Shashi Tharoor

Infobox Person
name = Shashi Tharoor


birth_date = birth date and age|1956|3|9|df=y
birth_place = flagicon|UK London, United Kingdom
residence = Dubai/New York Citycite news | last=Haniffa | first=Aziz | title=Shashi Tharoor joins the corporate world | date=May 10, 2007 | publisher=Rediff News | url=http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/may/10shashi.htm]
nationality = Indian
occupation = Writer, diplomat
website = [http://www.shashitharoor.com ShashiTharoor.com]

Shashi Tharoor (Malayalam: ശശി തരൂര്‍; born 9 March 1956 in London) was an Indian diplomat at the United Nations. In 2006, he was the official candidate of India for the office of United Nations Secretary-General, and came second out of seven official candidates in the race. Tharoor served as the UN Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information between June 2002 and February 2007, during the term of Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is an author, journalist, and fellow of the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Tharoor is an Indian national, from the state of Kerala.

History

In India, Tharoor studied at Montfort School in Yercaud, Bombay Scottish School and Campion School in Mumbai, attended High School at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School in Kolkata and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. While at St. Stephen’s Tharoor was actively involved in the Debating Society, which is where he cultivated his Received Pronunciation accent, Quiz Club, and Students’ Union, of which he was the elected President. He then completed a Ph.D at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, where he also earned two Master’s degrees.

Since 1978, Tharoor has been working for the United Nations, serving with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the “boat people” crisis. He began as a senior official at the United Nations headquarters in New York in 1989, where, until late 1996, he was responsible for peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia.

From January 1997 to July 1998, he was executive assistant to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. He was appointed director of communications and special projects in the office of the Secretary-General, and in January 2001, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as interim head of the Department of Public Information. On 1 June 2002, he was confirmed as the Under Secretary General for Communications and Public Information. In this capacity, he is responsible for the communication strategy, enhancing the image and effectiveness of the UN. In 2003, the Secretary-General appointed him United Nations Coordinator for Multilingualism.

Tharoor resigned from the post of Under Secretary General on February 9, 2007.

Campaign for Secretary-General

On June 15, 2006, the Government of India announced its backing for Tharoor’s candidacy as Kofi Annan’s successor for the post of UN Secretary General.

Tharoor came second (behind Ban Ki-moon) in each of the four -09-28] 14 September, [cite web|url=http://www.unsg.org/wordpress/28] and 2 October. [cite web|url=http://www.unsg.org/wordpress/archives/170|title=Ban Ki-moon wins|publisher= [http://www.unsg.org UNSG.org] |date=2006-10-02|accessdate=2006-10-02] In the fourth poll, Ban emerged as the only candidate with the support of all five permanent members, each of whom has the power to veto candidas. After the vote, Tharoor withdrew his candidacy, telling reporters he was “confident that Ban will win.”

Post-UN career

In February 2007, it was reported in the Indian press that Tharoor might be inducted into council of ministers of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as Minister of State for External Affairs. [cite news
url = http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1080342
date = 2007-02-16
title = Shashi Tharoor to be inducted in government?
accessdate =
publisher = DNA Daily News and Analysis
] In the same month, it was reported in an American gossip blog that Tharoor was a finalist for the position of dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication in Los Angeles. [ [http://www.laist.com/archives/2007/02/20/top_5_candidates_for_usc_annenberg_dean.php Entries from LAist tagged with '2007/02/20/top_5_candidates_for_usc_annenberg_dean' ] ] Dr. Tharoor—in addition to a variety of other activities in his private life—is chairman of Dubai-based Afras Ventures, a company promoting investment in Kerala, India.

Literary career

Tharoor has written numerous books in English. Most of his literary creations are centred on Indian themes and they are markedly “Indo-nostalgic.” Perhaps his most famous work is "The Great Indian Novel", published in 1989, in which he uses the narrative and theme of the famous Indian epic Mahabharata to weave a satirical story of Indian life in a non-linear mode with the characters drawn from the Indian Independence Movement. His novel "Show Business" (1992) was made into the film "Bollywood" (1994). The late Ismail Merchant had announced his wish to make a film of Tharoor’s novel "Riot" shortly before Merchant’s death in 2005.

Tharoor has written a fortnightly column for "The Hindu" newspaper since 2001 and a weekly column, “Shashi on Sunday,” in the "Times of India" since January 2007. Previously he was a columnist for the "Gentleman" magazine and the "Indian Express" newspaper, as well as a frequent contributor to "Newsweek International" and the "International Herald Tribune". His op-eds and book reviews have appeared in the "Washington Post", the "New York Times" and the "Los Angeles Times", amongst other papers.

