The Election of the UNESCO Director General

A new Director General is to be elected for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization this year. A total of nine candidatures were received by the Executive Board. They are (in chronological order of reception):
  • - Mr Mohammed BEDJAOUI (Algeria) Candidature proposed by: Cambodia
  • - Mr Farouk HOSNY (Egypt) Candidature proposed by: Egypt, Kowait, Sudan, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
Each candidate is to present a brief document with a vision for the future of UNESCO, and the candidates are to be interviewed by the UNESCO Executive Board in September. The Executive Board is to recommend a candidate to the General Conference, which in turn is to elect the new Director General during its meeting in October.

Read more:
Here are some articles reporting on prior elections:
Prior to the formal nominations by the representatives of member nations of UNESCO, there was a process in which various individuals were identified as potential candidates. Several individuals from Arab nations were floated as possible candidates, but eventually withdrawn in favor of Farouk Hosny. There was a considerable controversy in Brazil about two possible Brazilian candidates, neither of whom were finally nominated.

A note on this website:

This website seeks to make a broad body of information on the election and candidates available to all interested parties. I neither seek nor will I accept financial contributions from any source for its content or upkeep. The website is made possible by the free, public services of Blogger, Google, Google translate and Google alerts. Thanks to those who have suggested published reports that might be of interest to its readers. John Daly

Criteria for Evaluation of Candidates for the Post of Director General of UNESCO

The candidates for the post of Director General should be judged on how well qualified they are to carry out the functions of their important post. It is often useful to define a set of explicit criteria against which those qualifications may be judged. This posting is an attempt to define such criteria. It is assumed without stating that all the candidates nominated by member states are persons of high moral character, physically fit to carry out the arduous duties of the Office.

In its letter to the member states inviting nominations for the Post of Director General, the Executive Board wrote the following:
In facing the challenges of the new millennium, it is important to highlight the personal qualities required for the UNESCO Director-General. The point of departure is that the General Conference, in the interests of all Member States, should appoint the best person for the post who should have the following qualities:
  • leadership and proven administrative and management skills;
  • a strong commitment to all the objectives of the Organization;
  • a visionary and active approach to the role of UNESCO in the community of nations;
  • good knowledge of the United Nations system;
  • commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards;
  • strong communication skills so as to develop effective internal and external communication strategies, vision and objectives for the Organization;
  • empathy and sensitivity to civil society as an important UNESCO constituency by utilizing, as appropriate, the existing structures and in particular the National Commissions for UNESCO."
(Tony Fleming, in his report titled "Improving Global Leadership Selection" has summarized the criteria used by other agencies of the United Nations system.)

While I do not disagree with the general criteria identified by the Board, it seems to me that more specificity might be useful. Here is a complementary list of criteria that might be considered:

General Criteria

Demonstrated effective action for the promotion of peace.

Demonstrated effective action for the promotion and conduct of dialog among diverse cultural groups.

Skills in international diplomacy.

Demonstrated effective action in assisting in social and economic development in an international context.

Organizational Skills

Ability to manage and reform a large complex intergovernmental organization, demonstrated by education and experience.

Ability to interface with and motivate global networks of individuals and organizations, especially the educational, scientific, cultural and other intellectual networks working with UNESCO.

Sectoral Leadership and Management

Education: A strong background in educational management, as might be demonstrated by background as a minister of education or president of a university.

Natural and Social Sciences: A strong background in scientific administration, such as might be demonstrated by background as a minister of science, energy or environment, or direction of a scientific organization such as a research center.

Culture: A strong background in management of cultural institutions, such as might be demonstrated by background as a minister of culture or direction of a cultural organization such as a firm in a cultural industry or a development assistance organization focusing on culture and development.

Communications and Information: A strong background in management of institutions in this field, such as direction of a national library, major newspaper, or media network, or minister of communications and information.


The Director General should be a public intellectual, capable of obtaining and holding the respect of the international intellectual community.

The Director General should understand broad global social and economic processes that are affecting demands for an on educational, scientific, cultural and communications and information systems.

Of course, no individual is likely to score well against all these criteria. Moreover, not all these criteria deserve equal weight in the selection of the Director General. Thus, the core function of UNESCO is to build the defenses of peace in the minds of men, and demonstrated commitment to the promotion of peace would seem to merit great weight in the selection.

The relative importance of the ability to manage UNESCO’s formal organization versus the ability to mobilize the informal networks that UNESCO catalyzes and stakeholder communities that UNESCO serves should be weighed. I would suggest that while bureaucratic management will continue to be important, it is still more important that the next Director General seek to improve the UNESCO’s outreach to this larger community.

Often through the use of such criteria, candidates can be divided into groups such as:
  • Highly qualified.
  • Qualified.
  • Marginally qualified
  • Unqualified.

Comments and suggestions are welcome!

An assessment of the race for the position of Director General

Geographic Considerations
It is generally believed that the position of Director General of UNESCO should not be monopolized by any one nation, or indeed by any region. Most previous Directors General have been from Western Europe or the United States, with one Asian, one Latin American and one African. There is also an unwritten agreement that the top positions within the United Nations system should be distributed among many nations.

