The Singaporean Chia Thye Poh is one of the candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize 2015. Chia is a former student and graduate from ISS.

He has been proposed for the Nobel Prize by James Gomez, a Singaporean politician and academic. Chia (now 74) was detained for 23 years, from 1966 to 1989. In the 1960s he took part in protests against the American bombing in Vietnam and took part in civil disobedience activities in the political fight relating to the independence of Singapore from Malaysia. He was also a member of the Barisan Sosialis. He was accused by the government of being a communist and of being involved in actions against the government. He always denied both charges.

Decades long resistance

In a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Gomez writes that during the 23 years in which Chia was in prison, the government never succeeded in getting Chia to ‘confess’. “Dr Chia’s many years of resistance against the government and the restrictions under which he had to work for 32 years are certainly worth a Nobel Prize,” writes Gomez.

The nomination by Gomez was received and accepted by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. There are another 273 candidates, including 68 organisations. The winner will be announced on Friday afternoon.

ISS supports nomination

Chia studied and graduated from the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. In 2000 he completed his master’s degree in development studies and obtained his PhD there in 2006. A spokesperson from ISS confirmed that the nomination will be supported by the entire ISS community. “Very many students and alumni from the ISS have a special background. Unfortunately, many live in countries engaged in war and conflicts and above all where there is no freedom or safety. Chia Thye Poh’s story is incredible. He sacrificed a great deal of his life to fighting for freedom. We know him well. He is a very popular person. Always friendly, always helpful, extremely modest. This is reflected in the numerous heart-warming reactions from all over the world to his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.”