- The first-generation immigrant previously served as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and Senior Advisor to Co-impact, a global collaborative philanthropy for systems change.
Geeta Rao Gupta has become the first woman of color to take charge as Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at the State Department. The Indian American social justice advocate was sworn in on July 10.
Speaking at the event, she described herself as a “first-generation immigrant” who belongs to “a family of professional women, each of whom dedicated their lives to serving their communities and from a family of men who supported them fully.”
The Mumbai-born Rao Gupta previously served as Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation and Senior Advisor to Co-impact, a global collaborative philanthropy for systems change, according to her state department profile. While at the U.N. Foundation, she founded and served as Executive Director and later as Senior Advisor of the 3D Program for Girls and Women.
She has chaired numerous boards including the Global Advisory Board of Women Lift Health, an initiative to promote women’s leadership in global health and served as a member of WHO’s Independent Oversight and Advisory Committee for Health Emergencies, the Board of UBS Optimus Foundation and the Advisory Board of Merck for Mothers. She also served as a Commissioner for the Lancet-SIGHT Commission on Health, Gender Equality and Peace.
She has also served as Deputy Executive Director, Programs at UNICEF and prior to that as a Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Earlier, she served as president of the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) for more than a decade. In the past, Gupta also served on several boards, including the Global Partnership for Education; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health; and the MAC AIDS Fund.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, including InterAction’s Julia Taft Award for Outstanding Leadership, Harvard University’s Anne Roe Award and Washington Business Journal’s “Women Who Mean Business” Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Bangalore University and an M.Phil. and M.A. from the University of Delhi in India.