Launch of ‘Communicators Without Borders’

The National University of Singapore, Purdue University, and Team Rubicon officially launched a new joint programme for communication students on Dec. 4. The programme, titled “Communicators Without Borders”, seeks to give NUS and Purdue students the opportunity to work with NGOs such as Team Rubicon on humanitarian and social change efforts around the world.

“[We want to] bring students into situations where they, in fact, have an opportunity to really grow, and to be challenged, and to make a difference.” Prof. Howard Sypher said in his speech at the launch event held in the CNM Playroom. Prof. Sypher is the head of the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University, Indiana, US.

Prof. Sypher also noted how Singapore’s global interconnectedness made the nation-state the perfect location to commence “Communicators Without Borders.”

Prof. Mohan Dutta, Head of the Communications and New Media department at NUS, highlighted the centrality of communication in the programme. “If there is one theme that I think connects these organisations together, that is the vision for understanding the role of communication in how it has an impact on society,” Prof. Dutta said. “I believe that’s a strong thread that flows through what we do here at CNM.”

Team Rubicon is an early NGO partner of “Communicators Without Borders.” The three-year-old American humanitarian organization is made up of military veterans who provide emergency aid in crises and disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy which recently devastated the US east coast.

“A lot of us have extensive experience, sadly, in war, but it teaches you a lot,” Team Rubicon Regional Director Ford Sypher said. “We’re taking that experience, and we’re taking these hands that were trained for war, and we’re re-tooling them to deliver aid, both domestically and internationally.”

To launch “Communicators Without Borders,” Prof. Sypher, Ford Sypher and Dr. Tracy Loh, representing the communication management team at CNM, put together a large three-piece jigsaw puzzle. Each piece represented the three major partners of the programme.

Ford Sypher from Team Rubicon, Prof. Mohan Dutta from NUS and Prof. Howard Sypher from Purdue launched the “Communicators Without Borders” program in NUS.

While the launch of “Communicators Without Borders” is a significant step, there is still much to do before students can be sent to work with NGOs. “Collaboration is always hard,” Prof. Sypher said. “There are misunderstandings, there are difficulties. But if it was easy, there wouldn’t be the rewards that come along with it.”

Watch the launch of “Communicators Without Borders”

CARE launches CARE&SHARE seminars

By Daniel Teo

The Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) recently began its seminar series. For the inaugural seminar on October 27, A/P Shiv Ganesh from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, presented a two-part seminar on social movements. On November 15, CARE’s own Dr. Kang Sun discussed his dissertation on peasant workers in China.

CARE&SHARE 1: Community Resilience, Social Justice Activism, and the New Dialogic

In the first session, entitled “Community Resilience: Resistance and Renewal in an Age of Ecological,” Shiv discussed the need for a new theoretical vernacular to explain how communities organise, especially in a global and ecological context. He argued that conventional theories on social movements focus on their absence, rather than their emergence.

In the following session, “Coordination, Connectedness and Exchange: The New Dialogic in Social Justice Activism,” Shiv spoke about how local social movements were connected to and transformed by larger global movements. He drew heavily from his ethnographic work on the Occupy movement in Wellington, New Zealand.

For more detailed notes and video clips on Sessions 1 and 2 of Shiv’s presentation, please visit the respective blog posts by CARE researcher Jagadish Thaker and seminar participant Cheryll Soriano.

CARE&SHARE 2: Manufacturing Identity: Peasant Workers’ Spatial Production in China

Kang regaled the seminar participants with stories from his childhood in rural China and graduate student days in Ohio. He connected these experiences of Chinese and American identities to his dissertation on how identities are constructed, not just socially and symbolically, but spatially and materially as well. Kang also spoke about his ethnographic work on Chinese factory workers who had left their villages in the countryside to pursue their fortunes in the city.

For more on Kang’s presentation, please read CARE Director Prof. Mohan Dutta’s blog post on his reflections on the seminar. A video of the seminar can be found on the CARE website.

