|Born in London in 1956, Shashi Tharoor was educated in Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi (BA in History, St. Stephen's College), and the United States (he got his PhD at the age of 22 from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University).
Since 1978, he has worked for the United Nations, serving with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, whose Singapore office he headed during the "boat people" crisis. Since October 1989, he has been a senior official at UN HQ in New York, where, until late 1996, he was responsible for peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia.
From January 1997 to July 1998, he was executive assistant to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In July 1998, he was appointed director of communications and special projects in the office of the Secretary-General. In January 2001, he was appointed by the Secretary-General as interim head of the Dept. of Public Information.
On 1 June 2002, he was confirmed as the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information of the United Nations. Tharoor is the author of nine books, as well as numerous articles, short stories and commentaries in Indian and Western publications. His books include Reasons of State (1982), a scholarly study of Indian foreign policy; The Great Indian Novel (1989), a political satire; The Five-Dollar Smile & Other Stories (1990); a second novel, Show Business (1992), which received a front-page accolade from The New York Times Book Review and was made into a motion picture titled Bollywood; India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), published on the 50th anniversary of India's independence and cited by President Clinton in his address to the Indian Parliament; Riot (2001), a novel about Hindu-Muslim violence in India; Nehru: the Invention of India (2003), a biography of India's first Prime Minister; and most recently, Bookless in Baghdad (2005), a collection of essays on writing and writers. He also co-authored, with the eminent painter M. F. Husain, a "coffee-table" book, Kerala: God's Own Country (2004).
Shashi Tharoor is the winner of numerous journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1991. In 1998, Shashi Tharoor was awarded the Excelsior Award for excellence in literature by the Association of Indians in America (AIA) and the Network of Indian Professionals (NetIP). He received the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in International Affairs from the University of Puget Sound in May 2000. In January 1998, he was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a Global Leader of Tomorrow.