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Singaporean is new director of Olympic Museum in Lausanne
SINGAPOREAN Angelita Teo has been chosen to lead the Switzerland-based Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage from October this year, managing the Olympic Museum, Olympic Studies Centre, international programmes and heritage.
She is Senior Director, Museums and Festivals with Singapore's National Heritage Board (NHB).
The first Asian to be picked for this position, Ms Teo will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland, and will report to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Director General.
IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper says: "I wish a warm welcome and every success to Ms Angelita Teo. Her operational and strategic competences in the areas of culture and heritage will be valuable to enable the Foundation to pursue its development and address its future challenges."
Announcing the appointment, the IOC noted that "Ms Teo has acquired extensive experience in museum management, especially at the National Museum of Singapore, where she has been director for the last six years.
" She has also worked on the renovation of several galleries and initiated many innovative digital experiences. In addition, she has been responsible for organising three large festivals: the Singapore Heritage Festival, the Singapore Night Festival and Children's Season."
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day, the equivalent of US$3.4 million goes to helping athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
The Olympic Museum was inaugurated in 1993 and is the embodiment of the universal values of sports, culture, sharing and education.
Chang Hwee Nee, CEO of NHB, says: "Angelita has been an energetic leader with a strong focus on innovation and experimentation. She has shown us that by putting history and technology together, we can enhance knowledge and increase enjoyment and access for audiences.
"I thank her for her strong contributions and congratulate her on her new role with the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage in Lausanne. This speaks highly of Singapore's cultural professionals. I look forward to her flying the Singapore flag high and further strengthening international collaboration with Singapore."
In an interview with The Business Times, Ms Teo says the opportunity to work overseas and gain international exposure is beyond amazing.
"The Olympic Museum is a world class museum that shares inspiring stories about the history of the Olympics, and more importantly the strength of the human spirit over body and mind. I think there will be so many opportunities for collaborations and to spread this message internationally".
She believes that her 17 years of experience in the culture and heritage industry was a definite advantage as her new role includes the management of the Olympic Foundation for Culture and Heritage.
"There are many qualified museum professionals for this job, but I think I had an added advantage because of my eight years of experience managing both the Singapore Heritage Festival and the Singapore Night Festival. I dare say there are not many museum directors who are festival directors as well."
She is going to be busy when she joins on Oct 1. There is the Youth Olympic Winter Games in Lausanne in January 2020 and the Olympic Games in Tokyo in July 2020. "But I think the most important and immediate priority goes to knowing my new colleagues and creating opportunities to better understand the role that the museum and the Foundation play in contributing to the goals and aspirations of the International Olympic Committee."
She says the Olympic Museum is housed in a beautiful building. "The sense of arrival when you see the museum can be emotional. The other thing that struck me was how engaged visitors were with the exhibits. I saw many parents explaining and sharing stories with their children while going through the exhibition, and that's a very good way to judge if a museum is doing its job well."
On the significance of her appointment for Singapore: "I think it is such an honour to be the first Asian taking on a Director role at the IOC. Since the announcement, both Sport Singapore and the Singapore National Olympic Council (SNOC) have reached out to me... The SNOC has been doing a great job in promoting the value of sports and the Olympic Games in Singapore for years, and I will definitely continue to work with them."
She says her role in Lausanne will involve the implementation of the IOC's cultural action plans, facilitate synergies between various cultural platforms and departments within the IOC, including the academies and Olympic museums internationally, and coming up with new ideas to develop cultural activities to promote Olympism in society.
On her interest in museums and heritage: "I have loved watching documentaries since I was a child, and studying anthropology and archaeology in school made it very natural for me to join this industry.
" I must say I have been very fortunate because I found my calling where doors have opened and opportunities presented themselves for me to contribute to the sector."