It should be noted that UNESCO divides member nations into five groups, each of which chooses a specified number of members of the Executive Board. (Click here to see a report with the current members by group.) Active nominees according to this grouping are:
  • Group 1: one nominee (Benita FERRERO-WALDNER, Austria; 6 previous Directors General),
  • Group 2: three nominees (Irina Gueorguieva BOKOVA. Bulgaria; Ina MARČIULIONYTĖ, Lithuania and Alexander Vladimirovich YAKOVENKO, the Russian Federationl; no previous Directors General)
  • Group 3: one nominee (Ivonne JUEZ de A. BAKI, Ecuador: one previous Director General)
  • Group 4: no nominees (the current Director General)
  • Gruop 5: three nominees (Nouréini TIDJANI-SERPOS, Benin; Farouk HOSNY. Egypt and Sospeter Mwijarubi MUHONGO , Tanzania; one previous Director General)
The voting for Director General is by secret ballot on the basis of one vote per member nation. Developing nations hold the vast majority of the votes. It was thought early in the process of selection that a citizen of an Arab or Islamic nation might have an advantage in this UNESCO election.

The final decision in fact depends on the qualities of the individual candidates and the support that the sponsoring nations are willing to give each candidate.

The Candidates
Nine candidates were formally nominated prior to the deadline. Four are women, and there has never been a woman Director General of UNESCO. Four were from Europe, two from Sub-Saharan Africa, two from North Africa, and one from Latin America.

A number of individuals from Arab nations were reported to be seeking nomination and support for their candidacy, but at last Farouk Hosny was nominated. Mohammed Bedjaoui of Algeria was nominated by Cambodia, but (reportedly under heavy pressure) has withdrawn his candidacy.

Two Brazilians , UNESCO Deputy Director General Marcio Barbosa and Brazilian Senator Cristovam Buarque were considered for nomination by Brazil, but finally neither was nominated, reportedly due to a decision to support the Egyptian candidate.

The Permanent Representatives of Bulgaria (Irina Bokova) and Lithuania (Ina Marctulionyte) were nominated as had been expected, and have been actively campaigning for the position. Assistant Director General for African Programs, Nouréini Tidjani-Serpos was the only member of the Secretariate to receive a formal nomination, that of his country Benin.

There were four nominations that had not been widely expected, Benita Ferrero-Waldner (an Austrian, and the Commissioner for External Relations of the EC), Alexander Vladimirovich Yajivenko (the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation), Ivonne Baki (an Ecuadorian, and the President of the Andean Parliament), and Sospeter Muhongo (a Tanzanian, and Regional Director for Africa of the International Council for Science).

The Campaigns
The only votes that count are those of the representatives of the member states in the governing bodies, and these are usually determined by instructions from their governments. Therefore perhaps the most important aspect of campaigning is done in negotiations between governments, and those negotiations are normally done in secret. In this election, however, there have been a number of news stories that open the process somewhat. Thus we can read the agendas of bi-national diplomatic discussions that include requests for support of a national candidate among other topics. The negotiations between the Egyptian government and those of Israel and France have been the subject of speculation in the press. Russia came up with a unique campaign tactic, offering publicly to increase its contribution to UNESCO from $12 million to $20 million per year if its candidate is chosen.

Candidates themselves have been actively seeking the office by a variety of means. Several attended major meetings supported by UNESCO (World Conference on Higher Education, meeting of the World Heritage Committee). Hospitality suites have been set up in these fora in which candidates can meet permanent representatives to UNESCO from other nations. Several have travelled to meet government officials in key nations. Most have established websites and given interviews with the press discussing their candidacy. Vision statements from most of the candidates have been made available to the public.

There has been quite a bit of press coverage of the election. When Koichiro Matsuura was elected the first time, the Internet was much less developed than it is today. As a result, this year there is much more opportunity for private citizens to be informed about the election and even to express support or opposition to candidates.

The candidacy of Farouk Hosny has proven to be especially controversial, raising vocal opposition from a number of groups, and serious lobbying against his election by a number of member states, as well as strong support from his partisans.. His early lead in the race is reported to have deteriorated. However, he appears to have continued strong support from his government. The government of Israel had at one time opposed his candidacy, but withdrew that opposition. The government of France was at one time announced to be in support of Hosny, but more recently announced that it was not supporting a specific candidate.

Rumors suggest that:
  • the two African candidates have weakened support for the Egyptian candidate among African nations;
  • the support from the Islamic nations for the Egyptian candidate is not as solid as had once been believed.
  • the European nations may be seeking a process by which they can all support a single European candidate.
The Selection Process
The 58 members of the Executive Board will have the opportunity to review the qualification statements for the candidates submitted by their governments, to read the vision statements they themselves have submitted (probably often with the help of their government's UNESCO representatives), and to interview the candidates.

In past elections of new Directors General, the Executive Board did not give a majority to a candidate on the first round of voting, and with eight active candidates it seems quite possible that this time there will be more than one round of voting as well. Thus the process by which members of the Executive Board switch their support from one to another candidate may be important.

The recommendation of the Executive Board is considered likely to be accepted by the General Conference, and Chairman Yai of the Executive Board is likely to play an important role in managing the election process. It is difficult for an outsider to predict in advance which candidate will eventually emerge as the victor. The nomination of a candidate for Director General of UNESCO is one of 62 items on the crowded agenda of this meeting (September 7 - 23, 2009) of the Executive Board.

A good source for news and views on UNESCO and this election is the UNESCO's Friends Group on LinkedIN.

Coverage of the election and candidates

I recommend Google Translate and/or Babel Fish for online translation of articles from their original language to your language.

This set of links is being updated on a daily basis!

