Colombia’s ex-foreign minister began her one-year term as the secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) on Monday.
“This is the moment for our region and I’m not alone in saying it,” said former Foreign Minister Maria Emma Mejia, who charged the multinational body with having “the historic responsibility to get the most out of this moment.”
Mejia assumed the leadership position during a ceremony that took place in Guyana.
The new secretary general announced that infrastructure development, energy integration, health, security and defense will be her main priorities as secretary general of UNASUR, a body that, among other things, seeks the economic, political and social integration of South American states.
The Colombian official will split the position’s usual two-year term with Venezuelan Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez, a decision that was made in March by the foreign ministers of the neighboring countries.
Until Monday, the position of secretary general remained vacant, after the unexpected death in October 2010 of the UNASUR’s first secretary general, former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner.