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Peace and Governance Programme
Ramesh Thakur is a political scientist and peace researcher. He was appointed by UNU Rector Hans van Ginkel to the position of Vice-Rector on 1 April 1998, and was promoted to Senior Vice-Rector at the Assistant Secretary-General level in October 2003. Professor Thakur is a member of the UNU's senior academic staff and works as part of the University's Peace and Governance Programme.
Prof. Thakur was born in India on 23 November 1948. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Calcutta, he immigrated to Canada where he earned his Ph.D. in political studies at Queen's University.
Prof. Thakur moved to New Zealand in 1980 were he joined the University of Otago as a Lecturer in the Department of Political Studies. In recognition of his research achievements, he was appointed to Associate Professor and then Professor. He also served intermittently as the department's Acting Head. In 1992, the University granted him a Personal Chair in International Relations. He had three significant administrative accomplishments during his 16 years at Otago. First, he helped to establish the annual Otago Foreign Policy School as the preeminent forum for foreign policy debate in New Zealand. Second, he set up an inter-disciplinary major in Asian Studies. And third, he chaired the Panel to Review University Extension.
In 1995, he was appointed to Head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University. While at the Centre he was involved with policy-oriented research, workshops and dissemination on numerous undertakings, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. He was also a consultant to the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.
Prof. Thakur has taken on various responsibilities during his career with national bodies in New Zealand and in Australia. He was a member of the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control-a statutory body chaired by the Minister of Arms Control and Disarmament to aid and advise the Government of New Zealand on security issues. He is currently a member of its Australia counterpart, the National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament. He was also the External Moderator, on behalf of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, for a diploma and degree programme in International Relations at the International Pacific College, prior and subsequent to the College's establishment.
Prof. Thakur is the author of numerous peace-related publications. His books include 14 volumes in print and an edited collection of papers from the ARF Track Two Seminar on Non-Proliferation, which was held in Jakarta in 1996 and which he helped organize and chair. He has published more than 100 journal essays and book chapters. And he has had several articles printed in The International Herald Tribune, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Australian, and The Australian Financial Review.
His wife's name is Bernadette. They have two children, Sanjay and Simon.