IATP pays tribute to Martin Khor (1951-2020) who passed away peacefully on April 1, 2020 in his home in Penang, Malaysia. So many of us at IATP, since its inception more than 30 years ago, have been touched, influenced and moved by Martin’s wisdom, analysis and leadership in the global trade, economic and environmental justice movement. He was a visionary who inspired, mentored and taught so many. Our global movement feels profoundly his loss. Thankfully, he lit a thousand candles that continue to burn in the hearts of those he touched and who continue his fight, our fight for social, economic and environmental justice in the best ways that each of us can.
Martin was the research director of the Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia (1978-2009) and director of the Malaysia-based international NGO, Third World Network (TWN) (1990 to February 2009). He functioned as editor, South-North Development Monitor – SUNS (2005-2008), managing editor, Third World Resurgence (monthly magazine of the Third World Network) and editor, Third World Economics (fortnightly economics magazine of the Third World Network). He was executive director of the South Centre (March 2009 to June 2018) and advisor to Third World Network (July 2018 to 2020).
IATP sends our heartfelt condolences, love and wishes for strength and solace to the TWN family and his wife and fellow activist Meena Raman, as we mourn the loss of Martin Khor.
“My very first encounter with Martin was at the International Forum on Globalization event in Seattle in 1999, where I heard Martin speak. Like many, I was in awe of him and didn’t know at that time that I would have the privilege of one day working with him.
If there is one thing Martin taught me, it is that we can dare to dream big — to imagine a world where Southern leaders can come together, unite and lead to create a better international governance order for their citizens in spite of the odds and the power structures stacked against them. He didn’t just imagine it. He painstakingly worked to achieve that vision, to demand the best of our leaders, to guide our governments and civil society organizations, as have you all at TWN. He challenged us to push our own Northern governments. He was critical in creating a vibrant and thoughtful global movement against the injustices of globalization and neoliberalism. For that, we will forever be grateful.
Not only was Martin a global leader, he was deeply rooted in his home, Malaysia, in the Consumer Association of Penang, a leader in the environmental movement. Malaysia was lucky to have him.
Martin’s wonderful smile, sense of humor and giggle, his bursting into song, his penchant for amazing food, there is so much of Martin that we will always remember.”