MM to receive top US award for public service

MINISTER Mentor Lee Kuan Yew will receive a prestigious American award for public service.

The Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Centre for scholars, which administers the award, will hold a gala dinner in New York on Wednesday to honour him. It will also give a corporate citizenship award to Singapore banker and former OCBC chairman Lee Seng Wee.

MM Lee joins a distinguished list of past recipients that includes Vice-President Dick Cheney and former US state secretaries Henry Kissinger and James Baker.

The award is rarely given to those outside America and Europe. Australian Prime Minister John Howard received it last year.

It is given to those who have served with distinction in public office.

The centre’s board of trustees, who are appointed by the US president and include Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said in the award citation that MM Lee was chosen because “of his devotion to building the country of Singapore into the economic powerhouse it is today”.

“He has served as a pillar of action, reforming unemployment and housing policies, promoting racial tolerance, encouraging foreign investment, and creating self- governance.”

It added that he is “a champion of Asian values, a man of integrity, a proponent of law and order, and a great statesman”.

The Woodrow Wilson centre, which is a living memorial to the 28th president of the US, supports research in the social sciences and humanities, with an emphasis in history, political science and international relations.

It hosts more than 500 meetings a year.

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