Washington: Swati Dandekar, 65, has been confirmed by the US Senate as the Executive Director of the Asian Development Bank. The Indian-American politician, the first-ever Indian-American to be elected to Iowa House of Representatives in 2003, Dandekar, would replace Robert M Orr, who has held this position since 2010.
“I am looking forward to going to Asia and focusing on renewable energy, clean water, infrastructure, women’s issues, and education,” Dandekar, who will take over her new position in Manila, Philippines, the headquarters of the ADB, said.
She said she feels well-equipped to deal with ADB’s portfolio. “My background in public policy and utilities equips me with the experience, and I do understand a few Asian languages,” which she is keen refurbish, Dandekar said. She served in several positions in education in her home state, starting as a school board member for Linn-Mar school in Iowa.
The ADB which was established in the 1960s, is a regional development bank with 67 member countries, 48 of them from Asia. The financial institution was established with a view to foster economic growth and cooperation in one of the poorest regions in the world, by extending loans. The ADB operations in 2015 totaled $27.17 billion. Its priority areas include energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, clean water, and education, transport and urban development, agriculture and food security, gender issues, and environment and climate change.
President Obama had nominated Dandekar to the top US position in Asian Development Bank (ADB) in November last year. A member of the Iowa House of Representatives for from 2003 to 2009, Dandekar was also member of the Iowa Senate from 2009 to 2011. Thereafter she served on the Iowa Utilities Board from 2011 to 2013. From 2000 to 2003, she was a member of the Vision Iowa Board of Directors.
Dandekar also served on the Linn-Mar Community School District Board of Education from 1996 to 2002 and was a member of the Iowa Association of School Boards from 2000 to 2002. Ms Dandekar received a BS from Nagpur University and a Post-Graduate Diploma from Bombay University. Married to Arvind Dandekar, in 2014 she tried to run for the US House of Representatives from Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, but lost in the primaries. Dandekar and her husband Arvind migrated to the United States in 1973. Arvind Dandekar is the CEO and president of Fastek International, located in Hiawatha, Iowa.