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UWCSEA remembers Mr Lee Kuan Yew
UWC South East Asia joins Singapore in mourning the loss of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, a great leader and the nation’s founding father, on whose vision much of modern-day Singapore was built.
It was in part due to his vision that UWCSEA was established in 1971. The school was founded in the period that saw the withdrawal of British troops, as Singapore worked to establish itself as self-sufficient nation, and a regional hub that could attract and retain foreign investment and trade. Part of this strategy meant that foreigners based in Singapore would need schools for their children.
Thus, the then Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew officially opened Singapore International School (SIS), an associate member of the United World College movement, on 15 December 1971. SIS, which would change its name to United World College of South East Asia when it became the second full UWC in 1975, was initiated and planned by Lord Mountbatten on the request of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. It opened on the site of the original St. John's School, a school for the children of British Army personnel stationed in the region.
The College began as a secondary school with around 900 students aged 11 and older. In 1997, the College began an expansion, gradually adding Primary grades to become a full K-12 school in 1998. In 2008, again at the request of the Singaporean government, the College expanded to a second campus. There are now nearly 5,500 students from more than 90 nationalities attending UWC South East Asia, providing a high quality education for children of expatriates living in Singapore, just as Mr Lee envisioned.
It is in no small part thanks to the visionary leadership of Mr Lee that the College thrives today. While the establishment of an international school back in 1971 was only a very small event in the context of his enormous achievement for Singapore, it has meant everything to the College and our community. Along with all of Singapore we remember Mr Lee Kuan Yew, we honour him and we thank him.