Former diplomat & Padma Shri awardee Kanwal Sibal likely to take over as JNU chancellor

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New Delhi: Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal is set to take over as the new chancellor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. While the university is yet to issue an official statement on the appointment, officials at the ministry of education confirmed the same to ThePrint Saturday.

Earlier, Amitabh Mattoo, professor of Disarmament studies at the Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), at JNU’s School of International Studies, had confirmed the appointment on social media Friday evening. 

— Amitabh Mattoo (@amitabhmattoo) September 15, 2023

Sibal, who has served as the Indian ambassador to France, Russia, Egypt and Turkey, is yet to give any official statement on his appointment. He will succeed Vijay Kumar Saraswat, member of the federal think tank, NITI Aayog.

ThePrint reached Sibal via email. This report will be updated once a response is received.  

In 2017, Sibal was awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian honour. 

According to the JNU Act, the chancellor is appointed by the President for a period of five years and serves as the head of the institution. The Act reads, “The Chancellor shall be appointed by the Visitor (President) from a panel of not less than three persons recommended by the Executive Council.” 

The Act also says that the Chancellor will, if present, preside at the convocation of the university for conferring degrees, and will also be the competent authority to sanction leave to the vice-chancellor.

Sibal, a noted figure in the Indian diplomacy circuit, currently serves on the board of the New York-based East-West Institute and is a member of the executive council of the Vivekananda International Foundation. 

He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1966 and served as the foreign secretary to the Government of India from July 2002 to November 2003. 

He also served as a member of the National Security Advisory Board from 2008 to 2010.

(Edited by Smriti Sinha)

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