Stories from the UN Archive give viewers a front-row seat on what it was like to see and hear the iconic moments that shaped our common destiny. Drawn from a wealth of historical footage preserved by the UN Audiovisual Library, this series highlights moments throughout the first century of the United Nations operations. From the infamous to the nearly-forgotten, from world leaders to global superstars—from the vaults to your screen comes an unforgettable glimpse into decades of history.
1st Woman President of the United Nations General Assembly: Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit
In 1953, the United Nations elected India’s Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit as the 8th President of the General Assembly, the first woman elected to the role. A prominent politician and active Indian nationalist, she was also the first Indian woman to hold a cabinet position in pre-independent India.
As newly independent India's top diplomat, Pandit served as ambassador to the Soviet Union (1947-49), the United States and Mexico (1949-51), Ireland (1955-61), and Spain (1958-61), and high commissioner to the United Kingdom (1955-61). In 1979, she was appointed India's representative to the UN Human Rights Commission. Pandit was an Honorary Fellow of Somerville College.