UNESCO confirms former French culture minister as new chief

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/10 21:27:48

Audrey Azoulay officially becomes Director-General of UNESCO

Audrey Azoulay, former French Minister of Culture, speaks during a press conference at the headquarters of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris, France, on Nov. 10, 2017. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)

Member states of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday approved the nomination of former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay to head the UN body in a four-year term.

The UN agency confirmed, at its 39th session of General Conference, Azoulay as new chief. She will replace the outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova.

Last month, the French female politician won the support of UNESCO executive board to be the 11th boss of the educational and cultural body.

"I think of UNESCO's mandate, which is strikingly modern. I think of all of you who are aware of the difficulties of the Organization but who know that it is irreplaceable, that it is essential, in facing current global challenges and who aspire to the unity and serenity necessary to let it exercise its mandate to best effect," Azoulay told the General Conference.

In a statement released by his office, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated "full confidence in Audrey Azoulay to give UNESCO the means to assume its essential tasks facing the challenges of our time: access for all to education, culture, science; preserving World Heritage and safeguarding our planet".

Azoulay, the second female director to head the UNESCO, will take office on Nov. 15.

The 45-year-old civil servant was communication and culture advisor of former president Francois Hollande between 2014 and 2016 before managing the Ministry of Culture under the Socialist government in February last year.

From April 2000 to July 2003, she worked at the organization running France's public television channels as a deputy head and then head before joining France's National Cinema Center (CNC).

At the international scene, Azoulay had helped forge an initiative to safeguard cultural heritage in conflict zones, announced in December 2016.

On March 24, 2017, she presented draft resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts to the UN Security Council. This resolution, put forward by France, Italy and UNESCO, was adopted unanimously.

Azoulay had a master's degree in management sciences from the Paris Dauphine University in 1994 and a master's degree in business administration from Britain's Lancaster University.


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