The following list is in order that I found the reference, and is not in chronological order of their publication. The articles I believe to be most influential are in red.
  1. Election of the Director General
  2. Russia promises $20 mln to UNESCO in bid to win top post
  3. Unesco : la honte d’un naufrage annoncé
  4. UNESCO: Shame of a Disaster Foretold
  5. Oppose Farouk Hosni as UNESCO's Director-General Now!
  7. Netanyahu takes flak for support of anti-Israel UNESCO appointment
  8. The Curious Farouk Hosny Affair: The Painter, the Preachers & the Politicians
  9. UNESCO: vive campagne pour le poste de directeur général
  10. EGYPT: Fatwa issued against secular author
  11. Long road to UNESCO (Interview with Farouk Hosny)
  12. Why can't an Arab be more like an Israeli?
  14. No for Farouk Hosni’s Nomination for UNESCO Secretary-General (Arabic, French and English)
  15. La bataille pour l’Unesco
  16. Lettre à Farouk Hosni
  17. Egyptians kick against compatriot in bid for UNESCO job
  18. Unesco, l'ancien ministre algérien Bedjaoui dans la course pour... le Cambodge
  19. Being Farouk Hosny
  21. Egypt to present Faruk Hosni for UNESCO Chief
  22. Egyptian intellectuals question Minister’s eligibility for UNESCO post
  23. Burning Issue
  24. Farouk Hosni: The Politics of Temperment
  25. Egyptian Culture Minister, Imaginary and Fabricated Battles
  26. Global Integrity Report: Egypt Reporters Notebook
  27. Development: UNESCO Race Now Wide Open
  28. Is Farouk Hosni worthy of leading UNESCO?
  29. Why I Worry About Farouk Hosny as Candidate for UNESCO Director General
  30. Enough is Enough: A Rebuttal to the above blog posting (26)
  31. Response to Comments by Omar Massilha made in the above posting (27)
  32. Ferrero-Waldner muss um Unesco- und EU-Job zittern
  33. Egypt intellectuals issue letter against Farouk Hosni's UNESCO bid
  34. Wrong for UNESCO (Farouk Hosny)
  35. Egypt u-turn on publishing Israeli books
  36. Bibi Bails on UNESCO Flap, Angering Wiesel
  37. Was Mubarak Israel versprochen hat
  38. EGYPT: Fatwa issued against secular author
  39. Election DG UNESCO: Le candidat TIDJANI-SERPOS se prononce sur le choix de l'Union Africaine (video)
  40. UNESCO Vacancy a Political Battleground
  41. UNESCO more than just culture, but less than just politics
  42. Ferrero-Waldner kandidiert "with a little help from her friends"
  43. Россия приценивается к посту главы ЮНЕСКО
  44. ЮНЕСКО поможет справиться с проблемой "утечки умов"
  45. Стать гендиректором ЮНЕСКО и спасти Петербург
  46. Глава ЮНЕСКО нанес прощальный визит в Россию
  47. Farouk Hosni In His Own Words
  48. Egypt Denies Restoring Jewish Relics to Boost UNESCO Bid
  49. Sexo e intriga en UNESCO
  50. National committee formed to support Farouk Hosni nomination for UNESCO post (2007)
  51. What's Behind Jewish Synagogue Restauration?
  52. Religious Scholars Slam Farouk Hosny for Anti-Veil Remarks
  53. Farouk Hosni Won't Step Out of His House
  54. UNESCO Candidate Calls for Pan-American Effort to Spur Development
  55. Nouréini Tidjani-Serpos
  56. Elmar Mammadyarov receives Ecuador’s nominee for UNESCO Secretary General Ivonne Juez de A. Baki
  57. Very, Very Lost in Translation
  58. My House is Your House
  59. Egypt Stung by Charges of Neglect of Jewish Site
  60. N’élisez pas Farouk Hosni à la tête de l’UNESCO
  61. The Pen Club Also Opposes Farouk Hosni's Election
  62. Interviewé par Jean-Pierre Elkabbach, le ministre des Affaires étrangères a évoqué les relations de la France avec l'Iran, les élections afghanes et l'Unesco. (video)
  63. Descarta Francia tener un favorito para dirigir la UNESCO
  64. Francia no expresará "preferencia" por ningún candidato
  65. Foreign Policy Slams Farouk Hosni's Candidacy
  66. UNESCO Can Help in Attaining MDGs Says EU Commissioner
  67. Why Did Not Hosni Go To Toulouse
  68. A Sorry Candidate
  69. Oppose Farouk Hosni as UNESCO's Director General
  70. Ferrero-Waldner: Hartes Rennen um Unesco-Chefposten
  71. UNESCO Candidate Calls for Pan-American Effort to Spur Development
  72. Clearing the Debris
  73. Turkey and Zülfü Livaneli miss top UNESCO post
  74. Joseph Hammond: Foreign Policy slams Farouk Hosni’s UNESCO candidacy
  75. UNESCO: Hosni, Not Hostile to Israel but Expect Just Peace
  76. Egyptian CM Farouk Hosni during Cairo-Scandal
  77. Ayoon Wa Azan (He would Burn Them Himself If They Made Their Way In)
  78. Campagne d'Egypte pour l'Unesco
  79. Jean-Marie Ehouzou expose les chances de Tidjani Serpos
  80. Egypt’s Unesco candidatefights attacks on two sides
  81. Unesco: le candidat égyptien à la direction générale dans les feux de la controverse
  82. Egyptian writers condemn Foreign Policy Magazine attack as “uprovoked”
  83. Farouk Hosni candidat à la direction de l’Unesco: Chronique d’une campagne controversée
  84. The ambassador in France Irina Bokova – UNESCO Director General candidate
  86. Farouk Hosni, qui mal y pense?
  87. L'Égyptien Farouk Hosni à la conquête de l'Unesco
  88. Umstrittener Kandidat bei der UNESCO
  89. Message from: Prof Sospeter Muhongo, Musoma | Candidate: Director of UNESCO
  90. Arab favourite for Unesco's top job apologises for 'book burning' remarks
  91. Egypt's Unesco hopeful in book burning row
  92. ‘Hebrew book-burning’ minister Farouk Hosni is front-runner to head Unesco
  93. An Anti-Semite for UNESCO?
  94. UNESCO: Wahl von Faruk Hosni zum Generaldirektor wäre ein
  95. MIDEAST: Political Clouds Hang Over UNESCO Selection
  96. Farouk Hosni e gli strani giochi della candidatura egiziana all'Unesco
  98. Egypt rallies for UNESCO's top post
  99. Unesco: des intellectuels accusent Paris d'oeuvrer à l'élection d'Hosni
  100. France backs Farouk Hosni to win UNESCO's post (Egyptian article dated August 2008.)
  101. Ambassador Bokova visits Morocco
  102. Is This Who Should Head UNESCO?
  103. Unesco-Chefposten: Ferrero-Waldners Chancen schwinden
  104. EU unlikely to agree on UNESCO candidate: commissioner
  105. U.S. Will Not Disclose Choice for UNESCO Director General
