Yesterday, June 5, 2016, the Ecuadorian María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés was elected president of the UN General Assembly for its 73rd Ordinary Period of Sessions, becoming the fourth woman to hold this position since the creation of the organization.
With a long political and diplomatic career in her country, the now president of the General Assembly is an expert in international negotiations on sustainable development, indigenous rights, gender equity, climate change and biodiversity.
With a degree in Applied Linguistics from the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Ecuador, she holds a Master’s Degree in Social Sciences and Amazon Studies from FLACSO, and doctoral and post-doctoral studies of the University of Rutgers, New Jersey.
Among the most outstanding previous positions are the performance as Ambassador of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva and in New York and as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration of Ecuador.
Ms. Espinosa Garcés has also a career as a poet. She obtained the National Poetry Prize of her country in 1990 and is considered one of the great personalities of Ecuadorian poetry of the 20th century. She was elected to represent Latin America as a guest poet in the 100th anniversary celebrations of the New York City Public Library. In 2005 an Anthology of her poetry selected by herself was published in Ecuador.
However, her election has some elements to consider: given that the exercise of the presidency rotates between geographical groups, this year it was up to GRULAC (Latin America and the Caribbean Group) to present its candidate. Each group must select in a consensual manner one name to occupy the position. On this occasion it was not possible to achieve this agreement within the region, so two candidates were presented, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, and Mary Elizabeth Flores Flake of Honduras. Once the selection process was completed, he General Assembly decided the election, with a result of 128 votes in favor of the Ecuadorian, which had the majority support of the Arab and African world, and 62 in favor of the representative of Honduras, supported by the US and the “Lima Group”.