27 May 2016
By David Chia | Images by Aleithia Low
In recent years, Spaniard Mr Alberto Duran has made Singapore his home. He views it as a responsibility to contribute to the young city state, creating a support network for future generations. To do so, Mr Duran has generously contributed to Yale-NUS College, with a study award set up in his name.
“You create a chain… and that’s an unbreakable chain that’s going to go on forever,” Mr Duran said. Once a scholarship recipient himself, Mr Duran hopes to sustain that chain, having reaped the benefits of it.
Fusing his passion for education and desire to support the unbreakable chain for growth, Mr Duran established the Alberto Duran Study Award at Yale-NUS College. This academic year, three freshmen Singaporean students at Yale-NUS College are its inaugural recipients. They are Jonathan Chan, Danielle Sim and Yip Jie Ying.
His gift to Yale-NUS College, which supports financially needy Singaporean students, stems from his desire to support innovative and interdisciplinary thinkers who are able to cross boundaries. “The liberal arts education allows you to think without being close-minded to one truth,” Mr Duran explained, highlighting that this adaptability is key to success in the 21st century.
Having grown up in a middle class family in Brazil, Mr Duran aims to foster a new generation of Singaporean students, in line with his and Singapore’s goal of fostering creation and culture through education. He noted how his personal vision of inciting innovation and creativity through education resonates with that of Singapore. Jonathan Chan, Class of 2019, an inaugural recipient of the Alberto Duran Study Award shares, “Meeting Mr Duran in person, I was inspired by his passion for grooming Singapore’s next generation of scholars as a form of his gratitude towards Singapore, for the opportunities Singapore has given him and his family.”
When asked if he had any advice for our students, “Two!” Mr Duran said with an infectious laugh, “Dream and have fun!” Quoting financial rules from his business background, Mr Duran elaborated, “Learning how to fail is fundamental to learning how to succeed.” He is certain a liberal arts education is one that will be able to provide a support system that allows for balance between failure and fun.
Himself a product of a local and global education, Mr Duran values the hybridity of global and local in the College. “Local education is becoming global education,” he said. The global nature of education in the future has prompted him to support the communities local to Singapore.
Grateful for the study award, Jonathan added: “The Alberto Duran Study Award has provided me with the opportunity to actively participate in a vast range of college activities. This summer , I will be attending the Leadership Learning Across Boundaries programme at Nepal and the Yale Summer Session at New Haven. The original cost of these activities are substantial, and this award has enabled me to pursue these academic and leadership opportunities without being overly concerned about financial constraints.”
Mr Alberto Duran (second from right) with the recipients of the Alberto Duran Study Award