Thalif Deen, is director and senior editor of the UN Bureau for Inter Press Service news agency. Deen has been covering the UN 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, social and economic development, food security, humanitarian aid, nuclear disarmament, water, energy and education. As the former UN bureau chief for InterPress Service, he was cited twice for excellence in UN reporting at the annual awards presentation of the UN Correspondents' Association. In November 2012, he was on the IPS team that won the prestigious gold medal for reporting on the global environment; in 2013, he shared the gold medal with the UN bureau chief of Reuters news agency for his reporting on the humanitarian and development work of the UN. A former information officer with the UN Secretariat, he served twice as a member of the Sri Lanka delegation to the UN General Assembly sessions. He is a Fulbright scholar with a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.