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Ms. Lakshmi Puri (India) is Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, responsible for the Bureau for Intergovernmental Support, UN System Coordination, and Strategic Partnerships. She was the Acting Head of UN Women from March to August 2013.

Ms. Puri has multifaceted experience in bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, negotiations and advocacy spanning a wide range of issues, including peace and security, human rights, sustainable development, climate change, gender equality, trade and development and humanitarian action.  She has led UN Women’s action in successfully advocating for the prioritization and integration of gender equality and the empowerment of women in intergovernmental processes and outcomes, and in its enhancing its convening power at the highest political level to unprecedented levels. She steered partnership building with key constituencies and stakeholders, including civil society, the private sector, academia and other stakeholders. She provided the vision and drive for many of UN Women’s public campaigns, including UNITE to end violence against women and Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. She has also promoted coordination and accountability of the United Nations system for gender equality. She has been a thought leader, a passionate and committed global advocate and has been keenly engaged in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment across all regions and sectors.

She was previously Director of the UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States and a Director and Acting Deputy Secretary-General at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Prior to joining the UN, Ms. Puri was an Ambassador and had a distinguished 28-year career with the Indian Foreign Service.

Lakshmi Puri

Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women)