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UNESCO: Who succeeds Irina Bokova?


New Director General to assume office on November 15

By Ada Anioji


The race to select a successor to outgoing UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova is on but there is no evidence at the moment that it may come Africa’s way.
As part of the transition process, already, 58 members of UNESCO’s Executive Board are holding their 202nd session from 4 to 18 October, with the session being presided over by Michael Worbs of Germany who is the current Chairperson of the Executive Board. The meeting is taking place at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, France.
One of the highlights of the session is clearly the nomination of the Board’s candidate for the post of Director-General, to be proposed for election to all of the Organization’s 195 Member States on 10 November, during the forthcoming 39th session of the General Conference of UNESCO (30 October to 14 November).

Voting on a candidate will start on 9 October. It will be conducted by secret ballot in private meetings. A majority is required to win the nomination. Five candidates are in the running, following the withdrawal of four of the initial contenders*. The winner is expected to be announced no later than Friday, 13 October.

The election of the Executive Board’s nominee is expected to take place on 10 November and the new Director-General is scheduled to take office on 15 November. She or he will succeed Irina Bokova from Bulgaria who will have served two four-year terms at the head of UNESCO by that date.

Additionally, the Executive Board, whose sessions take place twice a year, will also finalize the preparation of the Organization’s Draft Programme and Budget for 2018-2021, which will be submitted for the approval of the General Conference.

Africa’s sole and official candidate in the contest is the Egyptian human rights lawyer and diplomat, Moushira Khattab.

Other contenders are Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari from Qatar, Qian Tang from China, Vera El-Khoury Lacoeuilhe from Lebanon and Audrey Azoulay from France.


Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO

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