Dr Shashi Tharoor is Chairman of Dubai-based Afras Ventures; a prize-winning author of ten books, both fiction and non-fiction; and a widely-published critic, commentator and columnist (including for The Hindu, The Times of India and Newsweek). In 2007 he concluded a nearly 29-year career with the United Nations, including working for refugees in South-East Asia at the peak of the 'boat people' crisis, handling peace-keeping operations in the former Yugoslavia, and culminating as the Under-Secretary-General for 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. His books include the classic The Great Indian Novel (1989), India: From Midnight to the Millennium (1997), Nehru: The Invention of India (2003), and most recently, The Elephant, the Tiger, and the Cell phone: Reflections on 21st Century India (Fall 2007). Dr Tharoor earned his Ph.D. 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 honor for overseas Indians.