34-year-old India-born Akanksha Arora who works as UN’s Development Program audit coordinator recently announced her candidacy for UN-secretary-general. The last Indian person to run for the post of UN Secretary-General was Shashi Tharoor. Tharoor ran for the position in 2006, and after 14 years, another Indian is taking a shot at the prestigious position.
Who is Akanksha Arora?
Akanksha Arora was born in Haryana and moved to Saudi Arabia with her family when she was six years old. She then moved to Canada where she did her graduation at the York University, Toronto. She did her bachelor’s in administrative studies and later did her master’s in public administration from the Columbia University, USA. Although she hasn’t asked India or Canada for an official endorsement, she can do so as she is an Overseas Citizen and holds a Canadian Passport.
The 34-year-old UN auditor will be running against the only incumbent Antonio Guiterrez. Guiterrez, 71, is a veteran Portuguese diplomat who was the former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Akanksha announced her campaign called UNOW on Twitter recently.
— Arora Akanksha (@arora4people) February 17, 2021
A grandchild of two refugees, she prefers being called Arora. Recently she declared herself as the next United Nations leader with a $30,000 campaign budget that came from her savings.
— Arora Akanksha (@arora4people) February 9, 2021
In February, Akanksha submitted the formal letter of application for the position of United Nations Secretary-General. Her letter stated, “We are not living up to our purpose or our promise. We are failing those we are here to serve.”
Her letter of application went on to say that her opponent has failed as the United Nations leader.
“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,” said the letter.
According to Akanksha, the United Nations has a wasteful and patronizing attitude towards the younger members of the United Nations staff that has over 44,000 people across the world. In one of her campaign videos, she calls out the United Nation’s wasteful attitude referring to the fact that only 29 cents for a dollar from the United Nation’s annual revenue (approximately $56 billion), goes to the actual cases.
Akanksha holds the belief that the people associated with the United Nations spend most of their time holding conferences and writing reports. These activities, according to the prospective future Secretary-General, are frivolous. Had United Nation’s been a private organization, they would have been out of the business, according to Akanksha.
According to a New York Times report, Arora is the first person that has officially challenged an incumbent seeking a second term in the UN. She is also the first-millennial generation candidate for the secretary-general position. And if she wins, she will be the first woman to ever lead the United Nations.
But it may be a far-fetched dream for Akanksha. She has only worked at the United Nations for four years as an auditor. Moreover, she has had no diplomatic experience. Additionally, the 34-year-old Akanksha is less than half as old as António Guiterrez, the current U.N. Secretary-General. All these facts indicate to the fact that Arora doesn’t hold a solid ground in her contention for the United Nations Secretary-General.