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Celebrating 60 Yrs of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Celebrating 60 Yrs of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Date/Time: Dec 10, 2008 / 5:00pm-8.15pm
Venue: Four Seasons Hotel, Crescent Ballroom

10th Dec 1948 was the day that the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This December marks the 60th anniversary of this historic document, which calls for a celebration of this document that has been an inspiration and guide to many.

This event is jointly organised and supported by The European Commission, The French Embassy, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism),United Nations Association of Singapore and Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Event Details
Date: 10 Dec 2008, 5.00pm – 8.15 pm
Dress Code: Office Attire

Programme Schedule: 

5:00pm - Arrival of guests & registration

5:15pm - Welcome Remarks
H.E. Pierre Buhler, Ambassador of France (Currently holding the Presidency of EU)
Professor Simon Tay, Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs

5:25pm - Human Rights: Introductory Remarks
Professor Tommy Koh, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs [download speech]

5:40pm - Human Rights through ASEAN Eyes
Mr. Rodolfo Severino, Head, ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS, and former ASEAN Secretary-General

5.50pm - Pre-Panel Remarks: What is the Declaration
H.E. Holger Standertskjöld, Ambassador, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Singapore [download speech]

6:00pm - Panel Discussion – Human Rights: Past Achievements and Future Challenges
Ms. Braema Mathi, MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism)
Professor Tham Seong Chee, President, United Nations Association of Singapore
Dr. Reuben Wong, Asst. Head, Political Science Dept., National University of Singapore
H.E. Paul Madden, British High Commissioner to Singapore.

7:30pm - Question and Answer Session

8:00pm - Closing Remarks
H.E. K. Kesavapany, Ambassador, Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

8:15pm - Cocktail Reception
End of Programme


His Excellency Pierre Buhler

Ambassador of France (Currently holding the Presidency of EU)

His Excellency Pierre Buhler has been the French Ambassador to Singapore since September 2006. Previously, he was the Diplomatic Advisor of the Minister of Defence (2001-2002) and Cultural Counsellor at the French Embassy in New York (1996-2001). Between 2002 and 2006, Ambassador Buhler was also Associate Professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies. Ambassador Buhler began his diplomatic career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris in 1982. He worked at the Directorate for Strategic Affairs and Disarmament, and between 1983-1996, at the French Embassy in Warsaw, Moscow, Washington and New York. He is a Knight of the French National Order of Merit and of the Legion of Honour.

Professor Simon Tay

Chairman, Singapore Institute of International Affairs

A world-renowned lawyer, political adviser and environmental policy expert, Professor Simon S.C. Tay teaches international law at the University of Singapore, and is Chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

He gained a Masters degree from Harvard - in the process winning the Law School's Laylin Prize for the best thesis on international law - and practiced for four years in one of Singapore's largest commercial law firms before leaving to help set up the Singapore International Foundation.

As well as being leading figure in Singapore public life - he served three terms as a Nominated Member of the Singapore Parliament, and has sat on numerous government boards and committees - he has gained an international reputation for his work on environmental and human rights issues.

He has acted as a consultant to, among others, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme, the Asian Development Bank and the Asia-Pacific Forum on Environment and Development. In 2000 the World Economic Forum (Davos) named him a 'global leader of tomorrow', while the Far Eastern Economic Review featured him as one of 'ten people to watch in Asia' in its 50th anniversary issue.

In addition to his legal, academic and public work he is a prolific journalist and also a published poet and author – his collection of short stories, Stand Alone, was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize. He is married with one son.

Professor Tommy Koh

Ambassador-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Professor Tommy Koh is currently Ambassador At-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director, Institute of Policy Studies. Professor Koh received a First Class Honours degree in Law from the University of Singapore, a Master’s degree in Law from Harvard University and a post-graduate Diploma in Criminology from Cambridge University. In 1984, Professor Koh was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Yale University. He was Dean of the Law Faculty of the National University of Singapore from 1971-1974.

