By Subhojit Panda
Amid all the chaos around COVID-19, an Odia girl has brought laurels for the state. Baisali Mohanty was recently appointed as United Nations Policy Officer, a first for the state. She took charge of her new assignment on July 1, 2020.
Her responsibilities include providing advice and inputs on inter-agency policies and ensuring implementation and compliance, tracking the implementation of initiatives and reporting on progress along with identifying the challenges, reviewing and analysing issues and trends and undertaking survey initiatives among others.
In her reaction, she says, “I am touched by the love and adulation that I am receiving from all quarters. I thank my parents and all those people who have encouraged and supported me throughout. It is definitely a huge responsibility and I hope I will live up to everybody’s expectations.”
Born in the holy town of Puri, Baisali completed her schooling at Blessed Sacrament High School in Puri and KIIT International School in Bhubaneswar. She then finished her graduation from Lady Sriram College, Delhi followed by a Master’s Degree in International Studies from Oxford University in 2016.
Earlier, she made the state and country proud by winning the prestigious High Profile Achievement Award as the best graduate school at Oxford University, England and was selected to join the prestigious International Civil Service of United Nations, the world’s most prestigious civil service. Her dissertation on ‘Nuclear Diplomacy’ was highly praised.
From early 2018, she has been serving as the OIM officer in the UN Mission for the Rohingyas at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar on Myanmar-Bangladesh border where over 10 lakh Rohingya refugees are taking care-of by the United Nations in the world’s largest refugee camp.
That apart, Baisali is also an acclaimed Odissi dancer. Trained by the legendary Odissi Guru Gangadhar Pradhan, she has been performing solo and group choreographies with her own dance company ‘Baisali Mohanty & Troupe’ in international and national festivals for over fifteen years.
She founded the ‘Oxford Odissi Centre’ that is extensively involved in the promotion and training of Odissi dance and Odia culture at Oxford University and other leading universities in England. Also, she is the brain behind Oxford Odissi Festival, a first-of-its-kind annual Indian classical dance festival at the University of Oxford by Oxford Odissi Centre.
She is the daughter of former chief engineer and IIT Alumnus Radhabinod Mohanty and eminent women rights activist and writer Mansi Pradhan. Baisali has been a regular writer on foreign policy and security issues in several prestigious international publications.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also took to Twitter and congratulated Baisali for the exceptional feat.