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Indian-Origin Satellite Industry Expert Aarti Holla-Maini Appointed as Director of UNOOSA

Why in news?

Aarti Holla-Maini, a highly accomplished expert in the satellite industry of Indian origin, has been selected by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna. Her appointment follows the tenure of Simonetta Di Pippo from Italy. The primary objective of UNOOSA is to promote global collaboration in the peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space, as well as the effective application of space science and technology to foster sustainable economic and social progress.

Extensive Experience in the Space Sector

With over 25 years of professional experience in the space sector, including managerial and advocacy roles, Aarti Holla-Maini brings a wealth of knowledge to her new position. Prior to her appointment as the Director of UNOOSA, she served as the Executive Vice-President of Sustainability, Policy & Impact at NorthStar Earth & Space. Before that, Holla-Maini held the position of Secretary-General at the Global Satellite Operators Association for a remarkable 18 years.

Contributions to the Space Industry

Throughout her career, Aarti Holla-Maini has made significant contributions to the space industry. She served as a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space and was a member of the Advisory Group of the Space Sustainability Rating managed by the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) Space Center. Additionally, she held the role of Advisory Board member of the Satellite Industry Association of India and acted as a Senior Space Policy Advisor to Forum Europe. Holla-Maini’s expertise also extended to serving as an Expert Advisor on Space Traffic Management for European Union studies between 2021 and 2023.

Key Involvement in Crisis Connectivity Charter

  • Aarti Holla-Maini played a pivotal role in the development of the Crisis Connectivity Charter, established in 2015. This charter aimed to facilitate emergency telecommunications through satellite technology, working closely with the UN World Food Program’s Emergency Telecommunications Cluster.
  • Her involvement in this initiative highlighted her dedication to leveraging satellite capabilities for humanitarian purposes.

Impressive Educational Background

Aarti Holla-Maini’s educational background further complements her professional achievements. She holds a bachelor’s degree in law with German law from Kings College London, United Kingdom, and a master’s degree in business administration from HEC Paris, France. Furthermore, she is an alumna of the International Space University and possesses fluency in English, French, German, and Punjabi, along with moderate knowledge of Dutch.

Leading UNOOSA Toward a Brighter Future

As the newly appointed Director of UNOOSA, Aarti Holla-Maini is poised to steer the organization towards a future of enhanced international collaboration in outer space activities. With her extensive experience, expertise, and passion for leveraging space science and technology, she is well-equipped to drive sustainable economic and social progress through the peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • UNOOSA Founded: 13 December 1958;
  • UNOOSA Headquarters: Vienna, Austria;
  • UNOOSA Parent organization: United Nations Secretariat.