DPM Heng Swee Keat at the NYAA 20th Gold Award Ceremony

DPM Heng Swee Keat | 2 December 2022

Speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies Heng Swee Keat at the NYAA 20th Gold Award Ceremony on 2 December 2022.

Mdm Halimah Yacob,
President of the Republic of Singapore

Mr Eugene Seah, Chairman,
NYAA Council

Members of the NYAA Advisory Board and Council, 


Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning. I am very happy to be here with all of you this morning for the 20th NYAA gold award ceremony. We were unable to do this physically in the past two years, but I am glad that we are able to hold an in-person award ceremony this year to celebrate the achievements of our NYAA gold award recipients.  

Let me also thank Madam President, for gracing this morning's ceremony. We are grateful for Madam President’s strong support of the NYAA and our youths all these years. In fact, Madam President always made time to grace the NYAA’s gold award ceremonies, and she was also recently our guest-of-honour for the NYAA’s 30th anniversary celebrations. Thank you, Madam President. 

The NYAA Journey 

Over the past three decades, more than 700,000 youths have embarked on the NYAA journey. Each participant had to take part in service learning, outdoor appreciation, and healthy living. In addition, Gold Award winners have to take on leadership roles in community service projects. This morning, we recognise those of you who have reached the pinnacle of your NYAA journey, with the attainment of the Gold Award. This is an achievement that you should be very proud of. It recognises your many months of hard work and dedication, the personal growth that you have achieved, and the positive impact that you have made. 

Our NYAA award winners have made a meaningful difference to the community, and this year’s award winners are no different. Some have initiated projects that uplifted disadvantaged families and marginalised groups, such as ex-offenders.Some of you have reached out to the elderly, to help address social isolation and mental health challenges.Others have acted on your passion and interest in the environment and sustainability. And there are many other examples. Regardless of the specific area you have chosen, the common thread is that you have put your values into action, in service of a cause larger than yourself.

For all of you who are receiving the NYAA Gold Award this morning, you also had to overcome unique challenges. The pandemic has made your NYAA journey more complex, and you had to work around many of the safe management measures. But despite the difficulties, you have demonstrated resilience, and perservered with your projects. All of you have demonstrated your commitment to shaping a better world, whether it is in building a more inclusive society, strengthening our communities, or tackling climate change. Well done! 

The Journey Ahead 

As you look ahead to the next stage of your journey, many of you are thinking about how you can continue to make an impact. Indeed, your generation will have to tackle many big challenges, including climate change, in a much more uncertain world where the global peace we have come to enjoy is coming under different pressures. But there are also many exciting opportunities ahead in this fast-changing world that has been accelerated by innovation and technology. In this part of the world – Southeast Asia, there are many other youths in our region, with many avenues to form new partnerships and forge new bonds. Let me make two suggestions on how you can build on your NYAA journey. 

First, even though this award today is the pinnacle in your NYAA journey, the journey does not end here. With the experience and learning you have gained, you are now well equipped to be changemakers, as you continue to explore the world in the next stage of your journey. I encourage you to continue to put your values into action, to make an even greater impact on the world. You can take inspiration from your seniors. Many of the NYAA Gold Award alumni continue to give back and pay it forward. For example, ten of them continue to serve as NYAA Council Members and are working in partnership with the NYAA Secretariat in policy development and programme delivery.                     

Second, remember that you can go much further on this journey, if you take a team approach, and build on each other’s strengths. During your NYAA journey, you would have collaborated with many different people, including community partners, to make your project a success. Many of you would have learned that when it comes to tackling complex challenges, a team effort that brings together different perspectives and skillsets, will produce a much better outcome. This is a lesson that is useful for your journey ahead. None of us has all the answers. I encourage you to continue to build teams and form bridges, both within Singapore and beyond our borders, to tackle the biggest challenges of your day. 

Before I end, let me make a shout out to a group of people that have made your NYAA journey possible. I am sure that you would agree that support from your family, friends, teachers have been critical to you being able to complete the NYAA journey. They are the people who have spurred you on to venture beyond your comfort zone and limits. Many of them are here this morning, so let us also take a moment to express our appreciation for their guidance and support throughout your NYAA journey. Thank you!


Let me conclude. To all our NYAA Gold Award Recipients, our heartiest congratulations to all of you. I am confident that if you build on what you have learned during your NYAA journey, you will continue to make an even bigger impact in the years to come. I also wish to again express our appreciation to President Halimah Yacob for gracing this morning’s ceremony. 

Thank you. I wish everyone an enjoyable morning. 
Education , Youth