Prof Tommy Koh wins RI alumni award at school's 192 anniversary dinner

Prof Koh is only the third winner of the award, after Mr Lee and Mr Goh.
Prof Koh is only the third winner of the award, after Mr Lee and Mr Goh. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Veteran Singapore diplomat Tommy Koh has been named to an exclusive club, joining founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Emeritus Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong.

Prof Koh, who is ambassador-at-large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was presented with the Gryphon Award, the highest honour for Raffles Institution (RI) alumni, at a dinner on Saturday (July 25) night.

Named after the mythical creature on the school crest, the award recognises the school's most distinguished alumni.

Prof Koh is only the third winner of the award, after Mr Lee and Mr Goh.

"I'm a very grateful Rafflesian and I've always said that Raffles has always played a very big part in moulding the kind of person that I am and values that I hold," Professor Koh said in his acceptance speech at a dinner celebrating RI's 192nd anniversary.

"The most important thing that I learnt in RI is to develop a culture of excellence. A culture of excellence in everything you do, whether in your academic pursuits, in sports, extra-curricular activities. The culture of excellence is one of RI's values."

"RI must always remain a school whose doors open to all able boys and girls who are qualified to study here," he added.

Professor Koh attended RI from 1952 to 1957, where he was a school prefect, senior patrol leader in the 02 Scouts Troop and president of the literary debating and drama society. He was also a singles and doubles player in the school's badminton team.

His long career as a diplomat and educator spanned many different fields, such as international law, environmental policy, trade and dispute resolution.

He has also headed international committees, such as the Third United Nations (UN) Conference on the Law of Sea and the Rio Earth Summit during his role as UN Permanent Representative.