulting from religious competition, and relating – even in misled and misinterpreted ways – to religious beliefs. She highlighted that resilience in a multi-religious society comes from trust within and between religious groups, and between religious and secular groups. “These ties take time to build, and require us to have a common understanding of what challenges we face, a willingness to think about them together, and a healthy discourse about how to address them. They also require an openness to the commonality of beliefs and values, even practices, across religions, and between religion and secular morality,” she added.

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Last updated on 28 Sep 2016.