On 1 October 2015, UNU will host “The UN at 70 — Still Relevant?”, a conversation with Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of the Parliament of India, Chairman of India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, and former United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Public Information. This event will start at 6:30 p.m. at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo.
The United Nations was established in 1945 by a world ravaged by half a century of conflict, two world wars, innumerable civil wars and the horrors of the Holocaust and Hiroshima. It was the linchpin of a new international system designed by the far-seeing statesmen of the era to represent an international law-based alternative to the military alliances, balance-of-power politics and widespread mistrust and hostility that had characterized the first half of the 20th century.
Drawing from his 29-year experience of a UN in transformation, Dr Shashi Tharoor will join UNU Rector David M. Malone for a conversation exploring the debates about the UN’s role and relevance at 70 and its future prospects. Criticisms of the UN’s structure and functioning from the United States are now being complemented by the frustration of emerging countries that have been denied a place at the UN’s high table, the Security Council. Calls for reform, if not radical reinvention, are being heard. Is the UN still relevant in a world dramatically different from that in which it was founded?
The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.
Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 30 September) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.
Dr Shashi Tharoor is the bestselling author of fifteen books, both fiction and non-fiction, including, most recently, India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in our Time, besides being a noted critic and columnist, and a former Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. He served 29 years at the UN, culminating as Under-Secretary-General for Public Information under Kofi Annan’s leadership of the organization.
As India’s official candidate to succeed Annan as UN Secretary-General, he emerged a strong second (to Ban Ki-moon) out of seven contenders. On returning to India he contested the 2009 elections on behalf of the Indian National Congress, and was elected to Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Re-elected in 2014, he chairs the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs.
Dr Tharoor’s books include the path-breaking satire The Great Indian Novel (1989), the classic India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997) and the visionary Pax Indica: India and the World of the 21st Century (2012), as well as India Shastra (2015). He has won numerous literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, he was honoured as “New Age Politician of the Year” in 2010, and he pioneered the use of Twitter among Indian politicians, where he has three million followers as of 2015.
Dr Tharoor earned his PhD at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at the age of 22, and was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998 as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow”. He was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for overseas Indians.
2F Reception Hall
United Nations University
53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925