Peaceful coexistence and the development of all nations is what drives María Fernanda Espinosa to work for Ecuador and the world. The politician, diplomat, rights defender and Ecuadorian poet has worked for more than 20 years on multilateral issues and international negotiations. Throughout her career, she has dealt with issues related to peace, security, defense, disarmament, human rights, gender, indigenous peoples, sustainable development, environment, biodiversity, among others.
During her young age, Espinosa worked with the Amazonian indigenous communities of Ecuador. This experience had a profound impact on her and leading her to pursue a master's degree in Amazonian studies and increase her passion for work in favor of nature and diversity.
In 2007, after one year of being in office as Foreign Minister, she was Special Adviser of the President of Ecuador´s National Assembly and promoted integration as a fundamental principle of Ecuador´s new Constitution. She firmly believes in an articulation between culture and nature. That is why in 2008, she held the position of Coordinating Minister of Heritage, Cultural and Natural. From this portfolio, she promoted policies for the recovery and protection of national heritage and bilateral and international agreements to preserve national heritage. In addition, she coordinated the Ministries of Environment, Culture, Sports, Tourism, and the Governing Council of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador´s Railway Company.
In 2012, she assumed one of the most difficult challenges of her professional career, occupying the position of Minister of National Defense of Ecuador. She helped to build a peace policy and to modernize the Armed Forces of the country. She also promoted support for the UN Peace Missions, participated in debates on Women, Peace and Security in the United Nations Security Council, among other initiatives.
Her experience and knowledge in geopolitics and multilateral issues led her to be twice Minister of Foreign Affairs. The first time in 2007 and now, since May 2017. She also chaired the G77 + China until January 2018 and currently chairs the Andean Community of Nations.
She has been working for more than a decade and directly working with the United Nations Organization. She was the first Ecuadorian woman to become Permanent Representative to the UN in New York and then in Geneva, highlighting her active participation in the main bodies of the international entity, as well as in its main committees and subsidiary bodies. This experience allowed her to strengthen and lead several negotiation processes in the Human Rights Council as well as leading the work of CELAC in this body and at the COP 21 on Climate Change in Paris.
Due to her extensive training and academic experience, she has published more than 30 academic articles on the Amazon, culture, heritage, development, climate change, intellectual property, foreign policy, integration, defense and security. She has also published five poetry books and received the National Poetry Prize in 1990.