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Cohen Lecture will examine role of United Nations

Sashi Tharoor will deliver this year's Cohen Lecture.

Shashi Tharoor, the Indian national who serves as Under-Secretary General for Communications and Public Information at the United Nations, will discuss the relevance of the 60-year-old international diplomatic body when he delivers the 19th Annual Cohen Lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 14 in Zoellner Arts Center’s Baker Hall.

The lecture is free and open to the public

Tharoor, whose United Nations career began in 1978, 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.

When Tharoor joined the U.N. nearly 30 years ago, he initially served on the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and was head of the UNHCR office in Singapore (1981-1984) during the peak of the Vietnamese "boat people" crisis.

He has since served as special assistant to the Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations and has assisted two successive heads of U.N. peacekeeping operations in managing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution following the Cold War.

From 1991 to 1996, he led the team in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations responsible for the United Nations operations in the former Yugoslavia. In 2003, the Secretary-General appointed him United Nations Coordinator for Multilingualism.

”Global Leader of Tomorrow”

Tharoor, the recipient of several journalism and literary awards, is the author of eight books, including Reasons of State, a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy making; The Great Indian Novel, a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smith and Other Stories, a collection of short stories; Show Business, a satire of the Bombay film industry that was subsequently adapted into the motion picture Bollywood; and India: From Midnight to the Millennium, a historical commentary of India published on the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.

He has also authored numerous articles, op-eds and literary reviews in a wide range of publications.

In January 1998, he was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a "Global Leader of Tomorrow." Tharoor 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.

Born in London in 1956, 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. He was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs by the University of Puget Sound.

The Cohen International Relations Lecture Series was established in 1986 by Bernard L. ’36 and Bertha Cohen to bring thought-provoking speakers to the Lehigh Valley.

Previous speakers at Lehigh included former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Canadian Prime Minster Kim Campbell, Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka, former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, former U.S. Sen. George J. Mitchell of Maine, and retired U.S. Marine General and former U.S. Peace Envoy to the Mideast Anthony Zinni.

For more information about the lecture, contact Stephanie Bodnar, University Events, at (610) 758-3898.

--Linda Harbrecht

Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005

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