Nikki Haley: former US ambassador to UN and governor of South Carolina

Nikki Haley
Nikki Haley; photo credit: Department of State

The former South Carolina governor has been a trailblazer all her life.

Nimrata Nikki Haley is the first Indian American to serve as a cabinet member in a presidential administration, when she was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 2017 to 2018. Prior to that, the Republican served as the first female governor of South Carolina for six years, from 2011 to 2017.

She was also the nation’s second Indian American governor — after Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal — and the first Asian American female governor. In 2017, she became the first Indian American woman to run for the highest office in the country.


Date of birth: January 20, 1972
Place of birth: Bamberg, South Carolina
Party: Republican Party
Positions held: U.S. Ambassador to the United States (20017-2018), Governor of South Carolina (2011-2017); Member of South Carolina House of Representatives (2004-2011)
Alma mater: Clemson University


Haley was born in Bamberg, a small South Carolina city roughly 60 miles to the south of Columbia, the state capital, in 1972, to Indian American Sikh parents. In 2004, she was elected to the state House of Representatives. In November, she was elected 116th governor of South Carolina.

Haley is an alumnus of Clemson University, from where she earned a BS in accountancy.

Unlike her GOP colleague and the only other Indian American to serve as a governor, Haley has always talked about her Indian American heritage. In an interview during her first gubernatorial campaign, she said: “I start every speech by saying that I’m the proud daughter of Indian parents that reminded us every day how blessed we were to live in this country so was it difficult I’m very proud of my parents in the way that they raised me I’m proud of the community and the fact that they are the highest educated have the highest per-capita income the least dependent on government assistance but the one I love the most is the Indian community is the most philanthropic of any community in the country.”

Read more on Nikki Haley:

Trump’s actions will be judged harshly by history: Nikki Haley (January 8, 2021)

Nikki Haley’s group says rise of socialism defined 2020 (December 28, 2020)

Pat Robertson picks Nikki Haley over Trump for 2024 GOP presidential nomination (December 22, 2020)

Nikki Haley slams Biden’s immigration policies (December 2, 2020)

Nikki Haley wants diaspora to get involved in American politics (September 2, 2020)

Nikki Haley bats for Trump; asserts America is not racist (August 25, 2020)

Indian American Nikki Haley launches new advocacy group (March 1, 2019)

For Nikki Haley, new year begins with a new Twitter account (January 2, 2019)

Nikki Haley resigns as US Ambassador to UN, will leave at year’s end (October 9, 2018)

Nikki Haley, highest ranking Indian American in Trump administration, resigns (October 9, 2018)

Nikki Haley: ‘I’m not white. I’m Indian American. Don’t ever judge or assume.’ (May 20, 2018)

Nikki Haley accuses the UN of bullying Israel (March 6, 2018)

Trump is ‘very fond of what is happening with India’: Nikki Haley (February 1, 2018)

Nikki Haley says Trump affair rumor is ‘highly offensive,’ ‘disgusting’ (January 26, 2018)

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