Indian American Arora Akanksha, 34, running for UN chief

Updated on Feb 27, 2021 04:56 PM IST
Born in the northern state of Haryana, Akanksha moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was six years old. She studied at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she received a bachelor’s degree in administrative studies.
Arora Akanksha(Image via social media)
Arora Akanksha(Image via social media)
By | Edited by Mallika Soni

Arora Akanksha, a 34-year-old staff member who works as an audit coordinator for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has announced her candidacy for UN secretary-general and is set to be the only candidate running against incumbent António Guterres. Although she has no national backing for her candidacy yet, Akanksha launched her grass-roots campaign called UNOW on Twitter and other social media platforms on February 9.

Akanksha said that her opponent Guterres has failed as the secretary general of the United Nations. “He’s failed as a leader in reforming the institution. He’s failed as a leader to refugees; he was leading the refugee agency before coming here, so he knows the plight of refugees. He knows their pain, hope, better than most of us, because he served them. Yet when he came, he didn’t make any decision to prioritise resources to them,” she said.

Who is Arora Akanksha?

Born in the northern state of Haryana, Akanksha moved with her family to Saudi Arabia when she was six years old. She studied at York University in Toronto, Canada, where she received a bachelor’s degree in administrative studies. She also has a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. Akanksha also holds an Overseas Citizenship Of India (OCI) and a Canadian passport, although she hasn’t asked either country for an official endorsement.

Read more: US senator bats for including India in Trans-Pacific Partnership

She was recruited by the UN to help with the financial reforms of the organisation and was also responsible for updating financial regulations and rules of the UN as well as managing the internal and external audits at UNDP.

‘United Nations is risk-averse’

Akanksha, who is self-financing her campaign according to one of her campaign videos, said that during her work at the UN she has become increasingly disillusioned with the inability of the UN to create change and the organisation is not fulfilling its original mission as stated in the UN Charter.

“I had been part of the reforms team for two years, and I had access to the upper echelon of our leadership,” Akanksha said, adding that she saw “how they are so risk-averse…”

‘Half of the world population is under 30’

Despite her lack of experience in foreign and government affairs, Akanksha is unafraid as she feels that her age will play to her advantage. “I think something we have to realise is half of the world population is under 30 right now,” she said.

“So you would want a leader who knows what it’s like to be in that age group to be suffering, not having the economic freedom to do everything you want, not having the ability to get the opportunities that you deserve. If you want to see different results, you have to do things differently,” she said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man, who stabbed Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie in New York on Friday.

    Salman Rushdie's attacker Hadi Matar charged with attempted murder, assault

    Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old New Jersey man who stabbed Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie in New York on Friday, has been charged with 'attempted murder and assault in the second degree', the Chautauqua Country district attorney's office said on Saturday. Matar was born and raised in the US, the head of the local municipality, Ali Qassem Tahfa, told news agency AFP. Rushdie remained hospitalised in serious condition.

  • Healthcare and LGBTQ rights activists hold a rally outside the San Francisco Federal Building in San Francisco, US, to demand an increase in monkeypox vaccines and treatments as the outbreak continues to spread. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)

    Monkeypox: WHO creates forum, asks public to propose new name for virus

    The WHO has been in the process of renaming monkeypox since June alongside other efforts to urge the global community not to have any stereotypes around it. The zoonotic disease is disproportionately affecting men in sexual relationships with men and spreads via close contact.

  • Since the 1980s, Rushdie’s writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.

    Salman Rushdie: The free speech champion whose 'verses' put his life at risk

    A Booker Prize that catapulted him to the pantheon of global literary stalwarts to a fatwa by Iran's Supreme Leader that forced him into hiding and years of death threats, Mumbai-born author Salman Rushdie was both idolised and demonised for a singular trait that defined his life and works -- championing free speech. His memoir is Joseph Anton, named for the pseudonym he used while in hiding.

  • Indian-British author Salman Rushdie.

    Iran's hardline newspapers praise Salman Rushdie's attacker Hadi Matar

    While Iran is yet to make an official statement on the attack on 'The Satanic Verses' author Salman Rushdie, several hardline newspapers in the country on Saturday openly praiseRushdie'ser. Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and torso on Friday while onstage at a lecture in New York state by Hadi Matar, a man from Fairview, New Jersey, who had bought a pass to the event at the Chautauqua Institution.

  • The Mumbai-born writer, who faced Islamist death threats for years after writing "The Satanic Verses", was stabbed by a 24-year-old New Jersey resident identified as Hadi Matar on stage.

    Salman Rushdie had once complained about ‘too much security’: Report

    Read French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo slams Salman Rushdie, who was attacked and stabbed on stage at a literary event here stabbing A bloodied Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery. In 2001, Rushdie publicly complained about having too much security around him, The New York Post reported.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, August 13, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now