The 58 members of UNESCO’s Executive Board on 22 September designated Irina Gueorguieva Bokova (Bulgaria) as candidate to the post of Director-General. On 15 October, the nomination will be submitted to the approval of the General Conference, which brings together representatives of the Organization’s 193 Member States. Once confirmed, she will be the first woman Director-General of the Organization. At the end of the fifth round of voting, the Chairman of the Executive Board, Ambassador Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï (Benin), announced the outcome of the vote. “Irina Bokova, the candidate presented by Bulgaria, was designated by the Executive Board with the majority of the ballots.” Her candidacy obtained 31 ballots.
Born in Sofia in 1952, Irina Gueorguieva Bokova is the Ambassador of Bulgaria to France and Permanent Delegate to UNESCO. A career diplomat and politician, she studied at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and at the School of Public Affairs of the University of Maryland (USA). She served as deputy minister of Foreign Affairs (1995-97) and Minister of Foreign Affairs (1996-97). In 1996, as candidate to the post of Vice President of Bulgaria, she advocated her country’s membership in NATO and the European Union.
UNESCO’s Executive Board made its choice from among nine candidats who were interviewed on 15 September: Ina Marčiulionytė (Lithuania); Mohammed Bedjaoui (Algeria); Irina Gueorguieva Bokova (Bulgaria); Farouk Hosny (Egypt); Sospeter Mwijarubi Muhongo (United Republic of Tanzania); Alexander Vladimirovich Yakovenko (Russian Federation); Ivonne Juez de A. Baki (Ecuador); Benita Ferrero-Waldner (Austria); Nouréini Tidjani-Serpos (Benin).
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(Press release No. 2009-102)