NUS Press Book on the Singapore Prize

During the visit, which will run through May and June, William will meet Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loon and other leaders, and try his hand at dragon boating and other sports. He will also learn about how the country’s residents and businesses are protecting wildlife, and addressing climate change. The heir to the British throne is visiting as part of his Earthshot Prize, which he and his Royal Foundation charity launched in 2020 to promote solutions for environmental problems such as global warming.

Besides the main prizes, which are given out at a ceremony, there are three merit awards and five commendations that will be announced in the same program. These winners will receive a cash award of $10,000 each, while the winner of the Best Debut award will get $25,000.

The prize’s judging committee will consist of NUS Asia Research Institute distinguished fellow Kishore Mahbubani; historian Prof John Miksic; arts and literary figure Beatrice Chong; curator Suhaili Osman; and educator and playwright Alfian Sa’at. The committee reviewed 31 books before selecting the final list of nominees. Mahbubani, who mooted the idea for the prize in a Straits Times column, said he wanted to highlight the importance of history as a shared imagination for societies. “The famous American social scientist Benedict Anderson wrote that nations are essentially ‘imagined communities,’ and history is an essential glue that holds them together,” he added.

NUS Press will publish the book on Singapore’s ancient artefacts, and will work with Professor Miksic to set up a website about them. NUS is the founding sponsor of the prize, which is a joint initiative of the National Heritage Board and the Singapore Academy of Sciences.

Other NUS Press publications that won awards include a book on the Singapore River and a collection of essays by local authors. They will be available in bookstores and online next month.

Prof Miksic, who was born in Slovenia and studied in Germany, is a leading expert on Southeast Asian archaeology. He joined NUS’ Department of History in 1984 and has participated in excavations at Fort Canning, Empress Place, and Old Parliament House. He was one of the founders of the archaeological journal Asiatische Studien and was a director of the Museum of Comparative Oriental Studies in Heidelberg, Germany, before joining NUS.

He moved to Singapore in 1998, and now works at the NUS Department of Southeast Asian Studies. He has written extensively on the cultures of the region, and his book The Singapore Story: Towards a Nation is a comprehensive narrative history of the city-state. He is the author of several other books and has curated exhibitions on Singapore history. He has also conducted workshops for teachers and students. Prof Miksic is a member of the council of NUS and a senior fellow at the Asia Research Institute. He is a member of the jury for the 2024 NUS Singapore History Prize.