In January 2014, Nirupama Rao, the former ambassador of India, joined the Brown-India Initiative as Meera and Vikram Gandhi Fellow for one year. About her appointment Ambassador Rao says, "I look forward to my year at Brown University with great anticipation. The India Initiative at Brown's Watson Institute has provided a needed and valued focus on the study of contemporary India. I am thrilled to contribute to scholarship on India's global outlook and its foreign policy priorities and challenges."
Rao will have an office at the Watson Institute, which will allow her to meet and collaborate regularly with other Watson faculty, fellows, and students. Rao will deliver a lecture in the fall to share her progress on the book she will be writing while at Brown, which focuses on the evolution of the relationship between India and China from 1949-1962.
Rao assumed her responsibilities as Ambassador of India to the United States in September 2011, a position she held until November 2013. Prior to that, Rao was appointed Foreign Secretary, the highest office in the Indian Foreign Service, where she served a two-year term until July 2011. Rao has served previously in Washington in the capacity of Minister for Press and Cultural Affairs at the Indian Embassy from 1993 to 1995. She has also served in Moscow as Deputy Chief of Mission at her country's embassy there, in the late nineties. On return to New Delhi, she was designated as Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in 2001, the first woman Indian Foreign Service officer to hold this post.
Rao joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1973. In a diplomatic career spanning four decades, she served in various world capitals, including Washington, Beijing and Moscow. She acquired extensive experience in India-China relations, having served in the East Asia Division of the Ministry at policy level capacities for several years, and later serving as India's first woman Ambassador to China from 2006 to 2009. Her other ambassadorial assignments include Peru and Bolivia, and Sri Lanka (where also she was India's first woman High Commissioner).