Essay on Singapore and the U.S. Wins 2014 Trans-Pacific Student Contest

May 21, 2014

Photo of Singapore postcard by Michael Schneider and photo of Staten Island Ferry postcard by Adam79 (www.flickr.com) (CC)

In the second annual Trans-Pacific Student Contest, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs challenged American and East Asian students to partner together and submit a joint essay or video to answer this question:

What are current or historical developments in your home country that illustrate shared or different values between you and your contest partner's country? What are current or historical developments in your home country that illustrate shared or different values between you and your contest partner's country? 

The winning entry came from Salina Lee (USA) and Nelson Chew (Singapore). Entitled "The Little Red Dot and the Land of the Free: Singapore and the United States," it is written as a seemingly light-hearted conversation between two good friends on a sightseeing trip in New York Harbor. Yet the essay goes deeper, looking at serious topics that concern both nations: civil liberties, education methods, and race.

As the writers put it, "Who would have guessed that an exchange between a Singaporean and an American would offer insights on the subtle connections that make two vastly different countries so very comparable."

This contest is part of Ethics for a Connected World, a three-year global education project to mark the Council's 2014 Centennial. The winners will receive a trip to New York City to attend the Council Global Ethics Network Annual Meeting in October 2014 and will give a presentation on their work.

The contest was made possible by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, established in 1936 by the late Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Time Inc., to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The Foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious, and art communities.