This last week has brought with it a growing sense of optimism as the vaccination programme starts to roll out in earnest across essential services in Singapore, including for our College staff. With it comes a real sense of hope for our spring and summer, albeit tempered with caution since we are nowhere near clear of a pandemic that has taken nearly 2.2 million lives around the globe.
The offer of a vaccination to our staff doesn’t yet meet the needs of many in our community who are hoping to travel this summer to reconnect with loved ones across the world, given that vaccinations are not approved for under 16’s in Singapore. But I hope that this gradual change will nonetheless start to ease some of the stresses our community and our loved ones are all under, at this time of continuing uncertainty and disruption.
The second reason I have found to be hopeful this week is that there are inklings of a return to global cooperation, and international partnerships, as we address the shared challenges of our age, which demand of us commitment to shared solutions. So much about the future is unknowable, but we know there are versions of that future which are brighter and fairer than the circumstances in which we currently find ourselves. And every single one of us can play a part in creating that better world.
It was therefore heartening to see this news report and President Joe Biden’s invitation to 40 world leaders, including Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee, to attend the White House-convened Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021, a summit which will underscore the urgency – and the economic benefits – of stronger climate action. This will be a key milestone on the road to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) this November in Glasgow.
It is great to see that Singapore’s commitment, expressed in the recent Green Plan 2030, is being recognised at the highest level through the nation’s inclusion in these important talks. As the world seeks to embrace the opportunity to re-build trust and understanding, and to shape, accelerate and deepen global efforts to address the climate crisis, it is fitting that this renewed global effort, ever more urgent, is coming to a head during UWCSEA’s 50th anniversary year (2021/2022) as we, and the rest of the UWC movement, reaffirm our mission, and our commitment to education as a force to drive a sustainable future.