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University of London–SIM Lecture 2021: celebrating 35 years of collaboration


Written by
Malcolm Yiong

This year’s Lecture was held in collaboration with LSE on the topic of US-China relations and how the evolving circumstances could shape the rest of the 21st century.

UoL-SIM Lecture 2021

This year marks 35 years of collaboration between the University of London (UoL) and the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), one of the largest UoL Recognised Teaching Centres.

SIM started with one class of 40 UoL students, and it now enrols close to 2,000 new students a year in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes ranging from Accountancy to Digital Innovation and Politics and, more recently, in Computer Science as well as Data Science and Business Analytics. Since 1986 over 41,000 graduates, primarily from Singapore and South East Asia, have attained a UoL qualification through SIM.

The UoL-SIM Lectures, first held in 2019 and led by the UoL-SIM Regional Centre, provide the opportunity for academics from UoL and the Member Institutions to share their insights and to contribute thought leadership on critical issues across business, technology, governance, politics and society. 

The UoL-SIM Lecture 2021 – ‘Clash of the Titans: How the US-China relationship will shape the 21st century’ – saw more than 550 registrants and, at its peak, more than 220 watching it ‘live’ via YouTube. The virtual event showcased the long-standing collaboration between SIM, UoL and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and marked the 35th anniversary since the BSc (Honours) in Management Studies programme was first introduced at SIM.

Indeed, as Professor Wei Kwok Kee, Provost at SIM, mentioned in his opening remarks, the UoL programmes have enriched the lives of many SIM-UoL alumni and developed their potential, while continuing to inspire many to forge meaningful careers and a sense of purpose.

In his lecture, Professor Michael Cox, Director of LSE IDEAS and Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the LSE, spoke on the importance and the impact of the relationship between a rising China and the United States.

Since 1949, the two countries have undergone tremendous shifts in their bilateral relations, starting with geopolitical rivalries and ideologies, and later developing mutual interests and partnerships with a view towards encouraging China to be a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in the international system.

Professor Cox highlighted the need for US and China to work together in mitigating the challenges that confront the modern world from climate change to global inequality.

Nevertheless, the confluence of various socio-economic and domestic political factors, as well as the increasing trade deficit, served to heighten the perception that China’s growth was at the expense of jobs in the US, a view clearly held by many in the Trump administration.

In particular, the slew of economic policies launched under China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the growing cross-strait tensions, amongst others, have further raised concerns on the evolving dynamics between these two powers.

Professor Cox highlighted the need for US and China to work together in mitigating the challenges that confront the modern world from climate change to global inequality. At the same time, it appears that the two countries will continue to find ways and means to counter each other’s spheres of influence for the foreseeable future.

As Dean of the EMFSS programmes at the LSE, Professor Paul Kelly went on to facilitate a lively Q & A segment with Professor Cox taking questions on economic decoupling, export risks, foreign policy, international security, trade diplomacy and stability of the regional and global order.

In her closing remarks, Professor Mary Stiasny, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International, Teaching and Learning) at UoL, said that the Lecture had provided a timely opportunity to explore and reflect upon these compelling issues, which are intertwined and will continue to shape the discourse between two of the world’s most powerful economies.

Overall, participants found the Lecture useful and relevant and shared that they were interested to gain more insights from academics at UoL and the Member Institutions on topics such as international affairs, cybersecurity, global tax, sustainability and issues arising from a post-pandemic world. 

The UoL-SIM Lecture 2021 is available on SIM’s YouTube channel:

Malcolm Yiong is Market Development Manager (South East Asia) at the University of London. Based in Singapore, he leads on collaborations with teaching centres in South East Asia, and strategic relationships with other stakeholders in the region.