"I’m really pleased that I got the opportunity."
A 20-year-old woman from Rajasthan led the British High Commission for a day.
Aditi Maheshwari won the India edition of ‘High Commissioner for a Day’. The competition has been organised annually since 2017 to celebrate the International Day of the Girl Child, on October 11, 2021.
As the UK’s top diplomat in India for a day, Aditi experienced a variety of diplomatic activities.
She observed the India-UK Energy for Growth Dialogue alongside Ministers Raj Kumar Singh and Kwasi Kwarteng.
Aditi met with beneficiaries of a leadership programme for aspiring female politicians funded by the Chevening Alumni Programme Fund, climate experts from the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), who signed the UK in India Pledge for Progress, to show their leadership in gender equality; and young leaders from the not-for-profit Global Youth.
Aditi’s day also included a hands-on demonstration of the Jaguar I-PACE, the car manufacturer’s zero-emissions, all-electric performance SUV.
The vehicle is set to be used by world leaders at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November 2021.
Aditi said: “I had applied for the competition last year as well and I’m really pleased that I got the opportunity.
“The interaction with senior diplomats and with women from ‘She Leads’ leadership programme were the two personal highlights of the day for me.
“I also enjoyed being driven around in an electric vehicle by the High Commissioner.
“The amount of work that both the UK and India are doing to tackle issues like climate change and gender inequality made me really hopeful as a young woman.
“I will cherish this day for a long time to come.”
She aspires to join the Indian Administrative Service.
Alex Ellis, Deputy High Commissioner for the Day (usually the High Commissioner to India), said:
“It was a pleasure for me to work with Aditi throughout the day.
“Her confidence and thoughtfulness on important issues like climate change and women’s rights shone through.”
“The UK is working with India to provide a platform for young women like Aditi to help them reach their potential.
“I am pleased that so many young girls sent in their entries for this year’s competition which focused on climate change.
“Women are disproportionately affected by climate change and are often left out of decision making on it.
“The UK is committed to hosting an inclusive COP26 that advances gender equality by calling on all countries to implement the Gender Action Plan agreed at COP25.
“I wish Aditi the very best for the future and hope that she enjoyed this experience as much as I did.”