CARE is a global hub for health communication research that uses participatory and culture-centered methodologies to develop community-driven health communication solutions. The center is currently funded by a $1.9 million grant from the National University of Singapore. To learn more about CARE, please visit our website.

A Double Surprise!

CNM threw a thank-you party for Assoc Prof Millie Rivera for her dedicated service over two terms as CNM Head. Her successor, Prof Mohan Dutta was in turn surprised by a welcome-cum-tenure celebration.

CNM staff had a rollicking time hosting both profs who sent out separate but similar emails within the hour, each thinking they were organising a surprise party for the other.

The event started with buffet lunch attended by faculty, grad students and alumni. The guests were entertained by a video tribute put together by Dr Millie’s former students. CNM alumni also penned down their gratitude to Dr Millie in a scrapbook. Overwhelmed by the gesture of appreciation, Dr Millie declared that CNM would always hold a special place in her heart.

The party upped its ante when Assoc Prof Lonce Wyse presented the new CNM head, Prof Mohan with a Super Mario outfit, complete with a potted plant to signify power, to commemorate Prof Mohan’s arrival and tenure.

More significantly, the double celebration spoke of the common vision of both professors in bringing CNM to greater heights.

The CNM family with Dr Millie as Harry Potter and Prof Mohan as Super Mario

Stars among our Staff

CNM snagged awards in both teaching and service once again this year with Faculty Teaching Excellence Awards, Graduate Student Teaching Awards and Service Awards at both university and faculty levels.

Congratulations to our FTEA winners, Dr. Seow Ting Lee and Mr. Gui Kai Chong, and GSTA winners, Jodie Luu, Cheryll Soriano, Wendy Wong and Joel Gn!

Special mention goes out to Kai Chong, Jodie and Cheryll for winning the hat-trick and the latter two ladies for entering the GSTA Honour Roll.

We are also very proud of our admin staff, Retna who won the NUS Quality Service Award, and our tech officer, Jennifer Lau who won the Faculty Service Award.

Great job, CNMers!

UKI visits CNM

On Friday 2 November, a delegation of students and faculty from Universitas Kristen Indonesia (Christian University of Indonesia) visited CNM.  Associate Professors Cho Hichang and Lonce Wyse received them.  The Indonesian students dropped in on several classes where they sang us their university song, shared a video of their university activities and also presented us with souvenirs.  The visited was rounded off with a tour of campus and appreciation by the UKI delegates.

The UKI delegates present a token to Assoc Profs Lonce Wyse and Cho Hichang




And off to Yale I go

Written by Lim Liu Xian

As luck (and hard work) would have it, I have been selected for the Yale Visiting International Student Programme (Y-VISP), a special exchange programme that allows me to spend a year at Yale – take classes, partake in the CCAs and live in one of its twelve residential colleges, just like a normal Yale student.

As a third year CNM student, I have a keen interest in media and its relation to politics and public policies. I am also interested in the  effects of media on societies, and vice versa. With an interest spanning across multiple disciplines such as media studies, political science and sociology, the rewards of a liberal arts education at Yale are simply mind-boggling. At Yale, I am free to choose from hundreds of classes from well over 75 majors – talk about an education buffet! Together with the U.S. Presidential Election happening over the same period, the spoils from this learning experience will be, I am sure, nothing short of fantastic.

Academics aside, I am also looking to learn how CCAs work and understand what campus spirit means at Yale. After all it is with these exchange programmes, not just Y-VISP, that students experience the differences between cultures and come back to NUS -and Singapore- enriched with a new knowledge of the world.

I will miss NUS, but I will be back. I will be back with knowledge to share and stories to tell. So keep a lookout for them!

Editor’s note: Liu Xian has overcome adversity with the sudden passing of her mother in her first year at NUS to be among a handful of international students selected for this prestigious internship, entailing a substantial scholarship from NUS for her year there. She serves as the Vice-President of the CNM Student Society and will certainly bring new perspectives from her Yale experience to the department.

