The Prince of Wales and Celebrities Honor Winners of the Singapore Prize

The Singapore Prize is a biennial award that honors outstanding published works in the island nation’s four official languages of Chinese, English, Malay, and Tamil. The awards are administered by the National Book Development Council Singapore. Winners are honored across 12 categories that recognize authors who demonstrate the mindsets and values of Singapore: equality, diversity, religious harmony, meritocracy, and pragmatism.

An Indian maker of solar-powered dryers, a soil carbon marketplace and groups that work to make electric car batteries cleaner, restore Andean forests and deter illegal fishing were among the winners of this year’s Singapore Prize. Britain’s Prince William, whose Royal Foundation charity launched the prize in 2020, said the solutions presented by all 15 finalists proved that “hope does remain” as the devastating effects of climate change are felt around the world.

Celebrities, including actresses Cate Blanchett and Donnie Yen, actor Nomzano Mbatha and Australian wildlife conservationist Robert Irwin, joined the prince for a star-studded ceremony at Mediacorp’s The Theatre at the Carlton. They walked a green carpet that was designed to reflect the theme of “earth” for this year’s event.

A total of 192 titles were submitted for this year’s contest. That’s 32 fewer than the number that were sent in during the previous contest. Organizers say the lower submission level reflects the pandemic and a decline in global publishing activity.

In his speech, the prince said the prize’s name – which was inspired by President John F Kennedy’s “moonshot” speech of 1962 that challenged Americans to reach the moon by the end of that decade – was meant to be a reminder that great accomplishments are possible when people come together for common goals. The prince added that he is happy to be in Singapore for this year’s award because it shows that the “innovation spirit” is alive and well.

He praised Singapore for its efforts to become an international hub of technology and entrepreneurship, adding that the country is leading the world in advancing clean energy. He also noted that this is the first time the award has been held in Asia, and he looked forward to coming back for future ceremonies. He will meet Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana during his four-day visit. He will then fly to Hong Kong for an awards ceremony for the Asian Cities Innovation Prize, which honours cities that show foresight and good governance in tackling urban challenges that are global in nature. The prize is supported by the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize. The winner will be announced in June. The prize’s partners are the OECD, the UN Environment Program and the UN-Habitat. The winner will be able to use the prize money to accelerate their solution to a more sustainable and resilient society. The other finalists are GRST, Boomitra and S4S Technologies. They will receive a prize of up to $1 million each to scale their solution. The runner-ups will receive up to $200,000 each to accelerate their solution.