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Curtin University
John Curtin Day
John Curtin Medallists

Professor Tommy Koh (1999)

Tommy Koh's vision is to build a gentler, more sophisticated and cosmopolitan Singapore, with strong diplomatic and cultural links world-wide.

An international leader in promoting environmental responsibility and a reduction in international conflict, he has also taken the lead in championing the arts and greater creative freedom in Singapore and has consistently supported a number of difficult and unpopular causes throughout his career.

He is a consistent advocate of cross-cultural learning, understanding and co-operation.

A lawyer by profession, Tommy has held the positions of Dean of the Faculty of Law at the National University of Singapore, Singapore Ambassador to the UN and the USA, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies, Executive Director of the Asia-Europe Foundation and Chairman of the National Arts Council.

His commitment to community service within Singapore and internationally has often been at the expense of his own legal career.

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, who has been one of the most influential humanitarian voices in the UN General Assembly and a most effective diplomat in negotiating peace agreements over the past three decades, provides the following assessment of Tommy:

Amid an era of historic transformation, Ambassador Koh has remained a steadfast advocate of dialogue and co­operation to resolve problems through mutual accommodation, for the greater common good. He has also been a constant supporter of the United Nations as a unique instrument of global service.

The awarding of the John Curtin Medal to Professor Tommy Koh applauds his commitment to peace, co­operation and creative freedom and recognises the significant contribution he has made to international relations over the past 30 years.

Recognising his outstanding vision, leadership and community service will hopefully provide an incentive to Tommy to build the same links with Australia as he has built with Europe and the United States of America.