UN Director of Communications and Special Projects Chosen as UPS Commencement Speaker

“Shashi Tharoor, director of communications and special projects in the office of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, has been chosen as the speaker for the University of Puget Sound’s commencement ceremony on May 14.Tharoor directs the organization’s communications strategy, with particular responsibility for ensuring the coherence and effectiveness of the external message of the United Nations. Maintaining contact with local and international media, he also undertakes special projects for the Secretary-General on a range of other issues, including human rights.Prior to this assignment, Tharoor served as special assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peace-keeping Operations. In this capacity, he assisted two successive heads of United Nations peace-keeping in managing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution in peace-keeping at the end of the Cold War. From 1991-96, he led the team responsible for the United Nations peace-keeping operations in the former Yugoslavia.Tharoor’s United Nations experience began in 1978 on the staff of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), including two stints at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva and three-and-a-half years as head of the UNHCR office in Singapore at the peak of the Vietnamese boat people crisis.Tharoor is the author of five books, as well as numerous articles, op-eds and reviews in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, The Times of India, The Indian Express and Foreign Affairs.His most recent book, India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), a study of Indian politics, society and economic development after independence, was selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.Tharoor’s earlier books include Reasons of State (1982), a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy making, The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire, and The Five-Dollar Smile and other Stories (1993), a collection of short fiction. A second novel, Show Business (1992), received front-page acclaim in the New York Times Book Review and was made into a motion picture, Bollywood.Born in London in 1956, Tharoor was educated in India and the United States. He completed a Ph.D. in 1978 at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he also earned two master’s degrees.Tharoor is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London; the India International Center, New Delhi; and the American PEN Centre. He serves on the Board of the Indian-American Arts Council, New York, and is an elected Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities.The University of Puget Sound commencement ceremony will start at 2:00 p.m. in the University’s Baker Stadium, 1500 N. Warner Street, in Tacoma.”