French former culture minister Azoulay, of Jewish origin, wins election to be Unesco head

The 58 members of Unesco’s Executive Board on October 13 nominated Audrey Azoulay of France for the position of Director-General of the organisation, replacing outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova.

A report by the Jewish Telegraph Agency noted that Azoulay is of Jewish origin, and will be the first such person to head the organisation.

This week, the US and Israel moved to quit Unesco over its track record of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic stances, as well as its mounting financial woes.

The nomination of Azoulay will be submitted to the vote of the General Conference that brings together all 195 member states of the organisation every two years on November 10, Unesco said.

After five rounds of voting that began on October 9, the board’s chairperson, Michael Worbs  of Germany, announced the outcome congratulating Azoulay: “Your previous experience as a government minister and in other senior national and international positions gives you the expertise, competence and depth of knowledge you will need if you are entrusted with the supreme leadership of our Organization.”

Born in 1972, Azoulay served as France’s Minister of Culture from February 2016 to May 2017.

She began her career in the offices in charge of supporting public broadcasting in France and went on to serve as rapporteur for the French public audit authority, Cour des Comptes, and legal expert for the European Commission in the fields of culture and communication.

She successively held the positions of Deputy Director for Multimedia Affairs, Chief Financial and Legal Officer and Deputy Director-General of the French National Centre of Cinematography (CNC).

Azoulay is a graduate of France’s school of public administration, the Ecole nationale d’administration, and holds an MA in Business Administration from the University of Lancaster (UK) and a degree in political science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (France).

(Photo: Unesco/C Alix)



The Sofia Globe staff

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