  106. Eyeing the goal posts
  107. Egypt's UNESCO Candidate: An Anti-Jewish Bigot?
  108. Farouk Hosni Is Tying Himself in Knots
  109. An Egyptian for UNESCO (comments on the op ed piece)
  110. Private Motive for Egypt’s Public Embrace of a Jewish Past
  111. Egypt's bid to lead UNESCO raises hackles
  112. Controversy Lingers Over Choosing the Next Unesco Chief
  113. Egyptian censorship advocate is candidate to be UNESCO director general
  114. The U.N.'s New Censor
  115. Un défenseur de la censure candidat à la direction de l’Unesco
  116. L'Unesco élit son directeur: le candidat égyptien fait scandale
  117. Vorwurf, Sarkozy würde Kandidatur von Hosni für Amt von UNESCO-Generaldirektor unterstützen
  118. Ein Antisemit als Generaldirektor?
  119. Henri Guaino, plume présidentielle aujourd'hui, universelle demain, par Claude Lanzmann et Bernard-Henri Lévy
  120. Unesco : Kogui à Paris, Joseph Yaï à Cotonou, l'élection de Tidjani-Serpos
  121. Israel Row Looms Over UNESCO Race
  122. Optimismo sobre candidatura a director general de UNESCO
  123. UNESCO to Pick New Chief
  124. La UNESCO examina a los candidatos a director general en medio de la polémica
  125. Campaign for top UNESCO post gets off to a charged start
  126. Se busca director general
  127. Candidata ecuatoriana a dirigir la UNESCO ve con optimismo sus posibilidades
  128. Unesco - Un Egyptien accusé d’antisémitisme part grand favori
  129. Egyptian minister's candidacy to lead UNESCO sparks controversy
  130. Process begins to choose a new Unesco chief
  131. Campagne feutrée à l'Unesco
  133. L’Unesco, les raisons d’espérer de Tidjani Serpos
  134. Ivonne Baki, tras la presidencia de la UNESCO
  135. Controversy Surrounds Frontrunner in Race to Head Major U.N. Agency
  136. Let's Not Put UNESCO in the Hands of a Culture Cop
  137. Egyptian Minister's Candidacy to Lead UNESCO Sparks Controversy
  138. Controversy Flares Over UNESCO Chief Candidate
  139. Unesco: le chasseur de nazis Serge Klarsfeld soutient le candidat égyptien controversé
  140. The Bad Minister
  141. Lost in translation (and willful misrepresentation)
  142. Unesco To Pick New Chief
  143. Soy la candidata del consenso para dirigir la Unesco: Ivonne Baki
  144. The Complete Farouk Hosni, UNESCO, Israel saga
  145. Unesco, une nouvelle vision pour le XXIe siècle
  146. Egyptian's UNESCO candidacy opposed by Zionists
  147. Egyptian censorship advocate is frontrunner for post of UNESCO Director-General
  148. The Battle for the Top Job at UNESCO
  149. L'Italia non può votare per l'antisemita Farouk Hosni all'Unesco
  150. UNESCO's Leadership: A Race or a Death Wish
  151. Prise de tête à l'Unesco
  152. Is that Obama's voice in UNESCO?
  153. Unesco : Le sort de la candidature de Bedjaoui tranché demain
  154. Wrong man for UNESCO
  155. Unesco : les enjeux d'une polémique, par Caroline Fourest
  156. Egypt's compromised Unesco candidate
  157. Culture clashes
  158. Prise de tête à l'Unesco
  159. Farouk Hosni Promised to Burn Any Israeli Books He Found in Egyptian Libraries: Now He May Become Head of उनेस्को
  160. Culture Club Candidate
  161. French split over "book burner"
  162. A Book Burner for UNESCO?
  163. La UNESCO: una historia vergonzosa
  164. TIDJANI-SERPOS « L'UNESCO est le temple des cultures » (video)
  165. Not Only Hostile to Jews and Israel - He Failed as Guardian of Culture in His Own Country and Did Not Even Protect Egyptian UNESCO Literary Laureate
  166. ADL Issues Open Letter To UNESCO; Urges Members To Reject Candidacy Of Farouk Hosni
  167. An Appeal to World Leaders: Protest the Election of Farouk Hosni
  168. UNESCO, Farouk Hosni No Thanks
  169. Egypt's UNESCO Candidate Has Domestic Critics Also
  170. Candidato egípcio a secretário-geral da Unesco nega ser anti-semita
  171. Farouk Hosni défend sa candidature à l'UNESCO
  172. Egypt's man for UNESCO faces undercover opposition
  173. Liderança da Unesco vai para antissemita?
  174. Un bigot à l'UNESCO !
  175. UNESCO to elect new Director-General
  176. Egypt UNESCO candidate has domestic critics also
  177. Farouk Hosni presents his strategy for UNESCO
  178. Course à la tête de l’Unesco : Tévoédjrè en campagne pour Tidjani à Paris
  179. Irina Bokova stands good chances for becoming UNESCO’s next Director General
  180. Le candidat de l’Egypte tient la corde à l’Unesco
  181. Cairo nominee for Unesco chief stirs controversy
  182. Tanzanian Candidate Seeks Greater UNESCO Focus on Science
  183. Farouk Hosni, minister who threatened to burn Hebrew books, set for Unesco post
  184. UNESCO Disunity
  185. Eine Schande namens Uno
  186. Der Mann, der israelische Bücher verbrennen wollte
  187. L'Unesco désigne son directeur, avec un Egyptien controversé pour favori
  188. Polêmica marca escolha de novo secretário-geral da Unesco
  189. UNESCO: Israelfeindlicher Hosni mit guten Chancen
  190. Tête de l'Unesco : le favori accusé d'antisémitisme
  191. Remous autour de la course à l'Unesco
  192. Ferrero-Waldner kämpft um den Unesco-Chef-Posten
  193. Unesco Election: Looking for a Consensus
  194. IFEX members concerned about candidate for UNESCO director-general
  195. Anti-Semitism Charges Mar Bid For U.N. Culture Czar
  196. Egyptian candidate for top job denies anti-Semitism
  197. Egyptian Minister Forced to Apologize for Threatening to Burn Books About Israel
  198. UNESCO vote hit by row over Egyptian candidate
  199. Anti-Semitism row overshadows UNESCO leader vote
  200. Farouk Hosni: My program aims at development of UNESCO
  201. King Farouk of UNESCO?
  202. MUKASA Issues Open Letter to UNESCO: Urges Members to Reject Candidacy of Farouk Hosni
Save UNESCO: Why Farouk Hosni Cannot Become the UNESCO's Next Director General is a blog operated by some French students which posts information on UNESCO and the race for Director General. Omar Massalha, a representative of the committee to support Farouk Hosny has asked that I post also a link to their blog: Yes4FaroukHosny.

