President Joe Biden has nominated Indian- American lawyer and rights activist Kiran Ahuja to head the Office of Personnel Management, a federal agency that manages America’s more than two million civil servants.
If confirmed by the Senate, 49-year-old Ahuja would become the first Indian-American to serve this top position in the US government.
Ahuja served as the Chief of Staff to Director of the US Office of Personnel Management from 2015 to 2017. She has more than two decades of public service and nonprofit/philanthropic sector leadership experience.
Ahuja currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional network of philanthropic institutions.
She began her career as a civil rights lawyer at the US Department of Justice, litigating school desegregation cases, and filing the department’s first student racial harassment case.
From 2003 to 2008, Ahuja served as the founding executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an advocacy and membership organization.
During the Obama-Biden administration, she spent six years as executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, leading efforts to increase access to federal services, resources and programs for underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs).
Ahuja grew up in Savannah, Georgia, as a young Indian immigrant in the wake of the civil rights era, and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a law degree from the University of Georgia.