Rosemary McCarney will become ambassador to the Office of the United Nations and the United Nations Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.
The government has repeatedly clashed with some Canadian aid organizations and the appointment may be an effort to placate the NGO community.
McCarney has an extensive background in law, business and the non-profit sector, and has first-hand knowledge of the government's agenda on maternal and child health.
She has worked with the World Bank, the International Finance Corp., USAID and the Canadian International Development Agency, as well as foreign governments and UN bodies.
The United Nations Office at Geneva is the second-largest of the four major administrative sites of the world body and hosts a number of UN agencies.