The Facebook site for "Egyptians Against Nominating Farouk Hosny for UNESCO" has a number of links to articles in Arabic. If you do not read Arabic, I suggest that you can get a rough translation online using Google translate.

I can not post titles in Arabic but here are links to some articles relevent to the election of the new UNESCO Director General in that language:
There are other news articles on these candidates which I have not been posting as they are not specifically related to UNESCO nor the election campaign. This is especially true of Benita Ferrero-Waldner whose duties as EU Commissioner result in a great deal of media coverage. There are also unposted articles discussing Egyptian cultural matters naming Farouk Hosny in his role as Minister of Culture. I have difficulty following the literature posted in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Biographical Information for Ivonne Baki

Personal Data

Name: Leila Ivonne Juez de Baki
Marital status: Married. Spouse: Sami Abd-El Baki
Place of residence: Quito


  • 1993 Doctorate in Public Administration. School Government John F. Kennedy - Harvard University (Editor's note: This seems to be an error as her website lists a Masters degreee in public administration.)
  • 1992 Master in Public Policy, School of Government John F. Kennedy - Harvard University
  • 1982 Master of Art University La Sorbonne in Paris (Editor's note: The candidates website does not list the degree.)
  • 1979 Architectural Studies at the University of Beirut


  • 2007 President of the Andean Parliament
  • Andean Parliamentary since 2006; Elected for a period of four years
  • 2003-2005 Minister of Trade Industry, Fisheries and Competitiveness
  • 2003-2004 President of the Commission of the Andean Community of Nations
  • 1998-2002 Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States of America
  • 1984-1990 Honorary Counsel of Ecuador in Lebanon
  • 1992-1998 Honorary Counsel of Ecuador in Boston, MA
  • 1998 Adviser to the President of Ecuador in the negotiations culminated in the signing of peace treaty with Peru
  • 1995 Member of the Foundation "Without Borders"; Dedicated to help depressed areas of the province of Esmeraldas
  • 1994-1996 Member of the Board of Directors of "Conflict Management Group ", a nonprofit organization dedicated to conflict resolution and the promotion of peace in many regions of the World, led by Professor Roger Fisher.

