31/05/2002
Press Release
SG/A/803



Biographical Note

                                                            BIO/3426


APPOINTMENT OF SHASHI THAROOR AS UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR COMMUNICATIONS


AND PUBLIC INFORMATION CONFIRMED BY SECRETARY-GENERAL


The Secretary-General today confirmed his appointment of Shashi Tharoor of India as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information with effect from 1 June.  Mr. Tharoor has, since January 2001, been serving as Interim Head of the Department of Public Information (DPI) at the Assistant-Secretary-General level. 


Prior to this assignment at DPI, Mr. Tharoor served as Director of Communications and Special Projects in the Office of the Secretary-General (1998-2001) and earlier as Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General (1997-1998).


      As Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (1989-1996), Mr. Tharoor assisted two successive heads of United Nations peacekeeping in managing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution in peacekeeping at the end of the cold war, notably in relation to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1996.


Mr. Tharoor's United Nations career began in May 1978 on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, serving at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva and for three-and-a-half years (1981-1984) as Head of the UNHCR office in Singapore at the peak of the Vietnamese "boat people" crisis.


Mr. Tharoor is also the author of six books, including the award-winning political satire, The Great Indian Novel (1989), and India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), a study of Indian politics, society and economic development after independence, as well as numerous articles, op-ed pieces and literary reviews in a wide range of publications. 


In January 1998, Mr. Tharoor was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow”.  He is also the recipient of several journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize.


Born in London in 1956, Mr. Tharoor was educated in India and the United States, completing a Ph.D in 1978 at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at


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                                                            31 May 2002


Tufts University, where he also earned two Master's degrees.  He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs by the University of Puget Sound, United States.


Mr. Tharoor is an elected Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities and a member of the Advisory Board of the Indo-American Arts Council.  He is the father of twin sons.


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