Prof David R Syiemlieh, an eminent historian from Northeast who taught courses on capitalism and imperialism, modern Indian history and also the history of Christianity in Northeast India, will be the new chairman of Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), a body that conducts the prestigious examination for selecting IAS, IFS, IPS, IRS recruits, among others. President of India on Monday appointed Prof Syiemlieh, currently a Member of UPSC, as its chairman with effect from the forenoon of January 4, 2017 till further orders or till the completion of his term as UPSC member on January 21, 2018, whichever is earlier. A graduate with history honours from…Shillong’s St Edmund's college, Syiemlieh is a PhD in history from North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), located in Meghalaya’s capital city, Shillong. In academics, he first joined as a lecturer in St Edmund’s college and then became a faculty member of NEHU where he was a professor in the department of history and then registrar and pro-vice-Chancellor. Later, Prof Syiemlieh was appointed as vice chancellor of Rajiv Gandhi University, located at Doimukh, near Arunachal Pradesh’s capital city Itanagar.
Prof Syiemlieh authored a number of books in history, but as mentioned in his Wikipedia profile, he is credited with “discovering the date of death and other details of the last days of Tirot Sing, the Khasi chief of Nongkhlaw who resisted British colonial expansion and locating the grave in Calcutta of Thomas Jones, the Welsh missionary who first arrived in the Khasi Hills”. He has also been associated with Indian Council for Social Science Research and Indian Council of Historical Research.
He received Senior Fulbright Fellowship for research in the US, and was affiliated to Notre Dame University. He also received Charles Wallace Grant for research in the UK and then Indo-France Cultural Exchange grant for research in Paris. As many as 14 scholars under his guidance successfully completed M Phil in history, and another eight scholars mentored by him received PhD degrees. He also prepared and presented a paper on “Enhancing the Efficiency of Civil Servants through Capacity Development of Civil Servants” at an international conference at Baku, Azerbaijan in 2014.
Prof Syiemlieh was appointed as UPSC Member in June 2012.