The Inaugural General Membership Meeting of the NUS Alumni Manila Chapter

26 September

Around 40 alumni and representatives from the NUS Office of Alumni Relations connected online for the inaugural General Membership Meeting (GMM) of the NUS Alumni Manila Chapter, which was held on 26 September 2020. Organised by the NUS Alumni Manila Chapter Committee, the bi-annual meeting serves as a platform for the increasing number of NUS alumni in Manila and the Philippines to be updated on the activities of the chapter, be informed of various initiatives and news from NUS, and to foster a sense of community and connection.

Bernard Toh (Architecture ’84), Director of the NUS Office of Alumni Relations, welcomed everyone to the GMM and gave an overview of the initiatives that NUS has rolled out in order to be continuously responsive to the needs of alumni despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Richard Tan (Public Policy ’13), President of the NUS Alumni Manila Chapter, gave a report on the activities and accomplishments of the chapter from its inception in July 2019 to date. Strengthening friendship and camaraderie within the alumni community and giving back to society were the focus of many of the chapter’s activities.

Gratitude and appreciation were also expressed by the NUS Alumni Manila Chapter Committee to the project chairpersons who spearheaded various initiatives, namely Laurence Tibon (Public Policy ’18) for the 2019 NUS Day of Service, Karla Hotchkiss-Rufino (Business ’10) for the 2020 Taal Initiative, and Venus Oliva Cloma-Rosales (Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health ’13) for the 2020 Frontline Health Workers Initiative.

After the GMM was a talk on “What’s the Real Score? Charting the COVID-19 Curve and Managing Expectations for a Vaccine” from two guest speakers, followed by a Q&A session moderated by Dr Chen San Pascual (Arts and Social Sciences ’12). Dr Butch Ong, medical expert from the University of the Philippines OCTA research team, spoke about the science behind COVID-19, and discussed the tracking and analysis of COVID-19’s impact on public health. He also provided assessments and forecasts about the pandemic, such as on the lockdowns implemented in the National Capital Region and other COVID-19 hotspots in the country. Dr Kirsten Lopez (Science ’09), Research Scientist at the University of Oxford, spoke about COVID-19 vaccine development and her experience as a participant in the Oxford vaccine trial. She also provided an overview of the Oxford trial results and other vaccines in development around the world.

After an engaging Q&A session with the guest speakers, the GMM ended with a call for Manila alumni to continue supporting the chapter’s activities, connect with one another, and maintain their connections with NUS.

Submitted by Mr Nestor Precioso (Science ’06).

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