A national of India, Shashi Tharoor, 46, will serve as Under-Secretary-General for Communication and Public Information after spearheading a reform process in the Department as its Interim Head since January 2001. Mr. Tharoor, who has a distinguished career both at the UN and as an author in his own right, has worked closely with the Secretary-General for many years, serving as his Special Assistant when Mr. Annan held key positions in UN peacekeeping, which at the time was facing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution at the end of the Cold War, especially during UN operations in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s. In 1997-98, Mr. Tharoor was Executive Assistant to the Secretary-General and during the next three years served as Director of Communications and Special Projects in Mr. Annan’s Office. Mr. Tharoor began his career with the UN in 1978 when he joined the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), serving both at its Geneva headquarters, and as head of the agency’s office in Singapore at the peak of the Vietnamese “boat people” crisis.Outside of his UN career, Mr. Tharoor has authored six books, including the award-winning political satire The Great Indian Novel, published in 1989, and India: From Midnight to the Millennium, published in 1997, a study of Indian politics, society and economic development after independence. 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, 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 Tufts University, where he also earned two Master’s degrees.