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The Tanoto Scholars Annual Networking (TSAN 2020) was held virtually for the first time in observance of safe distancing measures. However, that did not deter 53 Tanoto Scholars and Alumni from attending the event and engaging in dialogue with Tanoto Foundation staff and the event’s distinguished guest Minister of State for Home Affairs as well as for Sustainability and the Environment, Desmond Tan.
Into its tenth year, TSAN 2020 kicked off with an address by Tanoto Foundation’s Board of Trustees member Imelda Tanoto, who rallied the scholars in attendance to seize the opportunity to lead and learn. Ms Tanoto shared that Tanoto Scholars earned their scholarships because of their character, merit and potential, and that circumstances like the pandemic should never be reasons to stop one’s learning and development.
The Tanoto Scholars hailed from Singapore universities namely National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University. These scholars are pursuing a range of tracks that include medicine, business management, law, economics, communication studies, information systems, computer science, aerospace engineering, information engineering, design and media. They were joined by 10 alumni who helped facilitate the breakout sessions at the end of the event.
As with previous TSAN instalments, the theme of leadership continued to hold relevance for its participants in the 21 Dec 2020 event. Tanoto Foundation Global CEO Dr Satrijo Tanudjojo touched on the importance of humility as a necessary virtue in leaders, and explained the characteristics that differentiated those with growth mindsets from those with fixed mindsets. He further encouraged the scholars to embrace curiosity, humility and the willingness to continuously learn.
MOS Desmond Tan later expounded on Dr Satrijo’s point on humility, defining humility as “not about thinking lesser of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” He shared his experiences in the Singapore Armed Forces and later in politics, and emphasized the importance of walking the ground so as to develop a stronger understanding so that one could serve better.
Mr Desmond Tan later acknowledged the efforts and dedication of the Tanoto Scholars in following their calling, adding, “Whichever industry you are in, you have a role to play because of the people who have brought you to where you are today, and the people that you will continue to serve… Stay hungry. Stay curious. Stay humble. Stay human – exercise your compassion and do your best for the people around you.”
Participants later joined breakout sessions to interact with alumni and Tanoto Foundation staff. The conversations covered a variety of topics that also included career development, the Tanoto Scholar-led community service initiative Project Sukacita which could not be carried out this year, Tanoto Foundation’s work in human capital development, and RGE’s sustainability commitments.
TSAN 2020 wrapped with excitement and hope that not only there may be a face-to-face meeting in next year’s instalment, but the continuation of Project Sukacita to benefit the communities in Pangkalan Kerinci.