Vijay laxmi pandit: First woman President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1953.

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Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was an Indian political leader and diplomat, one of the world's leading women in public life in the 20th century.
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was an Indian political leader and diplomat, one of the world's leading women in public life in the 20th century.

Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was an Indian political leader and diplomat, one of the world’s leading women in public life in the 20th century.

About Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was born on August 18, 1900, in Allahabad, India. She became active in the Indian nationalist movement and was imprisoned three times by the British authorities in India. With Indian independence, Pandit entered on a distinguished diplomatic career, leading the Indian delegation to the UN, serving as India’s ambassador to Moscow, Washington and Mexico, and becoming the first woman to become president of the UN General Assembly.

LIFETIME: August 18, 1900 – December 1, 1990

WHAT SHE IS KNOWN FOR: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit was an Indian diplomat and politician. She was the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, aunt of Indira Gandhi, and grandaunt of Rajiv Gandhi, all of whom served as Prime Ministers of India.

WHY WE LOVE HER: Vijaya grew up in a politically oriented family and her father twice served as president of the Indian National Congress during the Independence Struggle. In 1921 she married a successful barrister and classical scholar.

He was arrested for his support of Indian independence and died while in prison in 1944. Vijaya was left a widow and single mother of three daughters. After her husband’s death, she became actively involved in politics. She became the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet post. After independence was gained in 1947 she joined the diplomatic service and became the Indian ambassador to the Soviet Union (1947-49), United States and Mexico (49-51), and Spain (58-61). For 22 years, 1946-68, she headed the Indian delegation to the United Nations and in 1953 became the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly.

Finally, in 1979 she was appointed to the United Nations Human Rights Commission as the Indian delegate. She published two books, “The Evolution of India” and “The Scope of Happiness: A Personal Memoir.”

FUN FACT: Vijaya had a strained relationship with her niece, Indira Gandhi, first female Prime Minister of India. Because of this, she retired from politics. However, she came out of retirement to help Indira’s opposition win the 1977 election. At this time, she considered running for president but decided against it.

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