10/23/2015 11:34 EDT | Updated 10/23/2016 01:12 EDT

Woman named as Alberta's new representative in Washington, D.C., effective Jan. 1

EDMONTON — Alberta has new representative to the United States.

Gitane De Silva, a professional diplomat, will head up the province's office in Washington.

Her job will be to promote Alberta's economic and policy interests in key areas, including energy, environment and agriculture.

De Silva has served as Alberta's deputy minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations since 2013.

She previously worked in Canada's Foreign Service for more than a decade, specializing in Canada-U.S. relations.

De Silva replaces Rob Merrifield, whose term expired in September.

Her appointment is effective January 1, 2016.

De Silva has held various posts in the U.S. including serving as consul general of Canada in Chicago and head of the Environment and Fisheries section at the Canadian Embassy in Washington.

She has also served as director of Canada-U.S. advocacy and mission liaison and director of U.S. transboundary affairs at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa.

"Ms. De Silva has the skill-set to represent Alberta's interests in the United States," Premier Rachel Notley said in a statement.

"Her deep knowledge of our province and her many years of experience working in the United States as a professional diplomat will serve Alberta well."