International statesman, His Excellency Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary-General and former Indian High Commissioner in London, took up the post of Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast on 10 December 2009.
Mr Sharma was educated at Modern School and St Stephen’s College, Delhi and at King’s College, Cambridge University, where he read Literature. He is a Fellow at Harvard University, a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation and a former Director of the International Peace Academy in New York. He was awarded a medal for services to internationalism by the Foreign Policy Association of the United States.
A Champion for education and human rights, his special interests lie in the empowerment of young people, the advancement of women’s rights, and the eradication of poverty.
He was a member of the Indian Foreign Service from 1965 to 2001, serving at ambassadorial level in five missions. From 1988 to 1990 he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. In the late 1990s, he was closely engaged in the process which led to the formulation and adoption of the Millennium Development Goals. From 2002 to 2004 he was the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Timor Leste, strengthening internal security and public administration, including justice, financial administration, policing and protection of human rights. He was appointed India’s High Commissioner in London in 2004 and elected as Secretary General of the Commonwealth in 2007.
As High Commissioner in London, he cemented close links between Northern Ireland and India - it is a relationship which has resulted in India becoming the second largest inward investor in the Northern Ireland economy.
Mr Sharma edited Mille Fleurs – Poetry From Around The World, and Imagining Tomorrow – Rethinking the Global Challenge, featuring articles by prominent thinkers on challenges faced by the international community in the era of globalisation.
He is married with two adult children. His interests are in spiritual and mystical traditions, literature, cosmology, cricket, Indian and Western classical music and jazz.