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54th Appeal of Conscience Foundation Awards Dinner Press Conference

Rabbi Schneier, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank the Rabbi and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation for the honour of being conferred the World Statesman Award. I’d also like to thank Dr Henry Kissinger who would be reading the citation this evening. And also to congratulate the other recipients – Mr Timotheus Höttges, Mr Stephen Ross, and Ms Susan Wojcicki. My award recognises Singapore’s longstanding efforts to foster racial and religious harmony, understanding, and tolerance among our population, or as Rabbi says, acceptance and mutual respect. This has been fundamental to our nationhood, and it is central to our system of government and our way of life. Very few countries today have homogenous populations all belonging to the same race, speaking the same language, and worshipping the same god. For most countries, maintaining harmonious racial and religious relations is a significant concern. Singapore is an extreme example, but we are determined to strengthen our harmony and cohesion, and fortunately, over the half century since independence, we have made progress. So tonight’s award is not just for me, but is a testament to the efforts of several enlightened generations of leaders, of civil society and of people in Singapore. So I hope that this award will encourage Singaporeans, and others too, to redouble their efforts, and help in a small way to bring about a less troubled and a more peaceful world. Thank you very much.


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