With a total land area of just around 720 square kilometres, the responsibility of deciding how to use the limited land we have falls on the lap of Ministry of National Development (MND). By developing world-class infrastructure, creating a sustainable living environment, and building cohesive communities, MND aims to go beyond the physical and create a home that is close to the heart of Singaporeans.
Set up in 2008 by MND and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC) plays an instrumental role of providing city leaders and allied professionals with the knowledge and support to make Singapore a better city to live in. One of the people behind this important work is 44-year-old Dinesh Naidu, the Deputy Director of the Centre’s Knowledge Platforms team and a recipient of the MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholarship.
Passionate about helping to make improvements to the way society functions, Dinesh’s role in CLC is a perfect fit. “Our team curates and presents valuable knowledge to our target audiences through conferences, magazines, and other platforms. These platforms are also opportunities to cultivate strong partners and networks that can benefit the Centre for Liveable Cities, and Singapore,” he explains. Dinesh and his team are now in the midst of preparing for the World Cities Summit Mayors Forum and Young Leaders Symposium, both of which will be held in Medellín, Colombia in July this year.
Knowledge Platforms – Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC)
Masters of Public Management,
Lew Kuan Yew School of Public Policy – National University of Singapore
“It is an exciting event that brings together city leaders and related organisations from around the world to discuss how to build high-trust cities,” he says, adding that it would also be an opportunity to learn from the inspiring urban transformation of Medellín, the winner of the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in 2016.
Coming Back Stronger
Dinesh had been a part of the team at CLC for five years before taking up the MND EDGE Postgraduate Scholarship in 2016, which gave him the opportunity to do a master’s degree in public management at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
On top of full salary and employee benefits, the scholarship also covered Dinesh’s course and related fees, including travel expenses and living allowance during his four-month exchange programme in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“As a mid-career MND officer with family commitments, the scholarship gave me the freedom and security to take a year-long sabbatical, before returning to a workplace that I love,” Dinesh shares.
Dinesh’s year off from regular work was no doubt a productive one, during which he picked up invaluable knowledge that proved to be useful when he returned to his team after completing his studies in July last year. In a focused communications class he took, for example, he learnt practical lessons on how to develop and pitch op-ed articles to newspapers – a skill that is directly relevant to his role, he said.
Being exposed to ideas like Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’ in school also helped him to think about how to organise and manage his team’s work more effectively, added Dinesh.
Full Of Life
As Singapore looks to develop further, new urban challenges emerge all the time. CLC has to match up constantly by creating and sharing knowledge that would help leaders to deal with these issues. Its dynamic team is always up for the challenge.
“There is a lot of energy and a sense of excitement,” Dinesh explains. “Our culture, as well as leadership, is experimental, entrepreneurial and youthful.
For those looking to take on the MND EDGE Undergraduate Scholarship and join vibrant, talented teams like Dinesh’s, the key is to maximise the experience and make the most out of it. The MND EDGE Scholarship offers plenty of opportunities. Plan your period of study carefully, the courses or classes you will take, where you will live or study, and how you will spend your free time and vacations,” he concludes.