Krishnamurti Rangaswami Krishnamurti, a former United Nations Director who was instrumental to the creation of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), passed away on Thursday of natural causes. He was 95 years old. Mr. Krishnamurti passed away peacefully at his home in Columbus, Ohio on July 18, 2013. He enjoyed a vibrant and active life along with a long and distinguished career with the United Nations. Mr. Krishnamurti was born in Tamil Nadu, India, to a very modest family with limited economic means but rich in culture and tradition. His early years were spent at the Ramakrishna Mission Student's Home, a school for orphans and destitutes, and through sheer dint of discipline, hard work, and intellectual brilliance, paved his way through numerous challenges to reach the highest echelons as an international civil servant and Economist - initially as a Journalist, and then the UN. He became a global citizen and internationalist after emerging from a small village in South India. Starting with the UN Economic Commission for Asia and Far East (ECAFE) in Shanghai in 1945, he moved with the office to Bangkok, Thailand, where he rose to the position of Chief, International Trade Division. In this capacity he played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) during the administration of President Lyndon Johnson. At the invitation of the President of the ADB, he authored a book on the history of the Bank's formative years titled: ADB - The Seeding Days. While still with ECAFE he was seconded to work with Dr. Raul Prebisch (who eventually became the first Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)) to assist with the founding and establishment of UNCTAD in Geneva in 1964. Mr. Krishnamurti was a natural choice to join UNCTAD at its inception and quickly rose within the organization to become Director of the Manufactures Division, later Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary General, and eventually Head of the UNCTAD office at UN headquarters in New York. While at UNCTAD he was instrumental in the formulation of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), a pioneering international trade framework for stimulating and promoting economic growth for emerging and developing economies. The GSP is to this day still a cornerstone of international trade. Mr. Krishnamurti was featured prominently in the authoritative book by Ed Dosman on the creation of UNCTAD titled: The Life and Times of Raul Prebisch. He was an active mentor to numerous professionals and practitioners of international trade and economic development until his final days. In fact, many former senior colleagues and friends including Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India, received the news of Mr. Krishnamurti's passing with great sadness. Along with his illustrious career, Mr. Krishnamurti was an avid sports aficionado who enjoyed watching tennis, cricket and boxing, among other sports. Additionally, he shared a love of fine arts with his wife, and was extremely knowledgeable about the finer points and nuances of Indian classical music and dance by virtue of his rich "Tanjore" heritage. Over the course of 95 years, through his personal life and career he touched hundreds of people and served as an inspiration to many generations of family members, friends, and colleagues. He was the "Grand Patriarch" to the extended family and many friends. He left a legacy of excellence, kindness, generosity, and integrity, and will be greatly missed by all of those who had the privilege of having his acquaintance. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Meenakshi Krishnamurti; three children; six grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. RUTHERFORD FUNERAL HOME AT POWELL, assisted the family 614-792-1471.
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Published in The Columbus Dispatch on July 21, 2013
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