Indian-origin UN employee, Arora Akanksha declares candidature for next Secretary-General

An Indian-origin employee at the UN has announced her candidacy to be the next Secretary-General, the first person to throw her hat in the ring against incumbent Antonio Guterres, who is seeking a second five-year term beginning January 2022 as chief of the world organisation.

Arora Akanksha, 34, working as an audit coordinator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said she will run for the post of the world’s top diplomat and launched her campaign #AroraForSG this month.

“People in my position aren’t supposed to stand up to the ones in charge. We are supposed to wait our turn, hop on the hamster wheel, go to work, keep our heads down and accept that the world is the way it is,” Akanksha said in a two and half minute campaign video posted online. “For 75 years, the UN has not fulfilled its promise to the world – refugees haven’t been protected, humanitarian aid has been minimal, and technology and innovation have been on the back-burner. We deserve a UN that leads progress,” she added. “That is why I am running for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. I refuse to be a bystander. I will not accept this is the best the UN can do,” she said in the video.

Last month Guterres, 71 had confirmed that he will seek a second five-year term as chief of the world organisation. Guterres’s first term ends on December 31 this year and the term of the next Secretary-General will begin on January 1, 2022. Guterres assumed office on January 1, 2017, after a reformed selection process that included a public informal dialogue session in the General Assembly. Guterres is the 9th Secretary-General of the United Nations and no woman has held the position of the world’s top diplomat in the 75-year history of the United Nations.

In the video, Akanksha adds that it is time that the UN stop serving politicians and start serving people. “It is time for a new UN – a UN that is a guardian for refugees takes humanitarian crises through to completion and gets technology and education in the hands of all.” She said these ideas are not impossible and don’t need another 75 years to accomplish.

According to her profile on her website, Akanksha graduated from York University, Toronto with a Bachelor of Administrative Studies. She received her Master in Public Administration from Columbia University. Her profile states that she was recruited at the UN to “help with the financial reforms of the organisation” and her work included updating financial regulations and rules of the UN and managing the internal and external audits at UNDP.

The Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Security Council, making the Secretary-General’s selection subject to the veto of any of the five permanent members of the Council.

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