Tharoor began writing at the age of 6 and his first published story appeared in the “Bharat Jyoti” in Mumbai at age 10. His World War-II adventure novel "Operation Bellows", inspired by the Biggles books, was serialized in the Junior Statesman starting a week before his 11th birthday.

Works

Fiction

* "Riot" (2001)
* "Show Business" (1992)
* "The Five Dollar Smile and Other Stories" (1990)
* "The Great Indian Novel" (1989)

Non-fiction

* "The Elephant, the Tiger and the Cell Phone: India—The Emerging 21st Century Power" (2007)
* "Bookless in Baghdad" (2005)
* "Nehru: The Invention of India" (2003)
* "Kerala: God’s own country" (2002)
* "" (1997)
* "Reasons of State" (1982)

Awards and recognition

*In 1976, at age 20, he won the Rajika Kripalani Young Journalist Award for the Best Indian Journalist under 30.
*In 1990, he won the Federation of Indian Publishers-Hindustan Times Literary Award for the Best Book of the Year for "The Great Indian Novel", which also won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1991 for the Best Book of the Year in the Eurasian Region.
*In 1998, Tharoor was awarded the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP).
*He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs from the University of Puget Sound in May 2000 and a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Bucharest, Romania, in May 2008.
*In January 1998, he was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow.”
*In 2004, he was awarded the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for non-resident Indians, but did not accept it at the time owing to UN rules prohibiting acceptance of governmental honors. He went on to accept the award in 2007, after having resigned from the position of Under Secretary General at the UN [cite news
url = http://hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?id=1756e2bb-7259-4d02-80a6-5fa5350b0fec&MatchID1=4461&TeamID1=10&TeamID2=6&MatchType1=2&SeriesID1=1108&PrimaryID=4461&Headline=Tharoor+gets+Pravasi+Samman
date = 2007-05-09
title = Tharoor honoured with Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
accessdate = 2007-05-10
publisher = The Hindustan Times
] .

Personal

He married Tilottima from ber sarai, a journalist and scholar, at the age of 21, from whom he is now divorced. He is the father of twin sons, Ishaan and Kanishk, who have recently graduated from Yale. One of the twins, Ishaan lives in Hong Kong and works for "Time" magazine and the other brother, Kanishk, is a resident of London working for openDemocracy. Recently Tharoor got remarried to Christa Giles, a Canadian who is Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Disarmament Commission.

Tharoor is known for his passionate interest in cricket, especially Indian cricket, about which he has written in such publications as "The Cricketer International", "The Illustrated Weekly of India" and "The Hindu". An outstanding actor and debater in school and college, Tharoor won numerous prizes at inter-collegiate “winter festivals” and similar competitions. He played Antony to Mira Nair’s Cleopatra in a 1974 production of "Antony and Cleopatra". At St. Stephen’s in the early 1970s he founded the Quiz Club, which is still in existence; he also revived the Wodehouse Society, which is no longer in existence. Upon election as President of the College Union (campaign slogan: “Shashi Tharoor "jeetega zaroor"”) he relinquished the editorship of the campus humour magazine “Kooler Talk.” He was invited by St. Stephen’s College to deliver the college’s 125th Anniversary Jubilee Lecture in 2005. He is an elected Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities and a member of the Advisory Board of the Indo-American Arts Council. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Breakthrough, an international human rights organization.

At the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in 1976, he founded and was the first chair of the editorial board of the Fletcher Forum of International Affairs, a journal examining issues in international relations [cite web
url = http://www.ony.unu.edu/09February2006Panelists.html
title = in cooperation with UNU-P&G, United States Institute of Peace, and Cambridge University Press:
accessdate = 2007-05-10
publisher = United Nations University Office at the United Nations
] .

References

External links

* [http://www.shashitharoor.com Personal website] ("Parts of the author’s bio data have been reproduced from this website with Tharoor’s permission.")
* [http://www.un.org/News/ossg/sg/stories/tharoor_bio.htm United Nations biography]
* [http://uscpublicdiplomacy.com/index.php/about/bio_detail/shashi_tharoor/ USC Center on Public Diplomacy biography]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/forum/797205.stm BBC Q&A with Tharoor, 22 June 2000]
* [http://www.shashitharoor.com/STforSG/index.html "Shashi Tharoor for UN Secretary-General" website]
* [http://www.project-syndicate.org/series/68/description "Awakening India:" Shashi Tharoor's monthly op/ed commentary series] for Project Syndicate
* [http://www.booktalk.org/the-great-indian-novel-by-shashi-tharoor-f89.html BookTalk.org: online reading group discussion of Shashi Tharoor's "The Great Indian Novel"]


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