Koo, a graduate of St John’s University, Shanghai, entered service with the Chinese YMCA after nine years as an administrator with the Chinese national railways. From 1919 to 1930 he was associate general secretary and student executive secretary of the Chinese YMCA National Committee. Under his leadership the number of Student Christian Associations rose to more than 100. From 1929 to 1934 he was vice-chairman of the World’s Student Christian Federation and from 1934 to 1947 its general secretary.
During those years he visited forty-five countries, speaking to student audiences. Always an advocate of Christian principles in international relations, he was a member of the Second World Opium Conference in 1924, adviser to the Chinese delegation to the United Nations Conference at San Francisco in 1945, and a speaker at numerous world Christian gatherings, including the Oxford Conference on Life and Work in 1937, the Madras meeting of the international Missionary Council in 1938, and the Amsterdam Conference of Christian Youth in 1939. Beginning in 1945, he taught courses at the University of Iowa, the University of Florida, and Bucknell University, Pennsylvania, where he was visiting professor in the field of Oriental studies. He retired in 1959.
This article is from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, by Macmillan Reference USA., (c) 1999, Macmillan Reference USA Reprinted by permission of The Gale Group.
- R. O. Hall, T. Z. Koo: Chinese Christianity Speaks to the West (1950); Kenneth Scott Latourette, World Service: A History of the Foreign Work and World Service of the YMCA of the United States and Canada (1957). Koo materials are in the archives of the YMCA, University of Minnesota, and of the World’s Student Christian Federation, Geneva.