Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Election of the Director General

A new Director General of UNESCO is to be elected, with the final decision taking place in the meeting of the General Conference in October. The election seems to be heating up. Here are excerpts from two recent articles:

From the Media Line (February 2, 2009):
Controversy continues to follow Egypt’s minister of culture Farouk Hosny as he attempts to build a global consensus for his candidacy as the next chief of the United Nations cultural organization, UNESCO, with Israel and the United States the most outspoken critics of his election......

The United States and Israel have been lobbying against Hosny’s candidacy, arguing that he is not equipped to deal with the international community. The Bush administration allegedly asked Egypt to reconsider the minister’s nomination.

An American Embassy official in Cairo confirmed the Bush administration was opposed to Hosny’s election, saying that his past comments and actions had threatened to undermine international cultural institutions.
From an article by Beth Day Romulo in the Manila Bulletin (February 9, 2009):
Ambassador Irina Bokova, of Bulgaria, is campaigning for the post of UNESCO Director General with a tour of 15 countries, to drum up support for her campaign. In Asia, she will also visit Japan, South Korea and Thailand, then travel to the United States, Moscow and African countries.
From Petar Kostadinov in the Sofia Echo (Bulgaria):

In May 2008, Bulgaria's Government nominated the country's ambassador to France, Irina Bokova, to become Unesco director-general in the place of Koichiro Matsuura, whose term of office expires in 2009.

Bokova has already received the full support of the majority partner in the ruling coalition, the Bulgarian Socialist Party.
From the Penki News (Lithuania) (January 30, 2009):
During his visit to Davos for the World Economic Forum, President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus met with President Ilham Aliyev of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Gillani Syed Yousaf of Pakistan.......

President Adamkus asked for Azeri support to the candidature of Ina MarĨiulionytė nominated by the three Baltic states for the position of UNESCO Director General. The issue of support for the Baltic candidature was also brought up in the meeting with the Prime Minister Gillani Syed Yousaf of Pakistan. According to the President, support from Pakistan as a member of UNESCO Executive Council would be highly appreciated in this matter.

Editorial Comment: I have heard rumors that current and former staff members of the UNESCO Secretariat are interested in running, if they can get the support of their governments.

I wonder whether there might be an intellectual leader from Latin America, India or China who might be a better candidate than any of those who have so far announced for the position. Ten years ago there were eleven candidates, so perhaps more will appear.

The time is fairly short for before the deadline for countries to nominate their candidates. For all practical purposes, the decision will be made long before October as the delegates and their governments pledge to support one candidate or the other. JAD

1 comment:

Mahmoud Menaysy said...

We support Irina Bokova.


Mahmoud Menaysy

Visual Artist