UN Messenger of Peace and EU Ambassador for Culture 2008; Special Adviser, UNESCO Programme on Spiritual Convergences and Intercultural Dialogues. Member of the Board: Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship; Doha Center for Media Freedom. Member, Int'l Advisory Council, Harvard Int'l Negotiation Initiative. Author of books including: The Pilgrimage (1987); The Alchemist (1988); By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept (1994); The Fifth Mountain (1996); The Manual of the Warrior of the Light (1996); Veronika Decides to Die (1998); Eleven Minutes (2003); The Zahir (2005), The Witch of Portobello (2006), The Winner Stands Alone (2008), Aleph (2010). Recipient of numerous awards, including: Officier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, France (2003).