Former French Culture Minister to Head UNESCO

15 Octobre, 2017, 00:10 | Auteur: Lynn Cook
  • The Colosseum Rome

The move by the United States was met with dismay in Europe, where many see the Trump administration as increasingly withdrawn from the rest of the world and reluctant to engage in multilateral discussions - most recently, for instance, with President Trump's disavowal on Friday of the Iran nuclear deal. Ms 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).

The ministry said it has not been dragged by "conflicts caused by some officials of a competitor state, which only sought to undermine the Qatari candidate", in an implicit reference to Egypt.

Azoulay, aged 45, beat Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari with 30 votes against 28 at the last round carried out on Friday. And what did Azoulay have to say to Israel's ambassador to UNESCO?

In Twitter post on Saturday, ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid accused Al Jazeera television of "spreading misinformation and lies". Referring to the US and Israel's withdrawal, Azoulay added that "at this time of crisis, I think we need more than ever to work on the UNESCO organization, to support, strengthen the organization and to make changes- not to leave it". Egypt immediately expressed its support for the French candidate.

Held at the headquarters of the organisation in Paris, the election to pick the 11th director of the UN body was keenly fought by the candidates. It is also known for its educational programs, and it works extensively on the promotion of sex education, literacy, clean water and equality for women. The conciliatory remarks were not necessarily made out of love for Israel, however, but mainly to restore the organization's prestige and significance.

The election on Friday ended a weeklong process that whittled down a field of nine candidates during several rounds of voting.

In 2014, Odre Azoulay became advisor to then President François Hollande on Culture and Communication, and in 2016-2017 she was Minister of Culture in the Socialist Governments of Manuel Vals and Bernard Kaznev. More so, rumors about Qatar applying pressure on poor African countries to vote in favor of its candidate portrayed a negative image of a rich country using its financial means to land a prestigious international post.

Shortly after the announcement that the US and Israel were withdrawing from UNESCO, the organization elected a new secretary-general, Audrey Azoulay.

Moushira Khattab of Egypt managed to secure 25 votes to Azoulay's 31.

Her father is Andre Azoulay, a banker and adviser to the Morocco's King Mohammed VI, also served his father, the late King Hassan II.