Decorations and Awards

  • "It merits of Excellence l'Européene"
  • Order of the Cedar of Lebanon
  • National Order of Merit of Ecuador
  • Decoration Resident Artist at Harvard University.
  • Award 1992 "Art for Peace", Princeton University
  • Honorato Vasquez Prize 1992, awarded by the Government of Ecuador.
  • The 1998 Order of The House of Representatives United States of America.
  • Designated 1999's "The five most powerful women Washington, "Embassy of Ecuador
  • "Excellency in Leadership Award" of the Economic International Order of Merit of Lebanon
  • The U.S. Women in Leadership Award
  • The Global Citizen Award. Patel Foundation
  • The Humanitarian Rose Award. Princess of Wales Foundation

  • "Forces of Change: Artists of the Arab World"
  • "A Life of Art: Searching for Peace"
Check out:

Short Video (Spanish): Homenaje a la Dra. Ivonne Baki

Biographical Information for Irina Gueorguieva Bokova

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Bulgaria to France and to the Principality of Monaco; Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Bulgaria to UNESCO

Born: 12 July, 1952

Nationality: Bulgarian

Civil status: Married, two children

  • Feb. 1997 – June 2005 Founder and Chairperson of the European Policy Forum
  • 1997-1998 Member of the Working Group on Enlargement with the Robert Schuman Institute of European Studies in Florence, Italy, addressing the geo-political implications of enlargement.
  • 1997 – 2005 Key-note speaker or invitee to a number of conferences, organized inter alia by the Robert Schuman Institute of European Studies in Florence, Italy, Wilton Park Conferences, UK, Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium, College of Europe, Brugge, Belgium, Open Society Foundation, The US Institute of Peace, The Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany, George Marshall Fund, US.
  • Feb. 1997 – Sept. 1997 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Minister, Adviser to the Minister (with rank of Ambassador)
  • Nov. 1996 – Feb. 1997 Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • June 1995 – Feb. 1997 State Secretary on European Integration, First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs in charge of UN, OSCE, EU and NATO, Chief co-ordinator of Bulgaria–EU relations. Co-Chairperson, Bulgaria – EU Association Committee, National PHARE Coordinator, Chairperson, Inter-Agency Co-ordination Commission on European Integration (at deputy ministerial level), Took part as head of delegation or keynote speaker in a number of international fora, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for European Studies
  • September 1995 Deputy head of the Delegation of Bulgaria to the Fourth World Conference on Women “Action for Equality, Development and Peace” (Beijing, China)
  • Oct. 1991- March 1992 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sofia, European Security Department, First Secretary
  • June 1990 – Oct. 1991 Member of the Constituent National Assembly, Took part in the drafting of the new Bulgarian Constitution, Head of the delegation of the Bulgarian Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
  • Member of the Foreign Policy Committee and the Human Rights Committee, Initiated the first parliamentary seminar on the European Declaration on Human Rights
  • Aug. 1986 – Jan. 1990 Office of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sofia, Adviser to the Minister (with the rank of First Secretary)
  • Jan. 1984 – Sept. 1986 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UN DepartmentThird and Second Secretary, Member of the Bulgarian delegation as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (1986-87).
  • Sept. 1982 – Jan. 1984 Permanent Mission of Bulgaria to the UN, New York, Third Secretary In charge of political and juridical affairs
  • Jan. 1977 – Sept. 1982 Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sofia, Attaché and Third Secretary In charge of political and human rights issues
  • 1971 Secondary English Language School, Sofia
  • 1976 Moscow State Institute of International Relations, MBA in international relation
  • Jan. – Aug. 1989 USA University of Maryland, School of Public Affairs, Washington, Ford Foundation fellow, Programme on the US foreign policy decision-making proces
  • Sept. 1992 – Dec. 1994 NATO fellow, Programme for Central and Eastern Europe on democratic institutions focusing on the national and legal mechanism for the protection of minorities
  • Nov. – Dec. 1999 Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government Executive Programme in Leadership and Economic Development
  • English – fluent
  • Russian – fluent
  • Spanish – fluent
  • French – fluent
  • Bulgaria and Ethnic Tensions in the Balkans, Mediterranean Quarterly, January 1991
  • Monitoring Bulgaria’s Accession to the European Union, European Policy Forum, Annual publications 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Integration of South-Eastern Europe into the European Mainstream, Journal of South East and Black Sea Studies, October 2000
  • Einbahnstrasse EU-Erweiterung, Schüren Verlag, Marburg, Germany, September 2001
  • Numerous articles on foreign policy and European integration issues.

Biographical Information for Benita Ferrero-Waldner

Benita Ferrero-Waldner has been nominated by Austria as a candidate for the post of Director General of UNESCO. Here are some facts about her:

Born on 5 September, 1948 in Salzburg, Austria - married to Professor Francisco Ferrero Campos

November 2004
Member of the European Commission in charge of External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy
February 2000 - November 2004
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Austria
4 May 1995 - 3 February 2000
State Secretary for Foreign Affairs
1993 - 1995
UN Chief of Protocol
February 1993 - December 1993
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs Deputy Chief of Protocol
July 1990 - February 1993
Austrian Embassy, Paris
First Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission,
Chargé d'Affairs a.i.
May 1987 - July 1990
Austrian Embassy, Paris
Counsellor for Economic Affairs
June 1986 - May 1987 Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Department for Development Co-operation
January - June 1986
Austrian Embassy, Dakar, Senegal
First Secretary
September 1984 - January 1986
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Department of Economic Affairs; Department of Political Affairs;
Department of Consular Affairs;
1 January 1984
Austrian Embassy, Madrid
Special Consultancy
1981 - 1983
Gerns and Gahler, Freilassing/Germany
Chief Management Assistant
1978 - 1981
P. Kaufmann Inc., New York
Sales Director for Europe
1971 - 1978
Paul Kiefel, Freilassing/Germany (1971-72), Export Department
Gerns and Gahler, Freilassing/Germany
Director for Export Promotion
1966 - 1970 University of Salzburg, study of law (Dr iuris)

Check out:
A Video of a Presentation by Benita Ferrero-Waldner (in English)

