Ashali Varma was Educated at the University of Delhi, New Delhi, India and graduated in 1973 with Honours in English Literature. She schooled in The Lawrence School,
Sanawar, India. Graduating in 1969 she received the President’s Gold Medal for Best All Round Student.
She started her career with the International Commentary Service Inc. New York (ICS) in 1990 as Associate Producer and later as Executive Producer for a series of documentaries. ICS co-produced a nine part series: Common Destinies for Public Television, Filmed on location in eight countries, and the documentaries focused on environment, development and social issues and the work of UN agencies. ICS also co-produced a 24 – part series, Profiles in Progress, for Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Discovery Channel. The films were shot on location in 18 countries.
Ashali Varma also produced a one-hour documentary The Great Global Bazaar filmed in Malaysia, Brazil, Singapore and Morocco and coordinated production of a one-hour documentary, Of Snakes and Software: India at the Crossroads of Change.
She then went on to become the Executive Publisher of The Earth Times, New York from 1992 – June 1998. As bureau chief, she published daily papers at the Social Summit in Copenhagen; The Population Conference in Cairo; The Fourth World Conference on Woman in Beijing; and for Habitat II, 1996 at Istanbul.
She wrote and reported on issues concerning sustainable development and covered conferences in several countries including Brazil, India, Costa Rica, Japan, Austria, Kenya, China and Indonesia. Ashali Varma also filed exclusive field reports from Kenya, China, Indonesia, Argentina, Malaysia, Egypt, Nepal and Japan on issues concerning environment, development, population and the work of the United Nations Agencies and Non Governmental Organizations.
In addition, she presented a paper at the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi for a seminar on gender and environment and was invited as a panelist to Japan to present a paper on media and women’s issues.
Ashali Varma then went on to become, Editor, Choices Magazine United Nations Development Programme, New York from 1998-January 2001. She managed overall production and distribution of Choices and commissioned stories by mainstream journalists on UNDP’s work in the field.
She helped to establish a wide circulation by distributing Choices at all major terminals for the North East airline shuttles such as Air Canada, USAir, Continental and Delta. The terminals included Boston, Washington, New York, Montreal, Toronto and Newark.
Award and Excellance
During a stint in Bangkok, she wrote for The Nation, Bangkok and other publications and worked on publicity campaign for GTZ.
Ashali Varma was awarded The Global Award for Media Excellence for best Population/environment Reporting Effort in 1997 by The Populations Institute, Washington.