Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar is a former Indian diplomat turned politician. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1963 and served as Joint Secretary to Government of India. He later resigned from service in 1989 to take up a career in politics and media, entering the Parliament as Congress MP from Mayiladuthurai in 1991, 1999 and 2004. Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar has served as the Union Minister of Panchayati Raj from 2004 to 2009. He served as the Union Cabinet Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas from 2004 to 2006 and Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports till 2009. He was also the first Minister of Development of North Eastern Region. He received an Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, from the President of India, for the year 2006. As nominated Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), he served from 2010 to 2016. In a rare honour, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar has been made an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall at his alma mater Cambridge University in recognition of his contribution to the ‘diplomatic and political life of the world's largest democracy’.