Audrey Azoulay : the force behind culture takes the lead of Unesco

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On November 10, 2017, during the 39th General Conference of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay was appointed new general director of this organization. The former minister of Culture and Communication of France was elected with 30 votes in her favor against 28 for his rival, the Qatari candidate Hamad Bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari. Her remarkable career and long experience at the National Film Center (Centre National du Cinéma, CNC) were decisive factors in the final vote for the leadership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Her candidacy was proposed by former President François Hollande, when she was still the minister of Culture. The culmination of this race for UNESCO’s leadership took place during the week of 9 to 13 October. During the first of six rounds of voting at the beginning of the week, Qatar was leading with 19 votes, followed by France with 13, leaving behind the candidatures of Lebanon and Chine, who were favorites. On the last day of voting, voters gathered at 2:30 pm to choose a single candidacy between France and Egypt. Moushira Kattab came out with 25 votes against 30 in favor of Audrey Azoulay. Egypt and Lebanon gave their support to France. Finally on Friday, October 13 at 18:30, the former Minister of Culture and Communication, 45 years old, came out victorious. She is the 11th Director General of UNESCO, and the tenth woman to hold this position. Audrey Azoulay is committed to the democratic character of UNESCO and she wants to restore credibility, confidence and efficiency in the institution, as well as to safeguard its universalism. « The bilateral differences must not slow down the action of UNESCO. On the contrary, the institution must foster dialogue and prevent conflict, instead of suffering it or allowing it to grow inside the organization » , she said.