Aurora Akanksha, a 34-year-old auditor who is running for the United Nations Secretariat


Within weeks of starting work, she was hit by a taxi on her way from work, and as she lay in a hospital bed with a broken left knee, she thought, “If she dies, what will be my legacy?”

According to her, that was the great moment when she “woke up”.

That summer, while working in Uganda, Arora said, she encountered a boy eating mud. “That picture is stuck in my head,” he said, remembering how he told a senior UN official in New York. His seemingly insensitive answer surprised her.

He says: “He told me: Clay has iron in it.” “That was the first time in my life that I had been speechless.”

She explains that this conversation was a “great announcement” for her.

He became involved in learning more about the history of the United Nations and returned to study while he was still working. He enrolled in a graduate program in public administration at Columbia University, where he befriended a fellow Haitian-American, Anne Karen Frederick, who was a trainee at the United Nations and whose extended family in Haiti was a victim of the epidemic. Cholera that medical professionals have attributed to UN peacekeepers, a permanent stain on the legacy of this organization.

Arora explained that due to the same criticism of the United Nations, things have stabilized so that Frederick, who works at Columbia University’s Business School, is now helping to lead his campaign for the Secretary-General.

Although Arora did not receive explicit endorsement from powerful figures at the United Nations, she was not discouraged either. Mary Robinson, a former High Commissioner for Human Rights and former President of Ireland who was once considered a competitor of the Secretariat, said in an emailed statement that she praised Arora’s nomination as “absolutely healthy”.

“I share many of the concerns raised by Aurora Akanksha about the need to promote more women and younger employees to leadership and leadership positions,” her statement read.

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