Dr. Woon is a Chinese-American, and he is the ninth President of AIT. A formal handing over of the baton of presidency was organized at AIT where H.E. Dr. Subin Pinkayan, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Thailand and Chairperson of AIT Board of Trustees welcomed Dr. Woon to his new assignment.
Dr. Eden Woon thanked the selection committee chair Dr. Anat Arbhabhirama, Board Chair Dr. Subin, and all Board members for appointing him to succeed a list of distinguished presidents who have previously led this prestigious institution. He assumed office on 1 September 2018 taking over from Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai. Dr. Woon complimented President Worsak for being an outstanding leader who helped in stabilizing AIT and providing it with a solid foundation.
“AIT is at crossroads with a strong need to clearly define its relevance in view of fierce competition from higher education institutions all over the world, including the region,” Dr. Woon said. He described his vision of AIT as being a relevant and respected global technological and entrepreneurial institution serving Asia and the world. “To accomplish this, we need to be outward reaching and more proactive in forging international relationships and incorporating innovation and entrepreneurship into its positioning,” Dr. Woon remarked. He added that AIT must work more with enterprises in both research and education. “Finally, I will seek to bring a positive energy to AIT and I will ensure that AIT is a caring organization to its stakeholders—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends,” Dr. Woon added. He concluded his short remarks with a plea for the Board to support the changes that will be needed to enable AIT to move forward and upward at this critical juncture of its 60-year history. Prof. Worsak extended his warm welcome to the incoming President Dr. Eden Woon stating: “With the solid foundation that we have strived to achieve during the last five years, I would like to ask all members of the AIT community to continue and provide strong support to Dr. Woon in his vision to take AIT to new heights.” Earlier, on 19 May 2018, the AIT Board of Trustees had announced the appointment of Dr. Woon as the next President. The process of selecting a new president had begun in April 2017, and the Presidential Search Committee headed by Dr. Anat Arbhabhirama had completed its process in early 2018.
Dr. Woon has wide-ranging experience in the military, private sector, and academia. Dr. Woon received his BA degree (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Iowa and his MA, MS, and PhD degrees (all in Mathematics) from the University of Washington in Seattle. He was most recently the Vice Chairman of Alba Group Asia. Alba Group, based in Berlin, is one of the world’s leading environmental engineering and services companies. Starting from 2010 until November 2017, Dr Woon was the Vice-President for Institutional Advancement at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). From 2006 to 2010, Dr Woon was based in Shanghai and was the Managing Director of Li & Fung Group's China Corporate Office and Managing Director of Toys “R” Us China. Dr Woon has also been a Vice-President of Starbucks Coffee Company in China. In 1997-2006, Dr Woon was the CEO of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the oldest and largest business organization in Hong Kong. In the United States, he was the Executive Director of the Seattle-based Washington State China Relations Council from 1994 to 1997.
Dr Woon served in the US Air Force until 1993 when he retired as a Colonel. He once acted as China policy advisor to the US Secretary of Defense. Before that, Dr. Woon taught Mathematics at the US Air Force Academy for six and one-half years, becoming an Associate Professor. His initial assignment in the US Air Force was as a computer analyst in the Air Force Systems Command.