Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore Named ‘Great Negotiator of 2014’ by Harvard Kennedy School’s Future of Diplomacy Project and Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation

Contact: Doug Gavel
Phone: (617) 495-1115
Date: March 11, 2014

CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Future of Diplomacy Project (FoDP) at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Program on Negotiation (PON) at Harvard Law School have jointly named Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award.
Ambassador Koh is the eleventh recipient of the Great Negotiator Award, in recognition of his work as chief negotiator for the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement; for chairing the negotiations that produced a charter for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN); for key actions that resolved territorial and humanitarian disputes in the Baltics and Asia; and for successfully leading two unprecedented global mega-conferences: the Third U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea, and the U.N. Conference on the Environment and Development, also known as the Rio Earth Summit.
“In honoring Ambassador Koh, we have the unique opportunity to learn from one of the world’s leaders in the practice of large-scale, multiparty conference diplomacy—a complex form of negotiation that will be increasingly needed to forge effective collective responses to a range of global problems in areas such as the environment, trade, public health, finance, development, national security, and terrorism,” said James K. Sebenius, Harvard Business School Professor and PON Vice Chair, in a joint statement with Nicholas Burns, The Sultan of Oman Professor of the Practice of International Relations at HKS and faculty director of FDP.
Half-Day Program Shares Insights from the Honoree
Ambassador Koh will be honored during a half-day program on April 10, from 1:30-5 p.m., in the Ames Courtroom, at Harvard Law School. The highly interactive program will feature a conversation with Ambassador Koh and panel discussions with faculty from PON and FDP. Details are available at
Great Negotiator Award recipients are recognized for their ability to negotiate against great odds in different settings to accomplish worthy purposes. By discussing the successes and failures of this distinguished group of men and women from varied backgrounds, the events associated with the Great Negotiator Award seek to uncover broader lessons and generalizations about effective negotiation and dispute resolution in public and private settings.
“The Great Negotiator Award program generates valuable research and teaching materials that can be used by other negotiators throughout their careers,” said Susan Hackley, managing director of PON. “Hundreds of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts graduate students and executive program participants benefit each year from this process. The program’s reach extends to many universities around the world that have also adopted these materials.”
Past Great Negotiator Award honorees include Senator George Mitchell; Special Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky; Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General Lakhdar Brahimi; Ambassador Richard Holbrooke; The Honorable Stuart Eizenstat; U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata; investment banker Bruce Wasserstein; artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari; and former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker.


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