By Kamila Aliyeva
Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO Michael Worbs has officially announced the names of the nine candidates received for the post of Director-General of UNESCO.
The nominees are Polad Bulbuloglu (Azerbaijan), Pham Suan Shon (Vietnam), Moushira Khattab (Egypt), Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari (Qatar), Qian Tang (China), Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria (Guatemala), Saleh Al-Hasnawi (Iraq), Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilh (Lebanon) and Audrey Azoulay (France) are among the official candidates.
Polad Bulbuloglu is People’s Artist of Azerbaijan and the country’s Ambassador to Russia. He enjoys a long and distinguished record in the spheres of cultural management and international diplomacy, and a particular interest in resolving humanitarian issues. He is also a renowned musician on the world stage, who has performed in more than 70 countries spanning a career over five decades.
As Culture Minister of Azerbaijan (1988-2006) he successfully oversaw the creation and development of the country’s independent cultural policy, and worked with such institutions as the Council of Europe’s Department of Cultural Policy, the European Institute for Comparative Cultural Research, and UNESCO.
Appointed Ambassador of Azerbaijan to the Russian Federation in 2006, he work extensively in the humanitarian sphere, encouraging international cooperation and dialogue between nations, and promoting multiculturalism, education and the arts as powerful tools for peace.
Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau is a Vietnamese diplomat and educator with diverse international experience in multilateral affairs, cultural diplomacy, education, and documentary and world heritage.
Ambassador Moushira Mahmoud Khattab is an Egyptian human rights activist, former politician and diplomat and the recipient of various international awards and orders in recognition of her work in both international diplomacy and social and human development.
Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari is a Qatari diplomat, statesman, and intellectual. He is Adviser at the Amiri Diwan, and has been the Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage of Qatar from July 2008 to January 2016. He was previously the Ambassador of Qatar for France, the United States, the UNESCO and the UN.
Qian Tang is leading UNESCO's Education Sector, in facilitating its 195 Member States in the implementation of Goal 4 (education) at global, regional and country levels.
Juan Alfonso Fuentes Soria is a Guatemalan politician, who was the Acting Vice President of Guatemala.
Salih Mahdi Motlab al-Hasnawi is an Iraqi doctor and politician, who has been the Minister of Health since October 2007.
Vera El Khoury Lacoeuilh is currently an advisor to the Lebanese Ministry of Culture and member of the “Independent Team of Advisors” (ITA) set up by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
Audrey Azoulay is a French politician who is the current Minister of Culture.
These nine candidates will be interviewed during the 201st Board session April 26-27 2017. The person to be nominated by the Executive Board shall be chosen by secret ballot, during a vote that will 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.
Currently, Irina Bokova leads the organization. She became the first representing the Eastern-European group in this position. UNESCO rules do not allow the election of a senior official for more than two terms.