Nikki R. Haley
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A devoted public servant, Ambassador Nikki Haley embodies what it means to do the right thing, even in the face of daunting challenges.
Nikki R. Haley is the former United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations. She served as a member of the National Security Council and President Donald Trump's Cabinet, where she broke ground as the first Indian-American woman to hold a cabinet-level position.
Born in Bamberg, South Carolina, to Indian immigrant parents, Ambassador Haley learned the value of hard work from a young age. Her first job, at thirteen years old, was keeping the books for her family’s clothing store.
After graduating from Clemson University, Haley worked in accounting and later rejoined her family’s business. She made the transition into politics and ran for office when she saw how hard it was for them to make a dollar, and how easy it was for the government to take it away.
Following, Haley achieved many firsts in her career. After serving as Representative of South Carolina’s District 87, she became the first minority, and first woman, to serve as Governor of South Carolina.
Under Governor Haley’s leadership, South Carolina was a national leader in economic development. The state’s unemployment rate hit a 15-year low, saw over $20 billion in new capital investment, and her administration announced new jobs in every county – over 85,000 total.
Governor Haley also ushered in South Carolina's largest education reform in decades – making education funding more equitable for schools in the state's poorest communities, prioritizing reading in early grades, and equipping classrooms with the latest technology.
Reelected in 2014, she served as Governor until confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in January of 2017.
At the United Nations, Ambassador Haley ensured the American people saw value for their investment – introducing reforms that made the organization more efficient, transparent, and accountable. In a two-year period, she negotiated over $1.3 billion in savings, including making UN peacekeeping missions more effective and targeted, while improving their ability to protect civilians.
In the UN Security Council, Ambassador Haley worked to defend Americans' interests and keep our country safe. She spearheaded negotiations resulting in the strongest set of sanctions ever placed on North Korea for its nuclear weapons program.
As UN Ambassador, Haley championed human rights. She challenged human rights violators across the globe, standing up to oppressive regimes in Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and Russia. During the U.S. presidency of the UN Security Council, she hosted the first-ever session devoted solely to promoting human rights.
She traveled the world visiting people oppressed by their own governments, to see firsthand the challenges they face and to work with them directly on life-improving solutions. Her fight for human rights took her across the globe, from Syrian refugees in Jordan and Turkey, to internally displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, and Venezuelan migrants walking miles every day to cross the Colombian border for food and medicine.
She focuses all of her efforts, regardless of the endeavor, on making an impact for good. “When you see something wrong,” Ambassador Haley says, “keep pushing to make it right and keep speaking up.”
Embracing teaching through storytelling, Ambassador Haley imparts lessons in leadership, negotiating, and decision-making through first-hand anecdotes from her career in public service. With candor and sharp insight, she shows audiences that America is truly the land of opportunity, and that if you work hard, you can fulfill your full potential and achieve your highest aims.