Four Arabs are among the nine candidates running for UNESCO’s top post, who will be interviewed this week before 58 members of the organization’s executive board.
Last month, the United Nations announced nine possible candidates on a shortlist to replace the current chief of UNESCO, Irina Bokova of Bulgaria.
Candidates include Polad Bulbuloglu from Azerbaijan, Pham Sanh Chau from Vietnam, Moushira Khattab from Egypt, Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari from Qatar, Qian Tang from China, Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria from Guatemala, Saleh al-Hasnawi from Iraq, Vera El-Khoury Lacoeuilhe from Lebanon and Audrey Azule from France.
The nine candidates will be interviewed during the 201st Board session on April 26 and 27, UNESCO said on its website.
It added that the person to be nominated by the Executive Board should be chosen by secret ballot, during a vote that would take place during the Board’s 202nd session in October 2017. Subsequently, the Chairperson of the Board shall inform the General Conference, during its 39th session in November 2017, of the candidate nominated by the Board. The General Conference shall consider this nomination and then elect, by secret ballot, the person proposed by the Executive Board.
The UNESCO General Conference elects a new director general every four years (previously every six years). Under the director general’s authority, the Secretariat is “expected to translate into reality the programs approved by the General Conference,” according to the organization.
Former UNESCO directors general include Koïchiro Matsuura of Japan (1999-2009), Frederico Mayor of Spain (1987-1999) and Amadou-Mahtar M’Bow of Senegal (1974-1987).