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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. June 1, 2023: On the first day of Caribbean American Heritage Month in the United States, a seasoned Caribbean diplomat with an impressive career spanning nearly four decades, has been appointed as the President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly.

Ambassador Dennis Francis of Trinidad and Tobago was elected today with unanimous support during a prestigious ceremony held at the iconic General Assembly Hall in New York. He is the fourth Caribbean born ambassador elected to lead the body.

The next UNPGA President is Trinidad’s Dennis Francis. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

With a vision centered on “Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability,” Ambassador Francis aims to foster meaningful dialogue among the 193 UN Member States. His goal is to create an atmosphere of conciliation, cooperation, and shared commitment in addressing the numerous challenges and seizing opportunities before the General Assembly. By enhancing existing approaches and embracing new ones, he intends to lay the foundation for delivering peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability on a global scale.

Education holds a special place in Ambassador Francis’s heart and career. He emphasizes the importance of ensuring that every individual has access to education, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which aim to eradicate extreme poverty and other deprivations by 2030.

Csaba Kőrösi, the current General Assembly President, recognized Ambassador Francis’s vast knowledge and experience, applauding his comprehensive view of the General Assembly’s work. Together, they aim to rebuild trust in the institution, tackle climate change, and reinvigorate efforts to achieve the SDGs. As Mr. Kőrösi concludes his administration, he says he remains committed to promoting the use of science for a sustainability transformation, with a focus on the upcoming SDG Summit during the High-Level Week of the General Assembly in September.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged that Ambassador Francis assumes his role during a deeply challenging period, marked by conflicts, climate crises, and increasing poverty, hunger, and inequality. Notably, many issues addressed in the General Assembly disproportionately affect small island developing states like Trinidad and Tobago, providing Ambassador Francis with a critical perspective and a unique opportunity to advocate for their needs. Secretary-General Guterres looks forward to the President-elect’s leadership in advancing the theme of his presidency, uniting the Assembly to strengthen global cooperation amidst these difficult times.

Ambassador Dennis Francis’s distinguished career includes serving as the Permanent Representative of Trinidad and Tobago to the UN. He held the esteemed rank of Ambassador for an impressive 18 consecutive years until his retirement in 2016, making him the country’s longest-serving Ambassador. His expertise extends to multilateral matters, particularly climate change and the negotiations for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which encompasses the SDGs.

Guyanese diplomat Samuel R Insanally, who was the first Caribbean person to head the General Assembly. Insanally presided over the 48 Session of the UNGA from 1993 to 1994.

The second was Saint Lucia born Sir Julian Hunte who served as the President of the UNGA during the 58 Session from 2003 to 2004.

The third was John William Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda presided over the 68 Session of the UNGA. His international diplomatic career was soiled in October 2015 when he was arrested and charged by the FBI in connection with a bribery scheme involving investments in Antigua by Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng.

He died in 2016, while awaiting trial, after a barbell fell on his neck during an exercise routine.

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