34-year-old Indian-origin Arora Akanksha running for UN Secretary-General

Arora Akanksha, a 34-year-old Indo-Canadian, has declared herself a candidate to be the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“people in my profession aren’t supposed to stand up to the ones in charge.”

She is challenging Secretary-General António Guterres, who is running for another five-year term starting in 2022.

She told New York Times that like many Hindus, her grandparents fled from Pakistan to India after the 1947 partition, a fact that colors her outlook on the world.

“Refugees have no plan B, hence I have no plan B.”

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Arora Akanksha was born in Haryana and spent her early life in Saudi Arabia, where her parents, both doctors, had relocated.

From age 9 to 18 she was back in India attending boarding school and later she decided to move to Canada.

Here, after graduating from the prestigious York University with honours, she worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers Canada as an auditing manager.

In 2016, She was recruited from this firm to work as an audit coordinator for the United Nations Development Program for four years.

On February 17, Arora, submitted a formal letter of application for the 2022-27 term. 

To prepare for this position, she has also attended Columbia University’s graduate program in public administration.

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Her campaign message is that the United Nations is sclerotic, wasteful, adrift, paternalistic and patronizing toward many of the younger members of its staff of 44,000 people around the world.

In an interview to the New York Times, she said:

“We spend our resources on holding conferences, writing reports. All these frivolous activities that are advertising. We have lost course on why we exist, what we’re supposed to do.”

No country has yet formally endorsed this self-nominated candidate but Arora is hoping to make her case to UN ambassadors in the next few months.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada (the ministry of foreign affairs) told PassBlue that Canada’s top diplomats – Ambassadors Rae, Arbeiter and Blais – have met with Arora to discuss her potential candidacy.

It is believed that this meeting could be a game changer for her and Arora Akanksha’s campaign.