Global affairs expert to deliver UCSC's 2007 Maitra Lecture at Montalvo on Nov. 2

Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Shashi Tharoor will present the 2007 Maitra Lecture at the Montalvo Arts Center on November 2. (Download a high-resolution jpg)

UC Santa Cruz and Montalvo Arts Center will present the seventh annual Sidhartha Maitra Endowed Lecture--featuring global affairs expert and award-winning author Shashi Tharoor--on Friday, November 2, at 7 p.m, in the Carriage House Theater at Montalvo.

The chairman of Dubai-based Afras Ventures and former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Tharoor will present an insider's look at the topic of "Globalism, Terrorism, and the Human Imagination."

Tharoor was the official candidate of India to succeed UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006, and came in a close second out of seven contenders in the race. His career began in 1978 when he joined the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Tharoor went on to assume key responsibilities in peace-keeping after the Cold War and to work as a senior adviser to the UN Secretary-General.

Tharoor is the author of nine books and hundreds of articles, op-eds and book reviews for a wide range of publications that include the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, International Herald Tribune, Time, Newsweek and The Times of India. He has served for two years as a contributing editor and occasional columnist for Newsweek International. For the past six years, he has also authored a column in The Hindu and, since January, in The Times of India.

Tharoor's six non-fiction books include Reasons of State (1981), a study of Indian foreign-policy making; India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), which was cited by President Clinton in his address to the Indian Parliament; Nehru: The Invention of India (2003), a biography of India's first prime minister; Bookless in Baghdad (2005), a collection of literary essays; and The Elephant, the Tiger, & the Cell Phone (2007), a look at how India has rapidly moved from a largely underdeveloped country to a bustling, innovative society.

His three novels are the classic The Great Indian Novel (1989), which is required reading in several courses on post-colonial literature; Riot (2001), a searing examination of Hindu-Muslim violence in contemporary India; and Show Business (1992), which received a front-page accolade in the New York Times Book Review and has since been made into the motion picture, Bollywood.

In 1998, Tharoor was named a "Global Leader of Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He is the recipient of a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and in 2004 received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award from the president of India. Tharoor serves on the advisory boards of the World Policy Journal, the Virtue Foundation and the human rights organization Breakthrough. He is also a Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities.

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. A compelling and effective speaker, Tharoor is fluent in English and French. His books have been translated into French, German, Italian, Malayalam, Marathi, Polish, Romanian, Russian and Spanish.

The Sidhartha Maitra Memorial Lecture at UCSC was established in 2001 by former UC Santa Cruz Foundation President Anuradha Luther Maitra to honor the memory of her late husband, who was a distinguished scientist and visionary entrepreneur.

"This is a very personal lecture series," Luther noted. "The university trusts me to suggest a speaker; I trust the speaker to select a topic and present a perspective that is consistent with the views of my late husband. Shashi is a perfect choice--people have only to come hear him to know why."

Tickets are $25 per person, $15 for students with ID, available online at or by calling the Montalvo Box Office at (408) 961-5858.

Note: Those attending the lecture are welcome to arrive one hour early to preview an exhibition titled Moments from 20th Century Iraqi Art, which will open the following day at the Montalvo Arts Center.