UN’s Shashi Tharoor to speak at York symposium

Shashi Tharoor, an under-secretary-general of the United Nations and an award-winning author, will speak at York University during a centennial commemoration of the birth of diplomat and Nobel laureate Ralph Bunche.

Left: Shashi Tharoor

A symposium on Bunche’s leadership in public service will be held on Mar. 22 at the Keele campus. Tharoor’s lecture will be given at 1:30pm in the Senate Chamber. York honoured Bunche with an honorary doctorate in 1970 and was asked to contribute to worldwide celebrations of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

Tharoor, who now heads the Department of Communications and Public Information, has worked at the UN since 1978 and was named a Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum in 1998. In addition to serving with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, he has been director of communications and special projects in the Office of the Secretary-General and special assistant to the under-secretary-general for peacekeeping operations. From 1991 to 1996, Tharoor led the team responsible for UN peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia.

Tharoor is also a celebrated author who has written six critically acclaimed books and numerous articles and reviews for publications around the world. His most recent work, Nehru: The Invention of India, is a scholarly reappraisal of the life of India’s first prime minister, released in November 2003. His 1992 novel Show Business was made into the motion picture Bollywood.

A national of India, Tharoor has won numerous journalism and literary awards including a Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. He 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.

Ralphe Bunche, an African American, received his doctorate from Harvard in 1934 and was the first person of colour to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He served as director of the Division of Trusteeship in the early years of the UN. He was awarded the 1950 prize for his role as a mediator in Palestine in 1948.