Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has designated Aarti Holla-Maini, an expert in the satellite industry of Indian origin, as the Director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) in Vienna.
The United Kingdom's Holla-Maini will assume the position, succeeding Italy's Simonetta Di Pippo.
UNOOSA strives to foster global collaboration in the peaceful utilisation and exploration of space, as well as in leveraging space science and technology for sustainable economic and social progress.
With a wealth of professional experience in the space sector, including managerial and advocacy roles, Holla-Maini brings over 25 years of expertise to her new position.
According to a statement released on Monday, Holla-Maini most recently served as the Executive Vice-President of Sustainability, Policy & Impact at NorthStar Earth and Space. Prior to this position, she held the role of Secretary-General at the Global Satellite Operators Association for over 18 years.
Holla-Maini's extensive experience encompasses various roles and involvements in the space sector. She has served as a member of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Space, a member of the Advisory Group of the Space Sustainability Rating managed by eSpace at the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) Space Center, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Satellite Industry Association of India.
Additionally, she has held positions such as Senior Space Policy Advisor to Forum Europe and Expert Advisor on Space Traffic Management for European Union studies between 2021 and 2023.
Furthermore, Holla-Maini played a pivotal role as one of the key architects behind the Crisis Connectivity Charter, which was established in 2015. The charter aimed to facilitate emergency telecommunications through satellite technology in collaboration with the UN World Food Program's Emergency Telecommunications Cluster.
Holla-Maini obtained a bachelor's degree in law with German law from Kings College London, UK, and a master's degree in business administration from HEC Paris, France.
As an alumna of the International Space University, she possesses proficiency in English, French, German, and Punjabi languages, and has a moderate understanding of Dutch.