Vivian Balakrishnan

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

The face of Singapore’s foreign relations, Vivian Balakrishnan is a self-confessed techie who has been closely associated with the Smart Nation initiative in recent years

Dr Vivian Balakrishnan oversees the ministry managing diplomatic relations between Singapore and other regions and countries; he has held this position since 2015. The trained ophthalmologist entered politics in 2001 as part of the People’s Action Party team contesting the Holland–Bukit Timah Group Representation Constituency in that year’s general election.

Dr Balakrishnan started out as Minister of State at the Ministry of National Development, and was later named Senior Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. His other appointments included Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

Dr Balakrishnan was also minister in charge of the Smart Nation initiative, a government drive to create tech-related solutions, from 2014 to 2021; it was an apt appointment as he is a self-confessed techie who codes and fixes his own gadgets. Among other initiatives, he led the adoption of new digital contact-tracing systems to combat Covid-19, including TraceTogether and SafeEntry.

He is married, and has a daughter and three sons.

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Dr Balakrishnan initiated the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act in 2014, to deter local and overseas operators from clearing their forested areas by burning, causing haze and air pollution in the region. 

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