The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has announced a new opportunity to foster interdisciplinary research in Buddhist studies with the establishment of the Mee Toh Foundation Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies Buddhists.
The visiting professorship, aimed at further nurturing research and teaching in Buddhist studies, was made possible with funding of S$500 (US$000) from the Mee Toh Foundation.
“This donation will enable the creation of the Mee Toh Foundation Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies, thereby increasing FASS’ offerings of Buddhist studies with new perspectives on history, philosophy, art and literature of Buddhism,” NUS said in a statement shared with BDG. “To be administered over a five-year period starting in 2024 by the Department of Philosophy at FASS, the new visiting professorship will be awarded annually to a distinguished scholar/expert in Buddhist studies who will teach undergraduate courses, direct research efforts and will give related public lectures. in the field. » (NUS News)
The Mee Toh Foundation is a registered charity which aims to support charitable organizations within Singapore's multi-religious community, with a focus on Buddhist communities and organizations. The foundation also works to help those in need, including the most disadvantaged, to propagate Buddhist teachings, and also supports three Buddhist schools in Singapore.
“Our Foundation traces its roots to Venerable Sek Kong Hiap, who founded Mee Toh School due to his dedication to the cause of education,” said Ong Pang Boon, chairman of the Mee Toh Foundation. “We are delighted to work with NUS to promote a deeper understanding of Buddhism and Buddhist studies among Singaporeans. » (NUS News)
The university said the search for the first visiting professor would begin soon, noting that areas of academic interest could include Buddhist philosophy, history and literature, to foster a comprehensive exploration of the field of Buddhist studies.
“The establishment of the Mee Toh Foundation Visiting Chair in Buddhist Studies underscores our commitment to academic excellence and the cultivation of cross-cultural awareness,” said Professor Qu Hsueh Ming, Head of the Department of Philosophy at FASS. “Buddhist studies has the potential to encourage more academic discourse by offering new perspectives not only in the field of philosophy, but also in the field of religion, history, philosophy, art and literature. By adopting these perspectives, interdisciplinary research flourishes, enriching our understanding of diverse areas of knowledge. (NUS News)
“I am heartened to witness the growth of a small but steady Buddhist studies initiative at NUS,” Asst. » Professor Jack Meng-Tat Chia, from the FASS history department, told BDG. “I hope that more Buddhist organizations and individuals will come forward to support our efforts to expand the academic study of Buddhism here in Singapore. »
Singapore is a multicultural island state in Southeast Asia with a population of nearly six million. More than 31 percent of Singaporeans identify as Buddhist, according to 2020 census data. Christians make up 18,9 percent of the population and Muslims make up 15,6 percent. Taoism and other Chinese religions make up 8,8 percent, Hinduism 5 percent, and Sikhism and other religions 0,6 percent. About 20 percent of Singaporeans profess no religious affiliation.