Audrey Azoulay is the new Director-General of UNESCO

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Audrey Azoulay, new Director-General of UNESCO © UNESCO/Christelle Alix

Audrey Azoulay, new Director-General of UNESCO © UNESCO/Christelle Alix

On Friday, 10 October, the General Conference of UNESCO appointed Audrey Azoulay to the post of Director-General of the Organization. UNESCO’s Executive Board nominated her on 13 October to take the place of outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova, who has led the international organisation since 2009. Azoulay received 131 of 150 votes; her confirmation by the General Conference was seen as a formality. Azoulay, who will take office on 15 November, is the second woman to hold the position of Director-General.

"I now think of all the people I met in recent months, or had met in my various professional capacities, who have great expectations from UNESCO, " declared Azoulay to the General Conference. "I think of UNESCO’s mandate, which is strikingly modern. I think of all of you who are aware of the difficulties of the Organization but who know that it is irreplaceable, that it is essential, in facing current global challenges and who aspire to the unity and serenity necessary to let it exercise its mandate to best effect."

Born in 1972, Azoulay was France’s Minister of Culture and Communication under President François Hollande from February 2016 to May 2017. She has occupied senior positions in France’s public broadcasting sector and then served as rapporteur to France’s public auditing authority, the Cour des comptes, and as a European Commission legislative expert on issues of culture and the media. She is a graduate of the Ecole Nationale d’Administration and the Paris Institut d’études politiques. Azoulay also holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Lancaster (UK).