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Last modified: Wednesday, March 10, 2004

United Nations undersecretary, author to speak about India at IU Bloomington on March 25

U.N. Undersecretary Shashi Tharoor

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Shashi Tharoor, United Nations undersecretary general for communications and public information and an award-winning author, will present a lecture at Indiana University Bloomington on March 25.

Tharoor's lecture, "Democracy and Diversity in Today's India," will begin at 6 p.m. in Whittenberger Auditorium of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St. The event is being presented by the IU India Studies Program and Union Board. He will sign copies of his most recent book, Nehru: The Invention of India (Arcade Books, 2003), immediately after the lecture.

Tharoor has worked for the United Nations since 1978, serving with the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the "boat people" crisis. Since 1989, he has been a senior official at U.N. headquarters, where he was responsible for peace-keeping operations in the former Yugoslavia until late 1996.

From January 1997 to July 1998, he was executive assistant to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. In July 1998, he was appointed director of communications and special projects in the Office of the Secretary General. In January 2001, he was appointed by Annan as interim head of the Department of Public Information. In June 2002, he was appointed to his current post.

The author of numerous articles, short stories and commentaries in Indian and Western publications, Tharoor has won several journalism and literary awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1991.

His books also include Reasons of State (1982), a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy; The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smile & Other Stories (1990); a second novel, Show Business (1992), which was made into a motion picture, Bollywood; and India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), published on the 50th anniversary of India's independence.

His most recent novel is Riot, about which Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel wrote, "Riot is a remarkable tale about violence and hope in a land that has known both; it confirms Shashi Tharoor as a major voice in literature."

In 1998, Tharoor received the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature from the Association of Indians in America and the Network of Indian Professionals. In 1998, he was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.