"Media flurry demonizes Egyptian culture minister"

Source: HAZEL HEYER, eTurboNews (eTN), October 26, 2009

"Egyptian reviews and numerous opinions have been expressed in newspapers throughout Egypt about the recent defeat of Culture Minister Farouk Hosni. His defeat happened in the last round of the elections for UNESCO’s director-general post. Diverse opinions - contradictory or complementary – flood the press from the assumption of a conspiracy orchestrated by the so-called American axis of evil, as they call him, to the idea of a missed opportunity to develop the Arab-West dialogue.

"Not long after Minister Farouk Hosni lost the last round of the elections for UNESCO’s top position, the gates of media hell flung wide open. The press in Egypt reflected on the subject from different points of view. Under the headline, 'Collusion,' al-Musawwar of September 23, 2009 wrote, Hosni lost with honor and Washington lost its own. The Al-Musawwar ascribed his failure to the conspiracy of the 'American axis of evil; Germany, Japan and Israel.'”

Read "Egyptian minister declares 'culture war' on Israel"


UNESCO General Conference: Irina Bokova sworn in as Director-General

The 35th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, which ended on Friday, was marked by the election of Irina Bokova as Director-General of the Organization and the adoption of the new programme and budget for 2010 and 2011. Two ministerial round tables, focused respectively on education and the oceans, a ministerial Forum and the launch of the “World Report, Investing in Cultural Diversity and Intercultural Dialogue,” were among the highlights of the 35th session.

Egypt's Post Election Action in Berlin

Berlin’s war-ruined Neues Museum opens last week after 70 years, rebuilt from rubble left by World War II bombing as a home for Queen Nefertiti’s bust and the city’s Egyptian and prehistory collections. (See the article on Bloomberg.com.) Zahi Hawass, Egypt's chief archaeologist has announced that his country wants either evidence that the bust was obtained legally a century ago, or in the absence of such proof, the return of the world famous object itself.

Last week, the Louvre returned five objects to Egypt that it had purchased between 2000 and 2003. The objects, discovered in a tomb near Luxor in 1980, had been the object of demands for their return in the past without success, but recently the Egyptian government had suspended relations with the Louvre and suspended its excavations at Saqqara. (See the article from Al Ahram Weekly.)

The New York Times now reports:
It didn’t go unnoticed in Paris, Berlin or Cairo that Mr. Hawass pressed his case about Nefertiti and suspended the excavations by the Louvre just after his country’s culture minister, Farouk Hosny, bitterly lost a bid to become director general of the United Nations’ cultural agency, Unesco. The post went late last month to a Bulgarian diplomat instead........

In any case, days after the Unesco decision, Mr. Hawass went after France and Germany. When questioned about the timing, he insisted there was no connection, saying he had asked the French to return the artifacts two months earlier. But that was when Mr. Hosny’s campaign had already started to fall apart.


Dream for the future

“It is my dream to nurture relations of perfect synergy between the Director-General and Member States, so as to move together towards the creation of societies that are more just and prosperous, based on knowledge, tolerance and equal opportunity for all, thanks to education, science, culture and access to information. I shall be guided in my work by my concept of a new humanism for the 21st century.”
Irina Bokova, the newly elected Director General of UNESCO


"Play politics with Unesco and you defeat its mission"

In a world plagued by environmental, economic, military and political calamities, it is wrong to deal with culture, education and science as mere pieces on a square-checkered political chessboard. Co-operation in scientific and cultural pursuits are the stepping stones for realizing harmony and unity between nations and create a platform for universal dialogue and co-operation. This must be Unesco’s mandate.