Biographical Information for Farouk Hosny

Present Position: Minister of Culture, Arab Republic of Egypt (1987-present)

Date and Place of Birth: 1938 , Alexandria

Academic Qualification: BA; Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Alexandria, 1964

  • Cultural Animator in the General Department of Fine Arts, Ministry of Culture (1964-1969)
  • Director, Anfoushy Cultural Palace, Alexandria (1969-1971)
  • Cultural Attaché and Director of the Egyptian Cultural Centre , Paris, France (1971-1978)
  • Director of Cultural Administration and Director, Children's Cultural Centre, Cairo, and Technical Advisor to the Minister of Culture (1978-1979)
  • Deputy Director, Egyptian Arts Academy, Rome (1979-1982)
  • Director, Egyptian Art Academy and Cultural Counselor, Egyptian Embassy, Rome (1982-1987), after which he was appointed to the post of Minister of Culture till of Egypt which he still assumes
  • Part-time Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Soka Gakkai, Japan, where he was offered on honorary Ph.D. in 1993
  • Part-time Professor in the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria University since 1999 till to-date
Prizes, Awards and Accreditation Merits
  • Prize, Cagne-sur-mer Festival, France
  • Honorary Ph.D., Soka Gakkai University, Japan, 1993
  • Culture and Peace Award, Soka Gakkai University, Japan, 1993
  • Grand Official Award, Government of Italy, 1999
  • Mediterranean Arts Award of the Lazio region for 2005
  • Mediterranean Sea Award of Arts for 2006
  • Grand Audio-Visual Award, International Council of Films, Television and Audio-Visuals, UNESCO Paris, July 2007
  • Grand Audio-Visual Award, International Council of Films, Television and Audio-Visuals, UNESCO Paris, July 2007
  • Mediterranean Forum Peace Award, Lecce, Italy, 2008
Other Positions and Responsibilities
  • Chairman, Supreme Council of Antiquities, Egypt
  • Chairman, Supreme Council of Culture, Egypt
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, Bibliotheca Alexandria
  • Member, International Committee, Qatar Museums Board
  • Member, Plastic Artists Union, Egypt
  • Member, Alexandria Atelier Group for Artists and Writers
Hobbies: Music – Theatre – Archaeology

Biographical Information for Ina Marčiulionytė

Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the Republic of Lithuania to UNESCO since January 2003

Recent Career
  • Vice Minister (Regions and Cultural Heritage), Ministry of Culture, Republic of Lithuania 1999-2003
  • Director of the Cultural Programme and Director of the Open Society Fund House, Open Society Fund Lithuania (OSFL) 1992-1999
  • Editor, “Gimtoji Kalba” Lithuanian language policy magazine 1988-1991
  • Correspondent, Deputy Editor, Šalčininkai regional newspaper 1986-1988
Responsibilities at UNESCO
  • Since 2007 Vice-President of the Executive Board
  • Since 2005 Member of the Executive Board
  • 2004-2007 Member of the World Heritage Committee
  • 2006, 2007- Rapporteur, Intergovernmental Committee for Promoting the Return of Cultural Property to its Countries of Origin or its Restitution in Case of Illicit Appropriation
  • 2007 Chair, Credentials committee of the 34th UNESCO General Conference
  • 2007 Chair, Headquarters Committee
  • 2005-2006 Chair of the World Heritage Committee
  • 2005, 2006 Chair of the Working group on the working methods of the World Heritage Committee
  • 2004-2005 Vice-Chair of three intergovernmental expert meetings for the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
  • 2004-2005 PhD course in international relations and diplomacy at the Centre d’Etudes Diplomatiques et Stratégiques, Paris
  • 1981-1986 University of Vilnius. Major in Lithuanian language and literature, specialising in translation from English
Professional Studies
  • 1997 Cultural Management, Belgrade
  • 1998 Professional Communication, Budapest
  • 1998 Leadership and Management, Budapest
Languages: Lithuanian, English, Russian, French

Publications: Several translated books and a number of published articles in the national and international press on arts and culture, cultural policy and heritage.

Teaching experience: Lithuanian language courses for Russian speaking professionals. Created and conducted summer courses for foreign writers and translators of Lithuanian literature.


Cross of Commander of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas

Useful additional sources of information:

Biographical Information for Sospeter Muhongo

Sospeter Muhongo has been nominated by Tanzania as a candidate for the post of Director General of UNESCO. Here is some biographical information about him:

He was born in Musoma town, Tanzania on 25.06.1954. He is married to Bertha, has a son Rukonge, and is guardian to three orphans.

He is currently based in Pretoria, South Africa, where he is the first and founding Regional Director of the International Council for Science Regional Office for Africa. Among other positions held, he is Chair of the Science Program Committee of the UN-proclaimed International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE), Vice President of the Commission of the Geological Map of the World, Immediate Past Chair of the UNESCO/IUGS/IGCP Scientific Board and member of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Science and Technology Advisory Group. He has been recently elected to Chair the Steering Committee of the EU-funded project, “African-European Georesources Observation System (AEGOS).”

Prof Muhongo is co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of African Earth Sciences (Elsevier), Associate Editor of the Precambrian Research Journal (Elsevier) and is also co-Editor of a book (2009, in press) entitled “Science, Technology and Innovation for Socio-Economic Development: Success Stories from Africa.”

