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Hon. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen AFGHANISTAN - Hon. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen

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.


Hon. Kamal Hossain BANGLADESH - Hon. Kamal Hossain

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.


Hon. Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup BHUTAN - Hon. Lyonpo Sangay Ngedup

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.

Hon. Mani Shankar Aiyar

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 grown-up daughters.


MALDIVES - Hon. Ahmed Shaheed

To be added

Dr. Rita Thapa 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.


Prof. Salima  Hashmi PAKISTAN - Prof. Salima Hashmi

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.

Hon. Mangala Samaraweera.jpg SRI LANKA - Hon. Mangala Samaraweera

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 & Textile 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.

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