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The Tommy Koh Reader cover

Professor Tommy Koh is Singapore's Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rector of Tembusu College, Special Adviser of the Institute of Policy Studies, and Chairman of the Centre for International Law, National University of Singapore.

In his distinguished career, Prof Koh has served as Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, as Ambassador to the United States of America, as President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea and Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. He was the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Russia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. He chaired two dispute panels for the WTO. He was also Singapore's Chief Negotiator for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. He was also the chairman of the group which drafted the Asean Charter. He chairs three committees for the National University of Singapore relating to law, Asia research and environmental management. An active patron of the arts, Prof Koh has served as Chairman of the National Heritage Board, National Arts Council and many other cultural groups.

In recognition of his meritorious public service and achievements, he was conferred many honours, both locally and internationally. He has been named as ‘Champion of the Earth’ in 2006 by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). Prof Koh has been selected to receive Harvard's 2014 Great Negotiator Award sponsored by the Program on Negotiation based at Harvard Law School (an interuniversity consortium of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts) as well as Harvard's Program on the Future of Diplomacy.

This collection of Prof Koh's favourite essays and lectures gives the reader an insight into his illustrious academic and diplomatic career. The volume also includes his articles on diplomacy and international law, art, culture, heritage, nature and environmental issues.

Sample Chapter(s)
Foreword (46 KB)
A Tribute to My Mother (297 KB)
Are Singaporeans a Kind or Unkind People (54 KB)
China and the World (65 KB)
The Negotiating Process of the ASEAN Charter (94 KB)

  • Family and Friends
  • Milestones of Life and Career
  • Singapore
  • Diplomacy
  • Law
  • Art, Culture and Heritage
  • Nature and the Environment

Readership: General readers.

Free Access
  • Pages:i–xiv

No Access
Family and Friends
  • Pages:1–37

No Access
Milestones of Life and Career
  • Pages:39–111

No Access
  • Pages:113–194

No Access
  • Pages:195–297

No Access
  • Pages:299–434

No Access
Art, Culture and Heritage
  • Pages:435–479

No Access
Nature and the Environment
  • Pages:481–516

Free Access
  • Pages:517–529

“Read the book if you are interested in finding out about Singapore's diplomatic efforts, about foreign relations, or the man himself, Tommy Koh. It gives a good insight and picture of the man through his work. He writes simply and clearly and is able to impart knowledge without being imposing. It is a surprisingly easy read as a result and since it is a mixture of shorter and longer essays, it is possible to just dip in if the reader simply wants something light, or take more time over a longer and more serious essay.”

Establishment Post

“Koh's writing radiates wisdom. His optimistic, ethical take on diplomacy helps explain why Singapore easily outshines most of its Southeast Asian rivals.”

South China Morning Post

“The collection of Prof Tommy Koh′s speeches and written works is a partial glimpse of one of Singapore′s most versatile, accomplished and outspoken son. It does cover a range of the causes he has championed.”

The Star Online