Udupi, Aravind Adiga and White House: All About Mala Adiga, Joe Biden's Latest Desi Recruit
Mala Adiga has been appointed US FLOTUS-elect Jill Biden's policy director | Image credit: File photo
The United States President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 Presidential Elections will usher in many new Indian faces into
White House next year. While Indian-origin senator Kamala Harris created history by becoming the first Asian-African-American woman to become an American Vice President, Biden has now appointed Indian origin Mala Adiga as First Lady-elect Jill Biden's policy director.
Who is Mala Adiga?
Adiga was a senior adviser to Jill and senior policy adviser for Biden’s 2020 campaign. She previously worked for the Biden Foundation as director for higher education and military families. Before that, during Obama’s administration, she was deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programmes at the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and worked in the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues as chief of staff and senior adviser to the ambassador-at-large. Adiga has served as Jill Biden's senior advisor and a senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign.
Adiga served as Director for Human Rights in the National Security Staff's (NSS) Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate. Prior to joining NSS, she was an attorney at the Department of Justice, where she served as Counsel to the Associate Attorney General.
Where was Adiga before this?
Before entering government service, Adiga volunteered and then worked for the Obama presidential campaign for nearly two years, according to her biography on the US State Department website. She earned her J D from the University of Chicago Law School and her M P H from the University of Minnesota. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa with a B A in Spanish.
What are Mala Adiga's Indian roots?
The appointment of Adiga as Jill Biden's policy director has brought joy to Kakkunje village in Kundapur taluk of Udupi district on Karnataka. She belongs to the family of K Suryanarayana Adiga, founder of the erstwhile undivided Dakshina Kannada districts private sector Karnataka Bank Limited, and Aravind Adiga, who won the Man Booker prize in 2008. Mala Adiga is the niece of Nirmala Upadhya who is her father's elder sister. Nirmala told reporters in Kundapur that Mala is an affectionate and lovely girl.
What will be Adiga's role in the Biden administration?
Jill Biden, an educator by profession and former American second lady, has said she intends to prioritize education and military families. The 69-year-old professor had previously said that she would go back to teaching community college if her husband won the elections. Now that he has, The FLOTUS is yet to make announcements on the matter. If she does start to teach again, she would be the first FLOTUS to have a paying day-job apart from her job as the First Lady. In her eight years as Second Lady, she had been actively teaching at Virginia Community College.
(With inputs from PTI)