Indian-origin British expert to head UN Outer Space Office

British-Indian origin Aarti Holla-Maini has is also the Secretary-General of the Global Satellite Operators Association.

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has appointed Indian-origin expert Aarti Holla-Maini to head the Office for Outer Space Affairs.

Announcing the nomination, Guterres’s Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq said on 26 June, 2023, that she “brings to this position over 25 years of professional experience in the space sector including in managerial and advocacy functions”.

The Vienna-based UN space office “works to promote international cooperation in the peaceful use and exploration of space, and in the utilisation of space science and technology for sustainable economic and social development”, Haq said.

Holla-Maini, who is of British-Indian origin and holds British and Belgian nationalities, has been the Secretary-General of the Global Satellite Operators Association, Executive Vice President at NorthStar Earth and Space, and founder and President of Orbitz Consulting.

In the past under Holla-Maini’s leadership, EMEA Satellite Operators Association & its member CEOs lead the effort to showcase the benefits of satellite communications for a more inclusive and secure society – vital to bridging the world’s digital divide, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 5G ecosystem.

Aarti Holla-Maini holds a Masters of Business Administration from HEC, France & Stern Business School, NYC, USA and qualified as Solicitor of the Supreme Court in the UK in 1995, holding a 2:1 graded LLB Hons Law with German Law degree from King’s College, University of London & the University of Passau, Germany.

She is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India.

In a similar statement, spokesperson Haq also informed that Usha Rao-Monari of India will be leaving her position as the associate administrator of the UN Development Programme which has the rank of Under Secretary General and will be succeeded by Haoliang Xu of China.

Rao-Monari, who is an infrastructure investment expert, previously served as CEO of Global Water Development Partners, a Blackstone company where she was also a senior advisor before her appointment to the UN post in 2021.

She was also a director of the Sustainable Business Advisory Group at the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

Read More: NASA’s chief technologist: Another Indian-American bags the post

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