NUS Arts/Science Residency Kicks Off

Singapore, 2 March 2012 The National University of Singapore (NUS) Interactive & Digital Media Institute (IDMI) is pleased to announce the Art/Science Residency Programme, featuring five artists from around the world who will be coming to its campus to help promote the arts.

Each artist will reside at NUS for a month, while embarking on a project that fuses interdisciplinary aspects of arts and science.

Associate Professor Lonce Wyse, Director of the Arts & Creativity Laboratory at IDMI and Head of the residency programme, said he hopes the programme will help spur greater interest in the arts and interdisciplinary dialogue.

“Engaging with the arts is a vital component of education for this generation, who need to constantly draw on creativity and innovation to survive in today’s world,” said Assoc Prof Wyse.

The artists for the four projects — Ms Grit Ruhland, Ms Cathrine Kramer together with Mr Zackery Denfeld, Mr Shintaro Miyazaki, and Mr Marc Böhlen— will offer art exhibits or performances with scientific themes, specifically quantum technology, biology, acoustic ecology and water, respectively.

They were selected by a jury chaired by Assoc Prof Wyse, consisting of researchers, media artists and curators from the NUS Museum and the Marina Bay Sands ArtScience Museum, as well as internationally recognised media artists. Their selections were based on artistic merit and synergies with the host NUS research institutes.

Three NUS research institutes – Centre for Quantum Technologies, Asian Biopoleis and Singapore-Delft Water Alliance – and the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music – will provide support and a space for the artists to develop their works.

The objective of the residencies is to engage students in Singapore, the local arts community and the public with the arts through workshops, seminars, performances and installations. The artists will also hold public conversations about their work at the Marina Bay ArtScience Museum.

Ms Ruhland, who will be exploring quantum technology, will be the first of the selected artists and will begin her residency on 25 March 2012. She will be working with the Centre for Quantum Technologies to build a “Cabinet of Curiosities” displaying artefacts that reflect the culture of research related to quantum technology.

In September, Ms Kramer and Mr Denfeld will both explore the economic and biotechnological forces that are and will be shaping Singapore’s multicultural food system in their project, “Anthropocene, Food Futureswith the Asian Biopoleis. In the same month, Mr Miyazaki will work with the NUS Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music to invite participants to help build sensors that will be used to explore patterns of electromagnetic activity through sound in “Listening to Singaporean Infospheres. Following in November, Mr Böhlen’s project, “Water Bar, will work on technologies and cultural issues involved in producing drinking water with the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance.

The residency programme is supported by a grant from the Singapore National Arts Council with additional support from the NUS University Scholars Programme, the Tembusu Residential Colleges and participating NUS research institutes.


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About National University of Singapore (NUS)

A leading global university centred in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS) is Singapore’s flagship university which offers a global approach to education and research, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise.

NUS has 16 faculties and schools across three campuses. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 36,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.

NUS has three Research Centres of Excellence (RCE) and 21 university-level research institutes and centres. It is also a partner in Singapore’s 5th RCE. NUS shares a close affiliation with 16 national-level research institutes and centres. Research activities are strategic and robust, and NUS is well-known for its research strengths in engineering, life sciences and biomedicine, social sciences and natural sciences. It also strives to create a supportive and innovative environment to promote creative enterprise within its community.

For more information, please visit

About NUS Interactive & Digital Media Institute

The Interactive & Digital Media Institute was established in 2007 by NUS with the support of the Interactive and Digital Media Program Office as the first interdisciplinary research institute in interactive and digital media in Singapore. It aims to spur leading-edge research and development in emerging fields of interactive digital media that are relevant to the future needs of Singapore. The institute’s mission is to facilitate interdisciplinary research between natural science and social science and to unite academia and industry.

The Arts and Creativity Lab is part of the Interactive & Digital Media Institute. It will be hosting the Art/Science Residency Programme and is directed by Associate Professor Lonce Wyse.

For more information, please visit