Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2014

Tommy Koh: Background and Major Accomplishments of the 'Great Negotiator, 2014'

by James K. Sebenius and Laurence A. Green

Abstract

Significant negotiation-related achievements from the career of Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore are highlighted in brief form along with elements of his background and career. In light of these accomplishments, Koh was selected as the recipient of the 2014 Great Negotiator Award, presented by the Program on Negotiation, an interuniversity consortium of Harvard, MIT, and Tufts that is based at the Harvard Law School. Summaries of several of Koh's negotiations are presented in order to stimulate further research and analysis. Among numerous other activities, the episodes described include his leadership in forging the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (USSFTA), the development and ratification of a charter for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the resolution of territorial and humanitarian disputes in the Baltics and Asia, and successful chairmanship of two unprecedented global megaconferences: 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 Earth Summit.

Keywords: multiparty negotiations; dispute resolution; conference diplomacy; international relations; free trade agreements environment; environment; Singapore; ASEAN; United Nations; Negotiation; International Relations; Personal Development and Career; Trade; Conflict and Resolution; Singapore;

Citation:

Sebenius, James K., and Laurence A. Green. "Tommy Koh: Background and Major Accomplishments of the 'Great Negotiator, 2014'." Harvard Business School Case 914-021, February 2014.