Her origin

During her early years, Espinosa worked with indigenous Amazonian communities in Ecuador.

This experience had a profound impact on her, leading her to pursue a master’s degree in Amazonian studies and increasing her passion for working on behalf of nature and diversity.


She has been working as a public official for more than a decade at the service of the Ecuadorian people.

She has served as Minister of National Defense, Minister of Coordination of Heritage and Minister of Foreign Affairs on two occasions.

She has promoted public policies in favor of peace, human rights and the preservation of the country’s cultural and natural diversity; in addition, she has encouraged Ecuador’s active participation in international organizations such as the United Nations, the Union of South American Nations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Andean Community of Nations.


She has more than 20 years of experience in multilateral issues, international negotiations and issues related to peace, security, defense, disarmament, human rights, gender, indigenous peoples, sustainable development, environment, biodiversity, among others.

This led her to become a Permanent Representative to the UN in New York and later in Geneva.

Her agenda has focused on promoting international initiatives and policies for the sustainable and peaceful development of nations.

Human rights advocate

Contributing to the construction of peace, the defense of human rights and the rights of nature have always been priorities for María Fernanda Espinosa.

Her commitment has been to work every day for gender equality, for women’s political participation, for the eradication of discrimination and violence against women and girls. She has also worked for the rights of people in human mobility, especially immigrant refugee women.

The recognition and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and nationalities is imperative for building an inclusive, diverse and humane world. She has worked for a life in harmony with nature, for the protection of biodiversity, and for the survival of the planet, in peace..


2005: Director of the Regional South American Program of the International Union for the Conservation of nature

In 2005,  she was appointed as Regional Director to lead the creation and implementation of the Regional South American Program of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She is committed to promoting policies that guarantee full recognition of diversity and interculturality. She understands that in the construction of equitable and just nations, an active participation of interculturality is needed, with equal rights and opportunities.

2007: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador

She has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador on two occasions. The first in 2007 and the second from 2017-2018. She has stood out for her work on bilateral treaties in favour of the environment, human rights and migrants. During her tenure, she chaired the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, CELAC, the G77 + China and the Andean Community.

2008: Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the ONU

In 2008, María Fernanda Espinosa was appointed Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN in New York. From there, she promoted initiatives in favor of sustainable development, migration, indigenous rights, and the environment, among others. She also had an active participation in the process related to the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis.

2009-2012: Minister Coordinator of Human Heritage

Never in the history of Ecuador has so much been done in such a short time for the preservation and conservation of the country’s heritage. The declaration of emergency made it possible to intervene in the registration of archaeological assets and sites, the restoration of emblematic buildings and the conservation of historic centres. In addition, she created the National Commission to Combat Illicit Trafficking of Heritage Property and, above all, generated a public policy in the understanding that heritage not only allows for the consolidation of identity and a sense of belonging but also stimulates the local and national economy, improving the quality of life of Ecuadorians.

2012-2014: Minister of National Defense of Ecuador

She was the third woman to assume the position of Minister of National Defense of Ecuador. During her administration, she promoted a peace policy, modernized the Armed Forces and built a defense policy agenda and a gender policy in the institution. She supported the UN Peace Missions and actively participated in debates on Women, Peace and Security in the UN Security Council, among other initiatives.

2014-2017: Ambassador to the United Nations

In 2014, María Fernanda Espinosa was appointed Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva. Her administration is known for the promotion of human rights and an International Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights. This international instrument aims to establish standards of prevention, protection and compensation in cases where transnational corporations have committed human rights violations.

2017-2018: Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador

In 2017, María Fernanda Espinosa was elected for a second time as Foreign Affairs Minister of Ecuador.

2018-2019: President of the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

In 2018, the Ecuadorian politician, diplomat, rights defender and poet, María Fernanda Espinosa, assumed the presidency of the United Nations General Assembly, with more than twenty years of experience in the international arena, in multilateral issues and international negotiations in the areas of peace, security, defense, human rights, biodiversity, climate change, indigenous peoples, gender equality, and youth rights, among others.

2019-2020:Candidate for Secretary General of the Organization of American States

In 2019, after finishing her mandate before the UN General Assembly, María Fernanda Espinosa was nominated as a candidate for Secretary General of the OAS. The candidacy was officially presented by the countries of Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Maria Fernanda accepted it, as a project that seeks to reunify the region. If successful, Maria Fernanda will be the first woman to hold the position of Secretary General in the 71-year history of the OAS.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa: President of the ONU General Assembly

Featured speeches

The president of the general assembly in the general debate of the 73rd period of the general assembly of ONU

María Fernanda Espinosa Addresses the Media for the First Time as President of the General Assembly

Discover her poetry

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