Veteran Journalist Thalif Deen Takes Over as IDN Advisor

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN (IDN) — Veteran journalist Thalif Deen has been appointed IDN-InDepthNews Advisor on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Arms Control Issues & Senior Writer at the United Nations. IDN is the flagship of the Non-profit global media agency International Press Syndicate. He has been covering the United Nations since the late 1970s.

Beginning with the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, he has covered virtually every major UN conference: on population, human rights, the environment, sustainable development, food security, humanitarian aid, arms control and nuclear disarmament.

As the former UN Bureau Chief for Inter Press Service (IPS) news agency, Deen was cited twice for excellence in UN reporting at the annual awards presentation of the UN Correspondents’ Association (UNCA). In November 2012, he was on the IPS team which won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment—and in 2013, he shared the gold, this time with the UN Bureau Chief of Reuters news agency, for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the United Nations.

A former information officer at the UN Secretariat, he served twice as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions. His track record includes a stint as deputy news editor of the Sri Lanka Daily News and senior editorial writer on the Hong Kong Standard.

As military analyst, Deen was also Director, Foreign Military Markets at Defense Marketing Services; Senior Defense Analyst at Forecast International; and military editor Middle East/Africa at Jane’s Information Group. He was a longstanding columnist for the Sri Lanka Sunday Times, U.N. correspondent for Asiaweek, Hong Kong and Jane’s Defence Weekly, London.

A Fulbright scholar with a Master’s Degree (MSc) in Journalism from Columbia University, New York, he is co-author of the 1981 book on “How to Survive a Nuclear Disaster” and author of the 2021 book on the United Nations titled “No Comment – and Don’t Quote me on That”—and subtitled ‘from the Sublime to the Hilarious’, both of which are available on Amazon: email:

IDN carries a few excerpts from Deen’s book on the link

“Working at the UN during the most dramatic events of our timefrom the pursuit of war and peace in the Middle East to the humanitarian disasters in Africa and Asia, this book provides an insider’s view on what went on behind the ‘glass curtain’ during a period of extraordinary turbulence,” writes Roderic Grigson in a book review.

No Comment is told through a series of news stories, interviews, anecdotes, and personal recollections. This compelling page-turner is held together by flashes of surprising humour and an overarching third world focus and point of view.

Though the book’s scenes are scattered, they are individually memorable, evoking amazement and laughter in the same breath. Deen’s colleagues know him “as a raconteur, often entertaining guests at various functions and parties with stories from his vast array of yarns, and this comes through his narrative in abundance”. [IDN-InDepthNews — 19 September 2021]

Photo: Thalif Deen

Scroll to Top