By Jeannie Tay
Image by Alyson Rozells for Yale-NUS College
Daniel Ng (Class of 2019) from Yale-NUS College’s Double Degree Programme in Liberal Arts and Law (DDP), has been admitted to the Schwarzman Scholars programme, a highly selective leadership programme based at China’s Tsinghua University.
Daniel, who reads Liberal Arts at Yale-NUS College and Law at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Faculty of Law, is the first Singaporean student from a Singapore university to become a Schwarzman Scholar.
On receiving the Schwarzman scholarship, Daniel said, “I view the Schwarzman Scholars programme as a continuation of my learning journey in Yale-NUS and NUS Law. I believe the programme and my experience in Beijing will allow me to gain deep insights into China and, ideally, its legal culture. I am excited to analyse China’s increasingly significant role in the world and international law.”
Daniel feels that the DDP plays an important role in preparing him for his Schwarzman scholarship programme – from equipping him with skills such as legal writing and research, and quantitative analysis to the ability to draw insight from different disciplines and engage in collaborative learning.
He said, “The DDP gave me the opportunity to learn about and from many disciplines while allowing me to specialise in law. For example, I did a class on Law & Economics with Professor Michael Klausner (Visiting Professor from Stanford Law School) and learnt how contractual clauses can lead to very different – and perhaps unintended – behaviours by parties. In addition, learning about democracy, capitalism and Marxism in Modern Social Thought in Yale-NUS helped inform how I think about society and justice while studying Constitutional Law.”
At Yale-NUS, Daniel majors in Philosophy, Politics & Economics (PPE), and is working on a capstone on ASEAN Law and the South China Sea dispute.
Daniel’s capstone supervisor, Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Chin-Hao Huang said, “Daniel is particularly interested in explaining how regional norms, laws, and trade treaties have forged an understated amount of unity in Southeast Asia, and their effects on the region’s collective bargaining power vis-à-vis external, major powers like the United States and China. The urgency and relevance of such a timely topic is not lost for those interested in the security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region. It is an ambitious research project, but one that holds tremendous promise given its theoretical contributions, empirical observations, and the rigor of its mixed-methods approach. As his faculty advisor, I am excited to see what he finds and where this takes him in his professional career in the years to come.”
An active contributor to community work, Daniel received the Emerging Young Leader Award from Yale-NUS College in 2018 in recognition of his outstanding efforts in addressing a local challenge to enhance the quality of life in the community. Since entering college, Daniel has been actively involved in pro bono projects, contributing to The Military Justice Project, an initiative at the NUS Faculty of Law that aims to provide accessible legal assistance to servicemen in the Singapore Armed Forces. For this, he received the Special Recognition Award from NUS Faculty of Law in 2017 for his commitment and passion for pro bono work in a sustained manner. In 2017, he also launched Youth-in-Form, a platform that aims to link alumni with Singaporean schools that do not have a well-established or well-structured alumni association so that students can benefit from mentorship programmes and informal life advice from their seniors.
“I’ve been involved in the Military Justice Project with passionate NUS Law students and have also learnt coding in Yale-NUS to add a quantitative angle to my future work in legal practice. Residential living in Yale-NUS, where students hail from extremely diverse backgrounds, has also honed my cultural intelligence and led to some many fruitful 4 am conversations!”
Dr Trisha Craig, Yale-NUS College’s Dean of International & Professional Experience said, “Yale-NUS College is extremely pleased that one of our students has been selected to join the Schwarzman Scholars programme. Daniel is an exceptional and highly principled young man whose commitment to and passion for the rule of law has animated his professional, academic and personal path. The Schwarzman Scholarship will provide him with the deep intercultural experiences, incredible opportunities for mentorship and rigorous training that will allow to be a leading voice for peace and justice across the region.”
Daniel is the second Schwarzman Scholar from Yale-NUS College. The first Schwarzman Scholar from Yale-NUS is Mollie Saltskog (Class of 2017), who hails from Sweden. Daniel is also a recipient of the Yale-NUS Faculty Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship and the Saw Swee Hock Study Award.
Upon graduating from Yale-NUS College and NUS in 2019, Daniel will start his Master of Global Affairs degree programme at Tsinghua University under the Schwarzman programme. Thereafter, he will begin his training contract with Clifford Chance Asia and take the Singapore bar examinations before practising law.