BY LAURENCE LIEN
CHAIRMAN AND ACTING CEO
I just returned from my first trip overseas in 21 months, a family vacation as far away from Singapore as I possibly could go—to enjoy city life in the East Coast of the US, and then the great outdoors in Arizona. It was a thrill to just get out. But for us, the biggest highlight of the trip was something quiet—hiking—in Sedona, with its stunning and unique rock formations.
There is something innate in us, even for my sons who are total urbanites, that simply connects with nature. The best architecture in the world is no match for the raw majesty of nature. And even as we have tamed and subjugated nature during this Anthropocene, we are now aware of how critical it is to live symbiotically with it, protecting it and nursing it back to health.
We do not do this simply for nature’s sake. As Pope Francis has said in his encyclical, Laudato Si, we “are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental.” Further, “we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.” Combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and protecting our planet must be an integrated approach.
Hence, I am very heartened that this year, as we started to move to living with COVID-19, that our APC members have shared at our various events that what has given them hope over this difficult year has not just been communities coming together to help vulnerable groups in crisis, but the willingness of more to address fundamental issues like inequality, and to changing lifestyles and systems for the better. Solving the ecological crisis requires an inner conversion.
Meanwhile, while there is hope, there is also much challenging work ahead. But as I mentioned during venn2021, there is much for us to look forward to at APC, as we continue our joint search for better ways to bring about significant changes so that we may have “flourishing people, planet and philanthropy”.
We have just reached a major milestone—50 members! With at least 95% of our members renewing every year since inception, we know we have passionate members, and look forward to deepening membership engagement even further. We will continue to grow our physical presence through our overseas consultants, and look forward to resuming limited travels outside Singapore.
In terms of collaboration, we already have two-thirds of our members involved in at least one collaborative fund or project! We will continue to widen the opportunities to collaborate further, starting with our launch of the APC Climate Collective in January.
What gives me hope for APC specifically is how we have come together as a community. A common comment from guests who attended venn2021 for the first time was that it was like an amazing family event, quite unlike other philanthropy events they had attended. They were taken in by not only how our members contributed richly to the content, but also the depth and warmth of interactions.
This would not have been possible without our members caring to be so involved. So thank you for your active support and participation. I look forward to an even more enriching and blessed 2022. But meanwhile, happy holidays, and stay safe from Omicron!