Closing Ceremony: Dialogue with Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Mr. Bilahari Kausikan and Dr. Bilveer Sing
By Adiba, Press Editor
In Singapore Model United Nations (SMUN) 2021 delegates have spent the past four days negotiating and discussing foreign affairs topics amongst themselves. Aptly, the closing ceremony hosted a Dialogue Session: Paradigm Shifts in Singapore’s Foreign Relations between Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University; Mr. Bilahari Kausikan, Chairman of the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore; and Dr. Bilveer Singh, Associate Professor at the Department of Political Sciences, National University of Singapore. This interactive discussion is hosted by SMUN Secretary-General herself Ms. Valen Yo.
This discussion commenced with a question posed by Ms. Valen Yo regarding potential challenges for Singapore’s foreign policy, especially considering the recent Covid-19 developments. The dialogue continued to discuss potential challenges for Singapore in the following years.
Ambassador Ong brought up the importance of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in regional progress through diplomacy. Mr. Kausikan also reminded the participants of the importance of prioritizing national interests in the international arena above “playing sides”.
Panelists highlighted the necessity of creating a favorable atmosphere both domestically and between countries in order to advance international cooperation.
Before concluding the dialogue, the panelists reminded participants of the importance of fostering greater national unity amid rising politicisation of foreign policy topics. Ambassador Ong recommended the teaching of international relations to be extended to younger students in order to develop a more well-informed populace.