About Us

Who are we

The Community for Advocacy and Political Education (CAPE) was formerly a student organisation based at Yale-NUS College, until August 2023. We are now an independent, non-partisan, and volunteer-run community bringing together Singaporean students and youth.

Our Mission

To strengthen Singapore’s democracy based on justice and equality, through raising political literacy and building civic capacity of Singaporeans.

Our History

CAPE started in 2017 as a student organisation hosted at Yale-NUS College. Comprising students from Yale-NUS, NUS Law Faculty, and the NUS University Scholars Programme (USP), the Founding Members came from a wide variety of social justice causes – queer rights, migrant worker issues, environmentalism, animal welfare, etc. 

Across our backgrounds and experiences, we encountered a common issue: the lack among our fellow youths of political literacy and an appreciation of the institutional mechanisms that could enable the social change we advocated for. Passionate as we are, most youths had been exposed only to individual volunteering efforts or the possibilities of raising awareness or funds. We were unfamiliar with other methods of social change which made it difficult to engage deeply with systemic, policy, or institutional issues. We thus sought to create a platform for raising political literacy and civic capacity among our peers. 

Building our own credentials of well-researched, critical, and grounded perspectives, CAPE soon became an established and prominent voice in Singapore’s youth and civil society landscape. In the time since, we have hosted countless seminars and workshops, our civic materials have sparked wide and deep discourse and distribution, and we have spanned diverse collaborations and consultations across the political, media, youth, civil society, and cultural landscape.

In 2019, we co-hosted the third iteration of Apa Itu Activist? – Singapore civil society’s flagship conference which aims to take stock of civil society in Singapore, and develop practices to facilitate meaningful change in the nation’s political climate. 

In 2020, CAPE’s active voter education campaign parallel to the 2020 General Elections in Singapore saw our resources and webinars reaching over a 100 thousand young Singaporeans on average. Underscoring the wide reach of our efforts, our voter education portal was selected for preservation by the US Library of Congress Web Archive for its historic value. 

In 2021, announcements of Yale-NUS’s effective closure by 2025 had rendered CAPE’s future as a Yale-NUS hosted student organisation uncertain. Ahead of the closure, CAPE brought forward our transition off campus in August 2023 and is now an informal community unaffiliated to Yale-NUS.

Read about CAPE’s humble beginnings

In the follow up volume to the seminal The Art of Advocacy in Singapore, Ethos Books’ We Are Not the Enemy: The Practice of Advocacy in Singapore explores a collection of essays by and interviews of Singapore’s civil society activists across spectrum of causes and tactics. Some of CAPE’s co-founders contributed a chapter exploring our history, our contributions to the civic space, and our evolution post 2023 with our transition out of a moribund Yale-NUS College. It also bears our reflections on youth activism and the incubating grey space offered by Yale-NUS. CAPE’s accompanying handbook on advocacy was also released at the sold-out launch event in March 2024.

Our People

As an independent collective focused on raising political literacy, CAPE benefits from the voluntary contribution of time and effort by the many students, alumni, and young Singaporeans who have made our many projects, workshops, events, and resources possible. This gallery features some members of our community – both past and present – from members of the founding team to those of the current generation of CAPE who have kept its mission going.

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