Guest Speaker: Professor Tommy Koh
Date: 16 January 2015, Friday
There is an increasing awareness that we are part of something larger and it is not just because of SG50. Rather, we are part of community, leading community in some ways no doubt, but also being an integral part of building each other up through fraternity, through intentional conversations and through pure old-fashioned working together.
The Academy hopes you will see our annual Start of School Year against this background. Toward this purpose, we have invited thought leader and diplomat par excellence Prof Tommy Koh, Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Special Adviser of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chairman of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore. He will address us with this thought-provoking title: Will the Year of the Goat be a Peaceful Year?
About the Speaker
Professor Tommy Koh is currently Ambassador-At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Special Adviser of the Institute of Policy Studies and Chairman of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore. He is the Chairman of the SymAsia Foundation of Credit Suisse. He is also the Rector of Tembusu College at the University Town of the National University of Singapore.
Prof Koh was the Dean of the Faculty of Law of the University of Singapore from 1971 to 1974. He was Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York from 1968 to 1971 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada) and again from 1974 to 1984 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico). He was Ambassador to the United States of America from 1984 to 1990. He was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1981 to 1982. He was Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for and the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development from 1990 to 1992. He was the founding Chairman of the National Arts Council from 1991 to 1996, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies from 1990 to February 1997 and from December 2000 to July 2004. From February 1997 to October 2000, he served as the founding Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation. He was also Singapore’s Chief Negotiator for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (2000 to 2003). He is the agent of Singapore in two legal disputes between Singapore and Malaysia. He chairs three committees for the National University of Singapore relating to law, Asia research and environmental management.
Prof Koh was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General as his Special Envoy to lead a mission to the Russian Federation, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in August/September 1993. Prof Koh was a member of three WTO dispute panels, two of which as Chairman.
Prof Koh received a First Class Honours degree in Law from the National University of Singapore, has a Masters degree in Law from Harvard University and a post-graduate Diploma in Criminology from Cambridge University. He was conferred a full professorship in 1977. In 1984, Prof Koh was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Yale University. He has also received awards from Columbia University, Stanford University, Georgetown University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Curtin University. On 22 September 2002, Prof Koh was conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws by Monash University. He has taught at various universities in the United States and China.
For his service to the nation, Prof Koh was awarded the Public Service Star in 1971, the Meritorious Service Medal in 1979, the Distinguished Service Order Award in 1990, and the Order of Nila Utama (First Class) in 2008. Prof Koh was appointed Commander in the Order of the Golden Ark by HRH Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands in March 1993. He received the award of the Grand Cross of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins from the Government of Chile on 3 April 1997. He also received the 1996 Elizabeth Haub Prize from the University of Brussels and the International Council on Environmental Law on 17 April 1997. Prof Koh was awarded the 1998 Fok Ying Tung Southeast Asia Prize by the Fok Ying Tung Foundation in Hong Kong on 29 May 1998. On 22 February 2000 he was awarded the “Commander, First Class, of the Order of the Lion of Finland” by the President of Finland. On 2 May 2000, he was conferred the title of “Grand Officer in the Order of Merit of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg” by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. On 6 August 2001, he was conferred the rank of Officer in the Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic. He was presented with the Peace and Commerce Award by the US Secretary of Commerce, Donald Evans, in Washington DC, on 5 May 2003. His Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain has bestowed upon Prof Koh the Encomienda of Isabel la Catolica on 24 May 2004. On 21 April 2006, Prof Koh received the Champion of the Earth Award from the United Nations Environment Programme. On 10 November 2006, Prof Koh received the inaugural “President’s Award for the Environment” from President S R Nathan. He was conferred the Watermark Honorary Award by the Public Utilities Board on 17 July 2007. On 18 July 2008, Prof Koh was a co-recipient of the Onassis Distinguished Scholar Award from the Rhodes Academy of Oceans Law and Policy in Rhodes, Greece. In 3 November 2009, he was conferred the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Japanese government.
His publications include The United States and East Asia: Conflict and Co-operation (Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies & Times Academic Press, 1995); The Quest for World Order: Perspectives of a Pragmatic Idealist (Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies & Times Academic Press, 1998); Asia and Europe: Essays and Speeches (Singapore: Asia-Europe Foundation & World Scientific Publishing, 2000); and co-edited The Little Red Dot: Reflections by Singapore’s Diplomats Volumes I and II(Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies & World Scientific Publishing, 2005/2009); chief editor of Singapore: The Encyclopedia (Singapore: National Heritage Board and Editions Didier Millet, 2006); co-authored Pedra Branca – The Road to the World Court (Singapore: NUS Press & Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2009); co-edited The Making of the ASEAN Charter (Singapore: Institute of Policy Studies & World Scientific Publishing, 2009)