Chan Heng Chee took up her appointment as Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States in July 1996. Prior to her appointment, she was the Executive Director of the Singapore International Foundation (which creates a Singapore version of the Peace Corps) and Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. She was the founder Director of the Institute of Policy Studies. She served as Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 1989 to 1991 and was concurrently High Commissioner to Canada, and Ambassador to Mexico.
She has received a number of awards including Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Letters in 1994 from the University of Newcastle, Australia; and the University of Buckingham (United Kingdom) in 1998; Inaugural International Woman of the Year Award 1998 from the Organisation of Chinese American Women (OCAW); Singapore’s first "Woman of the Year, 1991" Award; the National Book Award, Non-Fiction Section, 1986 for A Sensation of Independence: A Political Biography of David Marshall; the National Book Award, Non-Fiction Section, 1978 for The Dynamics of One Party Dominance: The PAP at the Grassroots.
She has served as a member on the International Advisory Board of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London and the International Council of the Asia Society, New York.
Ambassador Chan has served on several academic review panels and has published numerous articles and books on politics in Singapore, Southeast Asia and international security.
She was educated at the University of Singapore and Cornell University.