March 25, 2018 — Singapore
An American Jewish Committee (AJC) delegation has concluded a visit to Singapore.
The trip was highlighted by a private lunch hosted by Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan. He also spoke last year at the AJC Global Forum, in Washington, D.C., in front of an audience of nearly 3,000 people from across the United States and around the world.
The group, led by AJC CEO David Harris, also met with Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo; U.S. Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Melissa Brown and several other diplomats at the U.S. Embassy; Israeli Ambassador Simona Halperin; influential academics and members of civil society; and leaders of the local Jewish community. The visit was organized in cooperation with Roni Lippmann, AJC's Southeast Asia Representative.
Topics discussed during the visit included: (i) U.S. engagement in the Asia-Pacific region and prospects for U.S. participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which AJC has supported; (ii) Regional developments affecting Southeast Asia; (iii) Israeli-Singaporean bilateral ties; and (iv) the Middle East more broadly.
Another highlight of the visit was Harris’s presentation at National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute (MEI-NUS), a prominent think tank housed at Singapore’s most prestigious university. Bilahari Kausikan, Board Chairman of MEI-NUS, Ambassador-at-Large for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and long-time friend of AJC, welcomed Harris and the delegation.
"Singapore is a country to which AJC has long attached significance. We admire Singapore’s many accomplishments, appreciate Singapore’s deep and multi-tiered ties with the United States, and value the receptive home it offers a proud and vibrant Jewish community,” Harris said. He has visited the island-nation on several occasions.
“AJC also admires the very robust bilateral ties between Israel and Singapore, which date back to the nation's founding in 1965 and continue to the present day,” Harris added.
AJC maintains close links with Singaporean representatives in the U.S. and elsewhere through its Asia Pacific Institute, directed by Shira Loewenberg and chaired by Jeff Stone. The institute, the first of its kind in the Jewish world, was founded nearly 30 years ago to address the growing importance of the region to the U.S. and the Jewish people. Loewenberg also traveled with the AJC delegation.