Ms María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly on June 5, 2018, as the fourth woman to hold that position in the history of the world body and the first since 2006.
She is also the first woman from Latin America and the Caribbean to preside over the Assembly.
Before her election, she was the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador.
She served two times as minister of Foreign Affairs as well as Minister of National Defence and Coordinating Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage.
In those capacities, she coordinated the Sectorial Council on Foreign policy and promotion, which includes the Ministries of Tourism, Culture and heritage, Foreign Trade, and the Environment.
As Minister of National Defence of Ecuador, Ms Espinosa Garcés participated in debates on women, peace and security, and promoted the creation of the South American Defence School of the Union of South American Nations, among other initiatives.
Ms Espinosa Garcés has served in many career positions as a politician, diplomat, professor and poet, with more than twenty years of international experience in multilateral issues and international negotiations in many areas including peace, security, defence, human rights, biodiversity, climate change, indigenous people, gender equality, and youth rights.
Ms Espinosa Garcés holds a PhD in Environmental Geography from the University of Rutgers, a Master’s degree in Social Sciences and Amazon studies and a post-graduate degree in Anthropology and Political Science from Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences, FLACSO.
Ms Espinosa Garcés was Associate Professor and Researcher at the facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Sede in Ecuador.
She has written over 30 academic articles about the Amazon region, culture, heritage, sustainable development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, regional integration, defence and security.
As a Diplomat, Ms Espinosa Garcés has more than 20 years working experience in multilateral settings with a wide knowledge of international negotiations in the areas of peace and security, defence, disarmament, human rights, indigenous peoples, gender equality, sustainable development, environment, biodiversity, climate change and multilateral cooperation.
In 2008, she was the first woman to become Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN in New York. Subsequently, in her capacity as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador, she chaired the group of 77 and China in 2017, and also served as Chair of the Andean Community.
At the fifty-sixth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, she promoted the adoption of the resolution presented by Ecuador entitled “Indigenous women: Key actors in poverty and hunger eradication”.
The theme for the 73rd General Assembly under her leadership is “Making the United Nations Relevant to All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”.
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