Newshub - NUS' News Portal

31 October 2011

Professor Simon Chesterman to be new Dean of NUS Law School

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The National University of Singapore (NUS) announced today that, following an extensive international search by a Committee led by the NUS Provost, it will be appointing Professor Simon Chesterman as the new Dean of its Law School. Prof Chesterman, the current Vice Dean (Graduate Studies) at the Law School, will take over from Professor Tan Cheng Han as NUS Law's 14th Dean with effect from 1 January 2012.

Prof Tan, a prominent lawyer and scholar who is also a Senior Counsel and Specialist Judge, has served as Dean of NUS Law since May 2001. His tenure was described by the NUS Law International Advisory Panel in 2008 as being "of historic importance for the Faculty." Prof Tan will remain in the Law School, where he will continue to contribute to the Law School and the University in other capacities.

Said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, "On behalf of the NUS community, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Prof Tan Cheng Han for his transformative leadership of the NUS Law School. He has raised NUS Law to new heights with a global and Asian outlook, and established groundbreaking partnerships with leading overseas partners such as New York University. In Prof Simon Chesterman, an outstanding international scholar and passionate educator, we have a new Dean with the vision and leadership to bring NUS Law to even greater heights of excellence."

Professor Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost of NUS, who led the international search for the new Law Dean, said, "Prof Simon Chesterman stands out for his deep commitment to legal education and his vision for the NUS Law School in Singapore and internationally. He is an innovative faculty member who inspires his students and colleagues alike with passion for the law. Prof Chesterman's varied international experiences have given him a keen understanding of global and regional sensitivities. Coupled with his leadership abilities, this will enable him to continue building on the Faculty's strong global reputation while growing its contributions and impact in a rising Asia."

The outgoing Dean of Law, Prof Tan Cheng Han said, "I am privileged to have had the opportunity to lead the NUS Law School, and to have had the time needed to establish the Faculty's standing as the top law school in the region, and one of the best internationally. It has been a very exciting, and richly rewarding tenure. I am grateful to the University, the legal fraternity, my colleagues, students and alumni for the strong support they have given me during my tenure as Dean. I am confident that the incoming Dean of NUS Law, Prof Simon Chesterman, who is both an outstanding colleague and scholar, will lead Asia's Global Law School to new heights. He will bring fresh ideas and new energy to the school and has the confidence and support of my colleagues and the student community."

Prof Chesterman also paid tribute to outgoing Dean Tan Cheng Han: "It is a privilege to succeed Dean Tan Cheng Han, who has been an inspirational leader and colleague."

Prof Chesterman joined NUS Law in 2007, at the same time that he established the New York University (NYU) School of Law Singapore Programme and became its first Director and Global Professor. In 2010, he was appointed Vice Dean of Graduate Studies, overseeing all of the graduate programmes at NUS Law, including the Master of Laws and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

As Dean-designate, Prof Chesterman said: "I am honoured to be given the opportunity to lead the NUS Law School. NUS Law is at a pivotal moment in its development. Now generally recognised as Asia's Global Law School, we have the opportunity to become one of the very best law schools in the world."

"Singapore has set the goal of being a global legal hub. NUS Law can play a major role in achieving this goal — by producing a steady stream of the most highly qualified graduates, but also by being a magnet for talent and the thought-leader in global research on legal issues."

An Australian Rhodes Scholar, Prof Chesterman has extensive international experience, including stints with the United Nations in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. He has previously held appointments at the International Crisis Group as Director of United Nations Relations and at the International Peace Academy as a Senior Associate. He has also lectured at the University of Oxford, Sciences Po, Columbia University and University of Melbourne, where he is still a Senior Fellow. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Law and Justice at New York University School of Law.

Prof Chesterman is widely regarded as being among the world's leading experts on the United Nations (UN), particularly its Security Council. He has been called upon to assist in evaluating UN agencies and the international policies of governments in Europe and North America. In the academic field, he has served as Principal Investigator for grants amounting to over US$2 million from governments, national research councils and foundations around the world.

Within Asia he was a founding editor of the new Asian Journal of International Law and serves as Deputy Secretary-General of the Asian Society of International Law.

Awarded the NUS Young Researcher Award in 2010, Prof Chesterman's work has opened up new areas of research on conceptions of public authority, including the rules and institutions of global governance, state-building and post-conflict reconstruction, and the changing role of intelligence agencies. He is the author or editor of 12 books, including the prize-winning Just War or Just Peace and You, the People, which are critically acclaimed as important contributions to the field of international law and post-conflict state-building. His most recent book, One Nation Under Surveillance, was launched in March 2011 at an event graced by then-Minister for Home Affairs Mr K. Shanmugam as the Guest of Honour. It addresses the regulation and oversight of intelligence services.

Prof Chesterman met his Singaporean wife while studying abroad. They have two children.

Please refer to Annex 1 for a brief biography of Professor Simon Chesterman.