The heir to the British throne, Prince William, walked a green carpet on Tuesday when he arrived in Singapore for the award ceremony for the Earthshot Prize. The annual prize, started in 2020 by the prince, supports companies whose ideas tackle key environmental issues such as making electric car batteries more sustainable and finding ways to reduce waste. This year five winners were announced, including a company that recycles lithium-ion batteries and a platform that helps end illegal fishing. The winners each received a prize of PS1 million (S$1.7 million) to boost their solutions.
This is the first time the prize has been presented in Asia. The heir to the throne was joined by celebrity presenters such as Cate Blanchett, Donnie Yen, Lana Condor and Nomzamo Mbatha at the ceremony at the state-owned Mediacorp Theatre. The singers One Republic and Bebe Rexha also performed. The event was hosted by actors Hannah Waddingham and Sterling K. Brown, who wore a dark green suit from the fashion house Alexander McQueen. The prince and other guests walked the green carpet, which was made from recycled materials.
Before the awards, the prince visited a science museum at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He was shown a robot that helps to keep food fresh and a solar-powered dryer that helps to combat household waste. He also watched a demonstration of how a drone could be used to save lives during disasters such as floods, wildfires and earthquakes.
He also met NUS President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana. The prince later visited the Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay, where he planted a Tembusu tree. The royal was on a four-day visit to Singapore.
In addition to visiting museums, the prince is also giving talks on his plans for tackling climate change and his charity work. He will attend a summit on biodiversity conservation in Singapore and meet with leaders of the ASEAN community. He is expected to discuss the impact of climate change on the region and work towards greater cooperation between the ASEAN countries in the fight against wildlife trafficking.
As for the NUS Singapore History Prize, this year the shortlist consists of four books. The winner will be decided by a panel of judges comprising Prof Mahbubani, archaeologist John Miksic, entrepreneur Claire Chiang and Professor Peter A. Coclanis from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
The pool of submissions for the prize was smaller this year, an effect of the coronavirus pandemic on international publishing, organisers said. Publishing Perspectives will report on the winners on August 25. See the full list of shortlisted titles here. More on the prize and NUS’s history program is here.