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Speech by Professor Chan Heng Chee, Chairman of the National Arts Council and Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities at the Beethoven Official Unveiling Ceremony at SUTD

19 Oct 2016

Dr Klaus Engel
Mr Lee Tzu Yang
Prof Tom Magnanti
Mr Markus Lupertz
Prof Smerling
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
I am delighted to be present today wearing the hat of the Chairman of the National Arts Council and as Chairman of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities at this presentation of a bronze statue of Beethoven to SUTD. I join President Magnanti to thank Evonik Industries for this inspired gift. It speaks of the enlightened leadership of Evonik. Your policy of support of the arts in regions where you do business is admirable and as the NAC chair, I thank you for that.
 
The juxtaposition or Art with Science and Technology is now generally recognized to be important to stimulate innovative and creative thinking. Richard Florida and a tribe of urbanists have suggested that cities that wish to attract the innovative class must bring the arts and arts infrastructure into the city. And we know Steve Jobs created such elegant Apple tablets because he did a course in calligraphy and manuscript writing. At the level of research and pedagogy at SUTD we emphasise a multidisciplinary approach bringing the humanities and social sciences together with engineering and science believing this will produce technology products and solutions that are better suited for people and communities.
 
The statute of Ludwig van Beethoven, beautifully sculpted by Mr Lupertz, is of special meaning to us. In SUTD we are always reaching out to understand innovation and the creative process. The lessons of the genius Beethoven for our students as they reflect on his life are many. Beethoven did not let adversity arrest his creativity. He turned his deafness into a source of strength. Silence created the space for ideas and the sublime music to emerge.
 
Dr Engel and Mr Lupertz, you should be proud that this beautiful piece of art join other pieces of quality art in SUTD, quality in execution and quality in what and who they represent. We began with the four Ming and Ching pavilions standing on the lawn in the midst of the campus as installations. There is also a bronze bust of Mr Lee Kuan Yew which is in the lobby of the Lee Kuan Yew Center for Innovative Cities on the campus.  From today, Beethoven is with us. Together these art pieces create an environment which exposes our students to standards of quality and challenge them to reach the same.
 
Finally let me touch on the cultural connection and dialogue that Dr Engel spoke about very eloquently. What we see at this ceremony is another step to strengthen the German -Singapore connection which has been nurtured by German companies in Singapore and which as a country we deeply appreciate. We will continue this cultural exchange. In fact at SUTD we have been receiving German delegations who wish to talk about cities and urban solutions. In December this year, the LKY CIC will send a delegation of three invited by the State Secretary of the  Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety ---- to attend the Smart Cities Forum in Berlin.

We look forward to the continuation of the dialogue you so warmly wish for.