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Neeti Vijaykumar
Neeti Vijaykumar

WORLD

Who is Nikki Haley

FILES-US-POLITICS-UN-HALEY

US president-elect Donald Trump appointed Nikki Haley as the United Nations ambassador, pending Senate-level approval. Besides being the first woman in a cabinet-level position in Trump's administration, she would also be the first Indian-American to represent the US at the UN.

The move is said to “add diversity”, both in terms of gender and ethnicity, to Trump's cabinet, making Haley one of the two women who have been appointed to the nearly-all-white administration so far.

Currently, she is the governor of South Carolina, a conservative state known for its racial conflicts. Haley will replace Samantha Power, who was appointed in 2013.

Critics questioned the appointment, casting doubt on whether her experience as the South Carolina governor would be adequate on the international platform. Known for expressing her thoughts boldly and without bending to pressure, she is seen as a firm voice adept for the UN position. Here's a quick look at who she is:

Indian-American from Punjab
A second-generation American born to Indian parents originally from Punjab, she was born in South Carolina. An alumna of Clemson University, she worked in her family business, starting off as a bookkeeper, and later managing the business and helping it grow. She is married to Michael Haley, Army National Guard Captain, and converted from Sikhism to Christianity. The couple have two children.

South Carolina governor
Haley represented Lexington County in the South Carolina House of Representatives between 2005 and 2011, before taking up the role of governor. Currently serving her second term, Haley is South Carolina's first female governor, elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Among her achievements, she is known for debating and taking down the Confederate battle flag following the massacre that killed nine black people. The flag is considered by some to be a symbol of history and tradition, while others view it as a sign of celebrating suppression and racism.

Her stand on global issues is not well-known
While she has travelled abroad at least eight times as governor to work on economic deals for her state, she has “little previous foreign policy experience”, according to reports. Earlier, she had opposed the idea of Syrian refugees resettling in SC. She spoke against Obama's health care law amendments, while also endorsing a pro-life stance in her state, which led to strict abortion laws.

Trump was not her first choice to endorse

During the presidential elections, Haley was quite vocal in criticising Trump. She called out on Trump's inaction against the Ku Klux Klan, but was met with an online army of trolls who mocked her. She supported Senator Marco Rubio when he ran during the Republican campaign for nomination, and later backed Ted Cruz after Rubio dropped out. She reportedly voted for Trump eventually, although admitting that she was “not a fan”.

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