|Emeritus Indian Ambassador to the United States|
1 August 2011
|Preceded by||Meera Shankar|
|Succeeded by||S. Jaishankar|
|Indian Foreign Secretary|
31 July 2009-31 July 2011
|Preceded by||Shivshankar Menon|
|Succeeded by||Ranjan Mathai|
6 December 1950 |
Malappuram, Kerala, India
Nirupama Menon Rao (Malayalam: നിരുപമ മേനോന് റാവു; born December 6, 1950) is a 1973 batch Indian Foreign Service officer and was Indian Ambassador to the United States . Prior to this assignment, she had served as the Foreign Secretary of India for a period of 2 years.
In July 2009, she became the second woman (after Chokila Iyer) to hold the post of Indian Foreign Secretary, the head of the Indian Foreign Service. In her career she has served in several capacities including, Minister of Press Affairs in Washington, Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow, stints in the Ministry of External Affairs as Joint Secretary (East Asia), (External Publicity) making her the first woman spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry, Chief of Personnel, Ambassador to Peru and China, and High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
Early life and education
Nirupama Rao was born in Malappuram, Kerala. Her father was in the Indian Army. She did her schooling from various cities like Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow, Coonoor. She did her BA (English) Honors in Mount Carmel College, in Bangalore, in 1970, when it was affiliated with the Bangalore University. Later, she obtained her Masters degree in English Literature from what was then known as Marathwada University in Maharashtra. She topped the All India Civil Services Examination in 1973 and joined the Indian Foreign Service. She is married to Mr. Sudhakar Rao, an IAS officer whom she met while training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri academy in Mussoorie after they were both selected for the civil services. They are the parents of two sons.
On completion of her training in India, she served in the Indian Embassy in Vienna (Austria) in the mid seventies. She did a stint as First Secretary in the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka from 1981-83. During her early years in the Ministry of External Affairs, she specialized in India's relations with China, and was a member of the delegation of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when he made his historic visit to Beijing in December 1988.
She served in the Indian Embassies in Washington and Moscow as Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, respectively. Her first Ambassadorship was to Peru with concurrent accreditation to Bolivia in 1995-1998. She became the first woman spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in 2001. She was assigned to Sri Lanka as High Commissioner for India in 2004. In 2006, she became India's first woman Ambassador to China. She became India's Foreign Secretary, succeeding Shivshankar Menon, on August 1, 2009.
On December 21, 2010, Indian Government approved extension of Nirupama Rao tenure as India's Foreign Secretary till July 31, 2011.
Her work was very much appreciated during the evacuation of Indians at the time of the Libyan crisis. Among others, she used her Twitter account (@ForeignSecNRao) to regularly update the public about the evacuation. She has been appointed as Ambassador of India to the USA after completion of her tenure as Foreign Secretary.
Ambassador Rao was conferred the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris Causa) by the Pondicherry University at their Convocation in May 2012. She has also been named to the global list of the One Hundred Most Influential Women on Twitter by Foreign Policy.com
She has written a book of poetry, named Rain Rising. Her poems have been translated into Chinese and Russian.
- Nirupama Rao takes over as Foreign Secy Press Trust of India / New Delhi, Business Standard, August 1, 2009.
- Nirupama Rao is India's new foreign secretary The Times of India, August 1, 2009."Chokila Iyer was first woman, Indian Foreign Secretary in 2001."
- Updated Monday, October 10, 2011 05:20 PM IST. "Manorama Online | Home | TheWeek COVER STORY". The Week, Malayala Manorama. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Nirupama Rao Gets Extension as India’s Foreign Secretary[dead link]
- "Nirupama Rao named India's next ambassador to US - Economic Times". Economic Times. Retrieved 2011-10-10.[dead link]
- India’s New Ambassador to China Takes Charge Indian Embassy
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