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Dr.  Shashi  THAROOR

Member of Parliament, India

"​Technology offers both a hope and a danger. The worldwide web is bringing us all closer together with rapid and inexpensive communications; it is helping farmers in developing countries tap into market opportunities in the developed world. But the gap between the technological haves and have-nots is widening, both between countries and within them. The Information Revolution, like the French Revolution, is a revolution with a lot of liberté, some fraternité, and no egalité. So the poverty line is not the only line about which we have to think; there is also the high-speed digital line, the fibre optic line — all the lines that are transforming so many lives but leaving so many more others out. There are still too many who are literally not plugged in to the possibilities of our brave new world. That is why broadband is so important."

Dr Shashi Tharoor is an elected Member of Parliament and a former Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. A prize-winning author of twelve books, both fiction and non-fiction, he is also a widely-published critic, commentator and columnist.

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. 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." Among his many awards is the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for overseas Indians.