Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, made the announcement Thursday.
The competition is slated to air on NBC and Telemundo.
Venezuelan native Dayana Mendoza, Miss Universe 2008, will crown her successor at the conclusion of the 2009 Miss Universe telecast.
During her reign, Mendoza has traveled the globe as an advocate for HIV/AIDS education, research and legislation. The newly crowned Miss Universe will go on to do the same.
Each contestant from more than 80 countries around the world will be judged in three categories: swimsuit, evening gown and interview as they vie for the coveted title of Miss Universe 2009.