He was Head of the Department of Geology at the University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania from 1997 to 2000 and is currently Honorary Professor of Geology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. In the 1990s he was instrumental in raising the profile of the Geological Society of Africa (GSAf) and served as its President from 1995 to 2001. He was the first recipient (2004) of the Society’s Robert Shackleton Award for Outstanding Research on the Precambrian Geology of Africa and he was awarded Fellowship of the Society in 1998.

In 2006, Prof. Muhongo was presented with the National Award for Outstanding Research in Science and Technology (S&T) in Tanzania, and in 2007 The Geological Society of South Africa conferred upon him its “Honours Award”, for his contributions to the Earth Science profession.

Prof Muhongo has undertaken more than 100 contract scientific research projects and has rendered consultancy services in the mineral industry and on environmental issues and policy matters.

He graduated with a BSc Honours Degree in Geology from the University of Dar Es Salaam in 1979 where he founded and chaired the Geological Association of Students (1977). He then undertook postgraduate studies in Germany between 1980 and 1990 at the University of Göttingen (MSc research), and at the Technical University of Berlin (Dr.rer.nat.). He was awarded the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize (1977) and the Gondwana Prize (1979).

Since 1999 Prof Muhongo has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tanzanian State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) and in 2002 was Chairman of the Tanzanian Government Commission of Inquiry into the deadliest tanzanite mine accident.

He is the author or co-author of over 150 scientific articles and technical papers, and has co-authored the publication of the highly acknowledged geological and mineral maps of Africa, East Africa and Tanzania. Prof Muhongo has been invited to give more than 200 keynote speeches at international conferences in Africa, America, Asia and Europe. He has co-organized over 100 international scientific and policy conferences, including those of UNESCO and ICSU in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Biographical Information for Nouréini Tidjani-Serpos

Sources: Campus numérique francophone de Cotonou, Wikipedia entry


Born in 1946 in Porto-Novo, Benin.

Education: Primary and secondary studies in Porto-Novo. Studied literature in France and obtained a PhD in the subject from the University of Lille III (1987).

ADG Tidjani speaks English, French. Yoruba, Fon, Éwé and Goun and reads Spanish.

Professional Career: On return to the country, he was a French teacher in secondary school then technical adviser on the Culture of Sports for the Minister for State for Education,

For political reasons, he went into exile in 1975, teaching French and African literature at the Université de Benin-City in Nigeria and, on his return from exile, at the National University of Benin in Cotonou. In 1990, he became an adviser on cultural affairs to the Prime Minister then to the President of the Republic of Benin, Nicéphore Soglo.

In 1992, he was named ambassador and permanent representative of Benin to UNESCO. He was elected Chairman of the UNESCO Executive Board in 1996. Since 1998, he has been Assistant Director General of UNESCO for African programs.

He is poet, novelist and literary critic.

  • Maïté (poetry). Cotonou: Imprimerie ABM, 1967.
  • Agba'Nla (poetry). Paris: P.J. Oswald, 1973.
  • Le nouveau souffle (poetry). Benin - City: Ambik Press, 1986.
  • Aspects de la critique africaine (literary criticism). Paris ; Lomé: Editions Silex ; Editions Haho, 1987.
  • Porto-Novo, un rêve brésilien (poetry) (en collaboration avec Jean Caffé). Paris: Ed. Karthala ; Ed. ASSOCLE, 1993.
  • Aspects de la critique africaine (Tome 2): l'intellectuel africain face au roman, (literary criticism). Paris: Editions Silex ; Editions Nouvelles du Sud, 1996.
  • Bamikilé (novel). Paris: Présence Africaine, 1996

You may also review:
Sipoef 2008 discours Noureini Tidjani-Serpos IFrency)

Biographical Information for Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko

Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko (Алекса́ндр Влади́мирович Якове́нко) is Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation in charge of multilateral diplomacy (UN, UNESCO and other international organizations, economic and humanitarian cooperation, human rights, environmental cooperation, climate change, education, culture and sport issues)

Date of birth: 21 October 1954

Place of birth: Gomel, the USSR

Family: Married. Has a daughter

Education: Graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1976. Holds a Doctor of Law.

Languages: Russian, English and French

Dr. Alexander V.Yakovenko has the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He began his diplomatic career in 1976 and has occupied various positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, including the Department of International Organizations, the Permanent Mission of the USSR to the United Nations in New York, the Foreign Policy Planning Department, the Department of International Scientific and Technical Cooperation, the Department of Security and Disarmament, the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to International Organizations in Vienna, and the Information and Press Department.

He has participated in numerous sessions of the UN Security Council and General Assembly, the UNESCO General Conference, various OSCE forums, negotiations on conventional armed forces in Europe and confidence building measures, the IAEA Board of Governors meetings, the Russian-American Joint Commission on Economic and Technological Cooperation, and the G8 expert meetings. Headed the Russian delegation at the International Space Station negotiations (1993-1998).


  • Since 2005 - Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
  • 2000-2005 – Spokesman, Director of the Information and Press Department, MFA
  • 1997-2000 - Deputy Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to International Organizations in Vienna
  • 1995-1997 - Deputy Director of the Department of Security and Disarmament, MFA, Russian representative at the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) Governing Board (Moscow)
  • 1993-1995 - Deputy Director of the Department of International Scientific and Technical Cooperation, MFA
  • 1976-1993 - various posts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and abroad
  • Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (Moscow)
  • Member of the Space Council, Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow)
  • Member of the International Institute of Space Law (IISL, Paris)
  • Member of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA, Paris)

Author of several books and a manual on international law. More than 100 publications on international relations and Russian foreign policy, science, education and cultural issues.