Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on 27th March 1954.
She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics (1979) and concluded a post-graduation course in the same subject (University of Brasília, 1981)
She joined the Brazilian Foreign Service in 1976, after attending the Rio Branco Institute, the Brazilian diplomatic academy. She initiated her diplomatic activities in headquarters, in the area of trade promotion, having contributed to the expansion of Brazilian trade relations with China and with African countries.
Her first destination abroad was the Brazilian Mission to the United Nations (1985-88).
Upon returning to Brazil, she pursued work in multilateral affairs and served as Executive Coordinator in the cabinet of the Minister of External Relations.
As a Counselor, she directed the economic sector of the Brazilian Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia. While in Bolivia, she wrote the dissertation entitled “The Gas in the relations between Brazil and Bolivia”, which she presented at the Course of High Studies of the Rio Branco Institute, in 1995.
In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, she also served as Deputy Press Secretary, Head of the Division of South America I (in charge of relations with Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile), Director-General of the Department of Human Rights and Social Affairs and Director-General of the Department of International Organizations. She was responsible for the implementation of President’s Lula “Action Against Poverty” initiative.
In the United Nations, she was actively involved, as Vice-Chairperson, in the Preparatory Committee of the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development. She led the Brazilian Delegation to the negotiations that prepared the Monterey Conference on Financing for Development. She was a member of the ECOSOC Ad hoc Group on Guinea Bissau.
She is married to Eduardo Baumgratz Viotti, an economist and adviser to the Senate of Brazil, and has a son.