Shashi Tharoor

An elected member of parliament, former minister of state for external affairs and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations, Shashi Tharoor is now the Minister of State for Human Resource Development. The prize-winning author of twelve previous books, both fiction and non-fiction, a widely published critic, commentator and columnist, he served the United Nations during a twenty-nine-year career in refugee work and peace-keeping at the Secretary-General's office and heading communications and public information.

In 2006 he was India's candidate to succeed Kofi Annan as UN-Secretary-General, and emerged a strong second out of seven contenders. He has won India's highest honour for overseas Indians, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, and numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize.