||AFGHANISTAN - Hon. Sayed
Minister of Information and Culture of the Transitional
Government of Afghanistan was born in Kabul in 1946. Poet and author
of several books, Dr. Raheen has worked in the fields of culture,
literature, history and religion. Placed under house arrest following
the communist coup of April 1973, Dr. Raheen managed to migrate
to Pakistan, from where he strived to facilitate the liberation
of Afghanistan. A member of the drafting committee of the constitution
of the Republic of Afghanistan, Dr. Raheen participated in the Grand
National Assembly or Loya Jirga of 1976. Over the past decade, he
has been at the forefront of movements spearheading the need to
promote democracy in Afghanistan and oppose terrorism and talibanism.
||BANGLADESH - Hon. Kamal
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (1973-1975).
Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He was Chairman
of the Constitution Drafting Committee of Bangladesh (1972), Member
of Parliament (1973- 1975), Minister of Law (1972-1973), and is
currently United Nations Special Rapporteur on Afghanistan, and
Chairman of a Panel of the United Nations Compensation Commissions.
He is also Vice-Chairman, International Law Association, Chairman,
Advisory Council of Transparency International, and Chairman of
the Bangladesh Legal Aid & Services Trust.
||BHUTAN - Hon. Lyonpo Sangay
Minister for Agriculture of the Royal Government
of Bhutan. Former Minister for Health and Education, Lyonpo Sangay
Ngedup is an alumnus of St. Stephen's College and Jawaharlal Nehru
University, Delhi. Starting his career as a diplomat he rose to the
position of a Cabinet Minister in 1998. He also became the Chairman
of the Council of Minister for one year, under rotation, from July
1999 to July 2000.
INDIA - Hon. Mani Shankar Aiyar
Mani Shankar Aiyar was born in Lahore on 10 April 1941. After schooling
at Welham Preparatory School and the Doon School, Dehra Dun, he
went up to St.Stephen's College, Delhi where he took a first class
in Economics Honours standing first in the University. He went on
to do his MA in Economics from the University of Cambridge, UK,
where he was elected Secretary of the Union for the Easter Term
of 1963. While at Cambridge, he passed with distinction the Indian
Foreign Service exam and began his career as a diplomat as soon
as he came down. He was posted to the Embassy of India, Brussels
and later to the Consulate General of India in Hanoi. On returning
to India in 1969, he served in the fledgling Economic Division of
the Ministry of External Affairs, initially dealing with international
issues but, after the liberation of Bangladesh in December 1971,
with our bilateral economic relationship with the new-born country.
In between, he worked as Private Secretary to the Minister of Industrial
Development and Internal Trade. He returned to Brussels as first
secretary in the Indian Mission to the European Economic Community
and later moved to Baghdad as the Commercial Counsellor. His final
and most rewarding posting abroad was as Consul-General of India
in Karachi, Pakistan. On returning to India in 1982, he served successively
as Spokesperson of the Ministry and Head of Division, External Publicity,
then United Nations and finally the Americas, in addition to a brief
period as Information Adviser to the Information Minister. On Rajiv
Gandhi becoming Prime Minister, he was inducted into the Prime Minister's
Office, where the close rapport he developed with the Prime Minister
led to his seeking voluntary retirement from the IFS to pursue an
alternative career in politics. He was elected to the Lok Sabha
from the Tamil Nadu constituency of Mayiladuturai in 1991 and again
in 1999, but lost in 1996 and 1998. He was re-elected to the Lok
Sabha in 2004 and joined the Union Cabinet as Minister for
Panchayati Raj, Youth Afairs and Sports. He
was Special Invitee to the Congress Working Committee in charge
of the North Eastern Hill States and Chairman of the Congress Party's
Political Training Department from 1998 - 2004. He has been a columnist
with a variety of newspapers and magazines since December 1989.
He has published several books, including Remembering Rajiv, One
Year in Parliament, Pakistan Papers and Knickerwallahs, and has
also edited a four-volume publication "Rajiv Gandhi's India".
His latest book, "Confessions of a Secular Fundamentalist"
was published by Penguin in December 2004. He is married with three
||MALDIVES - Hon. Ahmed Shaheed
To be added
||NEPAL - Dr. Rita Thapa
Rita Thapa is Senior Health Policy Adviser
in Nepal's Ministry of Health, besides serving as member of the
National Health Sector Reform Committee, the National AIDS Council
and several other bodies. Earlier for 14 years she was with the
World Health Organisation (1986 to late 2001), serving in regional
capacities and at the WHO headquarters at Manila, Geneva, Kathmandu
and Delhi. Health systems, community health, reproductive health
and family planning and maternal and child health are among her
areas of specialisation.
||PAKISTAN - Prof. Salima
Dean, School of Visual Arts, Beaconhouse National
University, Lahore, Professor Salima Hashmi is a painter, art educationist,
writer and curator. She was educated at the National College of Arts
(NCA), Lahore, the Bath Academy of Art, U.K., and the Rhode Island
School of Design, USA. She taught for 30 years at NCA, Pakistan's
premier art institution, and retired as its Principal. She has exhibited
her own work, travelled and lectured extensively all over the world,
and has curated about a dozen international art shows in the U.K.,
Europe, the USA, Australia, Japan and India. She is a recipient of
The President's Award for Pride of Performance, Pakistan.
||SRI LANKA - Hon.
Born on April 21, 1956. Minister of Foreign
Affairs & the Minister of Ports and Aviation. Educated at Royal
College, Colombo and the Waltham Forest College, London. Design Consultant
to National Design Centre and Department of Small Industries &
Parliamentarian since 1989 and was appointed the Minister of Telecommunications
in 1994. He has held portfolios as Minister of Information and media,
Minister of Urban Development, Construction & Public Utilities
and the Deputy Minister of Finance during his career. Served as Chief
Opposition from 2002-2004. Represents Sri Lanka as an Executive Member
of UNESCO. The son of a prominent politician who also held a cabinet
ministerial position in the 1960s.