Dr Vivian Balakrishnan

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative

“We are privileged to live in an age of revolution and in the midst of such revolution, the real determinant for success is culture. In other words, you need a society with a culture of openness, a culture of learning, and a culture where you are prepared to invest in infrastructure and education, where you are prepared to leapfrog your rules and standards to take advantage of these technological advances. And it is those societies, those cities, those nations with a culture that has the right blend of openness, cooperativeness, innovation, and ability to invest in and to apply new technologies that will succeed. What we are working on is an opportunity to participate in a revolution to transform the world, to improve our lives, to create new opportunities, and ultimately to build a better world.”

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan is the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister-in-Charge of the Smart Nation initiative. He studied Medicine at the National University of Singapore (NUS) after being awarded the President’s Scholarship in 1980 and specialised in ophthalmology after graduation. He was appointed Associate Professor of the National University of Singapore and Deputy Director of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) in 1997. In 1999, he became the Medical Director of SNEC before being appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Singapore General Hospital in 2000.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 2001 and previously held appointments as the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Minister responsible for Entrepreneurship, Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts and Minister of State for National Development.

Dr Balakrishnan has a keen interest in technology and actively codes and builds gadgets during his spare time. During his leadership at the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, he has overseen various initiatives to use technology to improve public service delivery such as the installation of water-level sensors which tweet localised notifications to the public.