The Harvard University Association of Alumni in Singapore (HUAAS) Fellow Award recognizes a person whose achievements, conduct and career stand as a beacon to all Harvard alumni, reflecting the best values of Harvard University, its excellence and leadership, not just in the academe but having a broader, positive impact on larger society.
T. SASITHARAN OF THE INTERCULTURAL THEATRE INSTITUTE IS AWARDED THE 2022 HUAAS FELLOW AWARD
T. Sasitharan, 64, has been awarded the third HUAAS Fellow Award 2022 by the Harvard University Association of Alumni in Singapore (HUAAS). The first Fellow was awarded to Dr Noeleen Heyzer in 2019 and the second Fellow was awarded to Prof Wang Gungwu in 2021.
This award of the Harvard alumni chapter in Singapore, takes a leaf from the honoris causa doctorate degree awarded by the mothership, in that the recipient is honored for his or her significant contribution to society, and need not have any prior affiliation to the university. The inscription over Dexter Gate at Harvard Yard best captures the spirit of the HUAAS Fellow Award, as it extols students to Enter to Grow in Wisdom, and to Depart to Serve Better Thy Country and Thy Kind.
Besides being one of Singapore’s finest theatre actors, Thirunalan Sasitharan’s contribution to the arts and to culture in Singapore is seminal. He was the successor to Kuo Pao Kun’s artistic directorship of the independent arts centre The Substation from 1996-2000. Together with Kuo, arguably Singapore’s most significant cultural figure, Sasitharan co-founded the Intercultural Theatre Institute, then called TTRP – the Theatre Training and Research Programme in 2000. With Kuo’s untimely death in 2002, Sasitharan took up the reins of the fledging institution and forged the development of a conservatory unique in the world of theatre training of actors because of its curriculum and pedagogy. ITI’s unique education trains its students in five major world theatre traditions and methodologies – the Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Indonesian theatre and dance traditions – in addition to the contemporary Western methodology.
Also a recipient of the Cultural Medallion – Singapore’s highest honour for artists –Sasitharan’s role and contribution goes far beyond the theatrical stage. He is regarded by his peers and the larger arts community in Singapore as teacher and thought-leader in Singapore arts and culture. He has always stood for the independent and critical-minded artist, eloquently speaking truth to power. In selecting him as its 3rd HUAAS Fellow for 2022, the association recognizes and honors T. Sasitharan’s signal contribution to the development of the arts and culture in Singapore, which cannot be seen apart from his leadership and direction of the Intercultural Theatre institute (ITI) over the last twenty years, and its impact on the next generation of artists in Singapore.