For the mandarin version of the story, you can view the Alumni Commemorative Book.A mediator by nature if not by training, Mr Wang Kejian has worked ceaselessly to strengthen the relationship between LKYSPP alumni in Beijing and Singapore.
"My time at LKYSPP cemented my belief that cultural exchange is still the only way to foster a successful partnership between two countries."
On stage with then President Tony Tan (second from left) at NUS Commencement in 2014
Wang Kejian is no stranger to official roles requiring a certain amount of presence and leadership. As the current chairman of City Construction Press (城市建设杂志社), Kejian naturally stood out from the rest of the field when LKYSPP Alumni Beijing Chapter was searching for a new president in 2016. “I was appointed by the Dean [of LKYSPP] after being recommended by my peers,” he recalls.
NUS Alumni Beijing Chapter President Wang Kejian speaking at the 2017 annual meeting for members of the Southeast Asia and South Asia Association of Western Returned Scholars Association (Overseas-educated Scholars Association of China) and the NUS Alumni Beijing Chapter.
Since becoming president, Kejian has overseen a remarkable expansion in the Chapter’s membership. “We now have a greater number of active members with increasingly diverse backgrounds and profiles,” he enthuses. “Our younger members have also gradually begun to assume key roles in the Chapter”.
This infusion of new blood has been accompanied by a proportionate increase in the range of the Chapter’s activities under Kejian’s stewardship. Activities now range from conferences and summits to cultural exchanges and contributions to academic journals.
Kejian is particularly proud of hosting conferences about the Chinese government’s ground-breaking Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is particularly because discussions were taking place between disparate parties like the Southeast and South Asian Chapters of the European and American Alumni Association and the National University of Singapore’s Beijing Alumni Association.
Having lived in both Beijing and Singapore, Kejian has brought his knowledge of each city’s inner workings to his role as Chapter President, promoting closer ties between the cities’ respective LKYSPP alumni associations.
Frequent collaborations and intellectual dialogue constitute the main thrust of Kejian’s bilateral approach, but he has not neglected the aspect of giving back to his alma mater either: “We are going to continue working hard to perfect the platform for exchange and cooperation between us and our Singaporean counterpart,”Kejian shares. “Encouraging more Chinese students to enrol at LKYSPP and boosting the School’s international student community is definitely on our agenda”.
Outside the HQ of Western Returned Scholars Association (Overseas-educated Scholars Association of China).
It has not always been smooth-sailing for Kejian. Being based in the capital of a country which constantly implements new reforms at a breakneck pace has its perks, but also requires adaptability and resilience in order not to be left behind. Kejian recognises that the Beijing Alumni Chapter cannot afford to rest on its laurels and needs to evolve more holistically, be it in aspects of culture, economics or diplomacy: “Given the reach and resources of the BRI, as well as the high-level agreements between the Chinese and Singaporean governments, I think our Chapter should adjust its strategy and grasp the prime opportunity that the BRI represents,” he suggests.
Kejian’s dedication and passion to expand the ambit of the Beijing Alumni Chapter is drawn from the support of his fellow alumni, as well as his sincere gratitude towards his alma mater. He looks back on his days at LKYSPP fondly, recalling how he used to organise various conferences with his instructors and course mates. The subject matters of those sessions continue to resonate even today, with his work in media
He muses: “I was constantly impressed by the high academic calibre of my instructors and the beautiful school campus,” Kejian says. “It also didn’t hurt that Singapore is one of the most well-governed and well-managed cities in the world”. He goes on to add that even after graduation, the LKYSPP faculty continues to support its overseas alumni in multiple ways, citing a conference held in Beijing that several faculty members visited
to share their knowledge and expertise.
When asked about his advice for fellow LKYSPP alumni, Kejian grows reflective. “As alumni of LKYSPP, we should preserve the traditional ties between the people of China
and Singapore, as well as continue to shine in our various fields so as to bring glory to both our nations and our alma mater."