Chan Heng Chee was appointed Singaporeâ€™s ambassador to the United States in July 1996. Educated at the University of Singapore and Cornell University, she began her career in 1989 when she served as Singaporeâ€™s permanent representative to the United Nations and was concurrently high commissioner to Canada, and ambassador to Mexico. Before her appointment, she was the executive director of the Singapore International Foundation and director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Chee has received a number of awards including, the National Book Award for "The Dynamics of One Party Dominance: The PAP at the Grassroots" (1978), the National Book Award in 1986 for "A Sensation of Independence: A Political Biography of David Marshall," and Singaporeâ€™s first "Woman of the Year, 1991" award. She has also received honorary degrees of doctor of letters in 1994 from the University of Newcastle, Australia and from the University of Buckingham in 1998. She received the Inaugural International Woman of the Year Award 1998 by the Organization of Chinese American Women.