Indian-American Mala Adiga to be Jill Biden’s policy director

By Tenzin Norzom|22nd Nov 2020
Mala was the senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign that led to a historic win.
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Indian-American Mala Adiga was appointed as the policy director to Jill Biden who will be the first lady from January 20, 2021. She was appointed by president elect Joe Biden on Friday to become a senior staffer at the White House.


A lawyer by education, Mala was the senior policy advisor on the Biden-Harris campaign that led to a historic win. She has also served as the senior advisor to Jill Biden. 


A graduate from Grinnell College, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and the University of Chicago Law School, this is not the first time for Mala to serve in the White House. 


During the Obama presidency from 2009 to 2017, she was the deputy assistant secretary of state for academic programmes, overseeing a wide range of international educational programmes like the Fulbright and Gilman Programmes. 


Prior to that, she served in the secretary of state’s office of global women’s Issues, human rights in the National Security Staff’s (NSS) Multilateral and Human Rights Directorate, worked as an attorney at the Department of Justice. 


Mala’s father Ramesh Adiga is a graduate of Bangalore Medical College and moved to the US when he was 25-years-old. Her appointment as Jill Biden’s policy director has got her native place, Kakkunje village in Karnataka, celebrating.

It should also be noted that the soon-to-be first lady will continue to work as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College while serving at the White House. Jill will be the first first lady to do so. 

In Biden-Harris administration’s promise to build a government that represents the US population, more than 20 Indian-Americans are part of the 500-member transition team.

This includes Arun Majumdar as the team lead for the Department of Energy, Rahul Gupta to lead the team for Office of National Drug Control Policy, Kiran Ahuja to lead the team for Office of Personnel Management, and many more. 


In what the president-elect considers a more urgent task at hand is the COVID-19 task force, which is being co-chaired by Vivek Murthy. Indian-American doctor Celine Gounder is also part of the team.


Edited by Megha Reddy

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