Strong. Frank. Charismatic. That’s how colleagues describe U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Now Haley is planning to step down from her job at the end of 2018. But most of her colleagues at the world’s largest peacekeeping organization expect they haven’t see the last of her.
Nimrata (“Nikki”) Randhawa was born in South Carolina to an Indian-American Sikh family. She graduated in accounting from Clemson University. Later, she became involved in various political and business organizations. She first ran for public office in 2004. Haley (her married name) was elected as a South Carolina State Representative. She served in the House for six years. In 2010, she ran for governor. She became the state’s first female governor.
When Haley arrived at the United Nations in January 2017, she was a novice at international affairs. The smiling former governor was better known for her chipper, “It’s a great day in South Carolina!” than for her policy savvy.
The United Nations is an international organization made up of 193 member nations. Members discuss and negotiate worldwide issues of security, human rights, terrorism, health emergencies, and more.
At the United Nations, Haley was firm. She wasted no time announcing the way the United States would do business. She put the world on notice, telling countries opposing America, “We’re taking names.”
Haley honed her diplomatic skills. She quickly made many friends—even among ambassadors whose countries disagree with U.S. foreign policy. Their fondness is a testament to her people skills and success as a diplomat.
France’s U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre labels Haley “one of the most talented, most authentic U.S. government officials that I have ever met.”
Russia regularly clashes with U.S. positions on Syria, Iran, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia says Haley’s announcement to step down was “not a very pleasant one for me personally.”
Sweden’s U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog says Haley’s speeches are sometimes “very strong.” He says, “We don’t always see eye to eye. But with Nikki there has always been a very close relationship, respectful and very frank.”
In one such discussion, Haley called out Syrian chemical attacks in front of the whole U.N. body, saying “Only a monster does this.”
Haley calls her six years as governor followed by two years at the United Nations “intense.”
“I have given everything I’ve got,” Haley says.
Many diplomats believe Haley will someday run for president. “She’s young, she’s energetic, she’s ambitious,” says Nebenzia.
Do those ambitions go as far as the White House? Haley insists, “I’m not running for 2020.” After that, who knows?
A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches. — Proverbs 22:1