Former US President Barack Obama will arrive in Singapore this weekend to be the keynote speaker for the inaugural Education Benefit Gala. Held this Saturday at the Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore’s Grand Ballroom, the charity dinner aims to raise funds for four Singapore charities that support education and training for marginalised women and children from disadvantaged families.
After delivering his speech, Obama will also host a moderated conversation about the importance of education.
Beneficiaries of the gala include the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations Service Fund, Daughters Of Tomorrow, the Singapore Muslim Women’s Association, and Dreams Academy. Organisers Novena Global Lifecare estimate that the dinner will raise some S$5 million.
Nelson Loh, executive chairman and co-founder of the Dorr Group and Novena Global Lifecare, says: “In Singapore, our literacy rate is 97% — still, let’s not rest on our laurels as there is a minority who are marginalised and fall out of the system for various reasons.”
For the evening, a four-course dinner will be presented by not one, but four Michelin-starred chefs who have a collective 7 stars between them. Sebastien Lepinoy of the three-starred Les Amis, Tetsuya Wakuda of Waku Ghin, Cheung Siu Kong of Summer Pavillion, and Beppe de Vito of the ilLido Group will work together to curate the night’s dinner.
Obama was last in Singapore in March 2018 for a closed-door meeting with young Asean leaders.
Since stepping down from the presidency in 2017, Obama has been dedicating his time to his nonprofit organisation, the Obama Foundation, as well as his production company (which recently released a documentary on Netflix), Higher Ground Productions.
And though he might not be President any longer, he still speaks out about causes he’s passionate about. He recently met with Greta Thunberg, citing her as “an example of why (he) started the Obama Foundation”, and calling on Americans to vote in the coming presidential elections next year.
Amidst trying times like these, figures like Obama are an inspiring reminder that some good does remain in the world — and that good can start with us.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time,” said Obama in 2008, when he was still a senator.
“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”