The Prince of Wales Visits Singapore to Unveil the Winners of the Singapore Prize and Earthshot Prize

Among the many awards that Singapore gives out, one stands out: The Singapore Prize. Founded in 2014 to celebrate the nation’s 50th anniversary of independence, it’s the first prize devoted to the country’s history and administered by the Department of History at NUS. It’s given to a publication that makes a lasting impact on Singaporeans’ understanding of the nation’s past.

Its four-member jury — chaired by NUS distinguished professor Kishore Mahbubani and comprising novelist Meira Chand, economist Lam San Ling and historian Peter Coclanis — selected archaeologist John Miksic’s book Singapore and the Silk Road of the Sea: 1300-1800 as this year’s winner. It took him five years to complete the book, which chronicles the discovery of a new city, Singapore and its trade with the rest of Asia. “Singapore is very important to the region, and it was important to tell its story,” he says.

During his visit to the city-state, the prince will also participate in an event hosted by the United for Wildlife global alliance, which brings together law enforcement agencies and companies from around the world to combat illegal trade of wildlife products. The prince is set to meet with groups from Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia that are working on environmental conservation.

He’ll also be attending the unveiling of this year’s winners of the Earthshot Prize, which he created three years ago to encourage inventors and entrepreneurs to develop technologies to combat climate change. The prince’s office says he chose to host this year’s awards ceremony in Singapore because it is “a hub for innovation” in the region. During his four-day trip, the heir to the British throne will meet the prize’s winners and finalists to learn about their work.

The finalists range from a scheme to plant, grow and digitally track trees in Liberia to proposals for a less carbon intensive way to treat industrial wastewater. The prince was joined by celebrity presenters such as Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and actors Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzano Mbatha at the glitzy ceremony at the state-owned Media Corp theater. In keeping with the sustainable theme, the prince wore a 10-year-old dark green suit by Alexander McQueen and walked the “green carpet” along with other attendees.

This is the third edition of the Singapore Prize, with 192 titles submitted this year — 32 fewer than last year. The list will be trimmed to five winners next month, and the public will be able to vote online for their favorite shortlisted title. The top choice will win 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$720) in book vouchers. The winners of the Readers’ Favorite category will be announced alongside the main awards in December. The prize will return in 2024. You can see the full shortlist here.