Today’s TOI reports about the growing support for Shashi Tharoor to be nominated for the position of the Secretary General of the United Nations. Kofi Annan steps down in December 2006, when his second four year term expires.
Author and senior UN official, Shashi Tharoor, may be India’s candidate for the UN secretary-general after the term of Kofi Annan expires. The government is expected to announce its support for Tharoor, currently the UN under secretary-general for communications, soon.
The idea, which has been in circulation seems to be acquiring a concrete shape, according to sources. In fact, India has even been informally sounding out other nations before endorsing Tharoor’s declared ambition to head the UN.
UN corridors have been buzzing with the possibility of Tharoor’s elevation for some time — particularly since in the informal rotation scheme that is followed, this is Asia’s turn to put a secretary-general in place at Turtle Bay. [ link ]
Shashi Tharoor, besides being a great author, has been a career diplomat at the United Nations. As his bio-data page on the UN website informs
is Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information and has led the Department of Public Information (DPI) since January 2001. In this capacity, he is in charge of the Organization’s communications strategy, with particular responsibility for ensuring the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations’ external message.
Prior to joining DPI, Mr. Tharoor served as Director of Communications and Special Projects in the Office of the Secretary-General and as Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General (1997-2001). As Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (1989-1996), he assisted two successive heads of United Nations peacekeeping operations in managing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution in peacekeeping at the end of the cold war. From 1991 to 1996, he led the team in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations responsible for the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. In 2003, the Secretary-General appointed him United Nations Coordinator for Multilingualism.
Mr. Tharoor’s United Nations career began in 1978 on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva. He was Head of the UNHCR office in Singapore (1981-1984) during the peak of the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis.
Having had the opportunity to hear Shashi Tharoor speak on various occassions, I must say that I am thoroughly impressed by his clarity of thought. I am really optimistic of him getting elected to the UN. It would be a great fillip for the worlds biggest democracy to send its own to head the world body.
If you havent read Shashi’s book, this is one I highly recommend