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'I Refuse to Be a Bystander': Meet Indian-Origin Akanshka Arora, First Candidate for UN Chief Post

Screengrab from video.

Screengrab from video.

Akansha Arora in the video says, '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 has been on the back-burner. We deserve a UN that leads progress.'

An Indian-origin employee at the UN has announced her candidacy to be its 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,” Ms Akanksha said in a two-and-a-half minute campaign video posted online.

The video shows Ms Akanksha walking inside the sprawling UN headquarters, as her voiceover says that people who have come before her have “failed to hold the UN accountable”.

“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 has been on the back-burner. We deserve a UN that leads progress,” she says.

“That is why I am running for the Secretary-General of the United Nations. I refuse to be a by-stander. I will not accept this is the best the UN can do,” she says in the video.

Arora — she uses her family name first and prefers to be called Arora — said that as a grandchild of people who were once refugees, she was acutely aware of difficult odds, reports Economic Times.

Read more at:

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/international/world-news/who-is-arora-akanksha-the-34-year-old-running-for-un-secretary-general/articleshow/81233190.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

Last month Antonio Guterres, 71, had confirmed that he will seek a second five-year term as chief of the world organisation.

Mr Guterres’s first term ends on December 31 this year and the term of the next Secretary-General will begin on January 1, 2022.

Mr Guterres assumed office on January 1, 2017 after a reformed selection process that included a public informal dialogue session in the UN General Assembly.

Antonio 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.

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.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, responding to a question at the daily briefing on the UNDP staffer announcing her candidacy for Secretary-General, said “Antonio Guterres is a candidate for the selection process. It’s not for him to comment on other people who may want to come forward.”

“This is a process run by Member States. So, I’m not aware of any issues or problems with that. I speak for the incumbent candidate, but we have no comment on anyone else who may wish to put their hat in the proverbial ring,” Mr Dujarric said.

(With inputs from PTI)

first published:March 04, 2021, 15:20 IST