How Far Have We Come, What Lies Ahead?

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Nirupama Rao
After her lecture, Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States, speaks with Iowa State students.

Nirupama Rao lectured on “How Far Have We Come, What Lies Ahead?” in the Dolezal Auditorium of Curtiss Hall on October 8, 2013.

Meera and Vikram Grandhi Fellow in Residence at Brown University
Former Ambassador of India to the United States

Nirupama Rao served as a strong connecting link between India and the United States as India’s Ambassador to the U.S., a position she held from 2011 to 2013. She presented at the 12th annual Manatt-Phelps Lecture in Political Science in October 2013.

From 2009 to 2011, Rao was India’s Foreign Secretary, the highest office in the Indian Foreign Service. Having served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry at policy-level capacities for several years, she acquired extensive experience in India-China relations, and was India’s first female ambassador to China from 2006 to 2009. Rao’s other ambassadorial assignments included Peru, Bolivia and Sri Lanka. She also was deputy chief of the mission in Moscow in the late 1990s, and minister for press and cultural affairs at the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C., from 1993 to 1995.

Kathleen Manatt and Thomas Phelp
Kathleen Manatt and Thomas Phelps present a plaque to Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States.

Rao was a Fellow at the Center for International Affairs (now the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs) at Harvard University in the early 1990s. She was a Distinguished International Executive in Residence at the University of Maryland at College Park in 1999-2000. Rao was conferred the Degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by Pondicherry University in 2012.

Rao has written a book of poetry, Rain Rising. Her poems have been translated into Chinese, Russian and Malayalam, the predominately-spoken language in India’s state of Kerala, where Rao was born.

On the completion of her tenure as Ambassador of India to the U.S. in November 2013, she was named the Meera and Vikram Grandhi Fellow in Residence at Brown University, where she is currently engaged in research and writing on select foreign policy issues.

She was named on Foreign Policy’s global list of the “100 Most Influential Women on Twitter” in 2012, which cited her among the “invigorating diversity of local voices with insider information and breaking news who are not to be missed.” Join the 266,000 who follow her insightful, informative tweets @NMenonRao.

Read more: Iowa State Daily.
Read more: Iowa State News Service.


From left, Elizabeth Phelps; Thomas Phelps; Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States; Michele Manatt; and Kathleen Manatt.
From left, Michele Manatt; Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States; Iowa State President Steven Leath; and Janet Leath.
Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States, poses with four Iowa State University engineering students.