He was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General as his Special Envoy to lead a mission to the Russian Federation, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 1993. He has been a member of three WTO dispute resolution panels, two of which as chairman. He was a visiting professor at Stanford University in 1995. He was the first Executive Director of the Asia Europe Foundation from 1997-2000.

Ambassador Koh was Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, New York from 1968 to 1971 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada) and again from 1974 to 1984 (concurrently accredited as High Commissioner to Canada and Ambassador to Mexico). He was Ambassador to the United States of America from 1984 to 1990. He was President of the Third UN Conference on the Law of the Sea from 1980 to 1982. He was Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and the Main Committee of the UN Conference on Environment and Development from 1990 to 1992.

Ambassador Koh is the author of three books: The U.S. and East Asia: Conflict and Cooperation; The Quest for World Order; and Asia and Europe.

Mr. Rodolfo Severino

Head, ASEAN Studies Centre, ISEAS

Former ASEAN Secretary-General

Rodolfo C. Severino is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, where he does policy studies and other work on Southeast Asia and where he has just completed a book on ASEAN, Southeast Asia in Search of an ASEAN Community. He was Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations from 1998 to 2002. As a member of the faculty at the Asian Institute of Management in the Philippines in 2003 to 2004, he lectured on regional economic cooperation, the elements of competitiveness, and leadership in the management of change.

Before assuming the position of ASEAN Secretary-General, Severino was Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. In the Philippine Foreign Service, Severino was Ambassador to Malaysia from 1989 to 1992 after serving in several other posts, including Washington, D. C., and Beijing, as well as in Manila. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in the humanities from the Ateneo de Manila and a Master of Arts degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.

Miss Braema Mathi

MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism)

Miss Braema Mathi is an advocate for social justice. This has led her to become very involved in issues related to women, migrants and HIV. She has led AWARE, founded and led Transient Workers Count Too and is today leading MARUAH (Singapore Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism) and is the Singapore focal Point for the regional group (The Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism). Miss Braema has worked as a teacher, a journalist for The Straits Times and as a researcher with the Institute of South East Asian Studies prior to becoming a consultant on social issues. She was also a Nominated Member of Parliament.

Professor Tham Seong Chee

President, United Nations Association of Singapore

Professor Dr. Tham Seong Chee is the current President of the United Nations Association of Singapore (UNAS). He was previously Professor and Head of the Department of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore. While in service, he served in several boards, among them as Trustee of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and member of the National Library Board. He also served as a regional adviser on the Ford Foundation Regional Advisory Committee for Southeast Asian Studies and Research and as Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Advisory Committee on the Study of Southeast Asian Cultures. In 1995 he was invited to serve as an international trustee on the Board of Bio-politics International, Athens. He is also a Vice-president in the Singapore National Association for the promotion of Science. He has published numerous books and articles in international journals.

Dr. Reuben Wong

Assistant Head, Department of Political Science, National University of Singapore

Reuben Wong graduated from NUS as the top Direct Honours student in Political Science. He joined the Singapore Foreign Service and served as First Secretary in the Singapore Embassy in Paris from 1995 to 1998. He returned to NUS (European Studies Programme) in 1999 and was awarded an Overseas Graduate Scholarship. Reuben completed an M.Phil in European Politics and Society in Oxford University, where he wrote a thesis on French relations with China. His Ph.D research on Europeanization and French foreign policy in Asia, was completed at the London School of Economics.

Dr Wong lectures on International Relations at NUS. He is also the Liaison Officer for Antonians (the alumni of St Antony's College Oxford) in Singapore and Malaysia . Dr Wong speaks French, Chinese and some Spanish. In his free time, he enjoys art films, jazz, wakeboarding and downhill skiing.

His Excellency Paul Madden

British High Commissioner to Singapore

Mr Paul Madden took up his appointment as Her Majesty's High Commissioner to the Republic of Singapore in February 2007.


Event Photographs: 

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