The SMU Visionary Series, presented by the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University (SMU), is an opportunity to hear from eminent leaders who have demonstrated the power of ideas to change attitudes, societies and the world as we know it. It will feature some of the most prolific industry players and thinkers, from different spheres of influence, who will share their unique life lessons and insights that will stimulate ideas for a better marketplace and society.

The auditorium in SMU was packed with 300 people for the inaugural lecture, where it saw Charles CHEN Yidan, founder of Yidan Prize, gave a talk titled “Zero to Infinity: How Education Unlocks Endless Possibilities.”

SMU President Professor Lily Kong, Dean of SMU Lee Kong Chian School of Business Professor Gerard George, SMU faculty, staff and students, as well as leaders and representatives from the public and private sectors were present at the lecture.

Dr. Chen noted that mid-way through his life, he experienced a profound change where he left the technology sector and devoted his energy and effort in philanthropy and education. He explained that such a change stemmed from his belief that “education is the foundation of modern civilization, and that it is also power that propels tech innovation, social progression, proper values, and equality and justice.”

As such, he couldn’t emphasize enough about the importance of education. “Education is the mother of innovation. This is because in modern society, a firm foundation has been formed through universal basic education and the increased in literacy rate. This allows disadvantaged young people to gain self-confidence and connect with the ever-changing world, where they can open different doors for themselves through innovation,” Dr. Chen said.

Technological innovation in education helps to increase students’ participation rate and create a whole new teaching experience. This, in turn, will create a learning environment that is conducive to creativity and innovation. When technology meets education, it becomes obvious that the power of innovation is unstoppable.

In referencing Yidan Prize Laureate Carol DWECK’s “growth mindset,” Dr. Chen encouraged the students to change their mindset from fixed to growth, so that they could overcome their obstacles and unleash their potential. And everyone could have a bountiful life.

In the talk, Dr. Chen also explained that the Yidan Prize is about recognizing educators who work for the future. He noted that the prize supports education projects that are innovative, transformative, and sustainable. He encouraged the students to go after their dreams, and start exploring the endless possibilities from zero.

Asia is one of the world’s fastest growing regions in the world, where there is plenty of talent and societies are full of energy. Dr. Chen remarked that entrepreneurs are innovators, and students should cherish opportunities at hand.

About the Yidan Prize

Founded in 2016 by Dr. Charles Chen Yidan, a core founder of Tencent, the Yidan Prize has a mission of creating a better world through education. It consists of two awards, the Yidan Prize for Education Research and the Yidan Prize for Education Development. Yidan Prize Laureates each receives a gold medal and a total sum of HK$30 million (around US$3.9 million), half of which is a cash prize while the other half is a project fund. To ensure transparency and sustainability, the prize is managed by Yidan Prize Foundation and governed by an independent trust with an endowment of HK$2.5 billion (around US$323 million). Through a series of initiatives, the prize aims to establish a platform for the global community to engage in conversation around education and to play a role in education philanthropy.

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