SITizens at Swiss Talent Forum

In an age of rapidly growing populations, how can urban areas be sustainably developed? At the 7th International Swiss Talent Forum (ISTF) held in February 2018 in Thun, Switzerland, 70 talented youths from all over the world converged to search for solutions to the challenges of the urban areas of the future.

Two SIT students were among the participants of the ISTF after a rigorous selection process. Their participation was part of the Switzerland-Singapore bilateral young leader's exchange programme. Students in Singapore were invited by the National Youth Achievement Award Council (NYAAC), which coordinated the selection process for ISTF and sponsored the trip for the delegates.

Terence Chan Xin Yang, a Year 2 Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Land) student and Andy Yue Xuanhong, a Year 1 Telematics student spent 10 days in wintery Thun, Switzerland in February, where they actively participated in a forum that focused on the challenges of 'The Future of Urban Life' – the theme of the forum.

Andy Yue (left) and Terence Chan.

Terence's interest in urban life from his polytechnic days proved to be an advantage. He was able to share his knowledge on how eco-friendly Tianjin, China was able to sustain itself through lower power consumption with the other delegates in his forum group.

"My group, comprising delegates from other countries that do not necessarily speak English, had to identify a problem in a challenge posed to us. We had to come up with a solution in three days. My main challenge was to be able to converse with them clearly. After the forum, I felt that I had achieved more insights on how different countries are tackling their own urban challenges. I was humbled by the whole experience and learned quite a lot at the end," said Terence. 

Andy's passion in urban planning for future cities struck the winning chords for his participation in the forum. 

"I had a dream to reinvent urban farming in dense and land-scarce cities like Singapore. The idea was to build sustainable skyscrapers that double up as farming platforms – a more personalised and immersive concept than conventional urban farms. Being the only Singaporean in my group, I shared Singapore's initiatives to achieve 'Urban Hospitality'," said Andy.

"I am also incubating a start-up idea called Kilogram for recycling efforts. The insights I gained from the forum will certainly help a lot."