Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

More debates on the economy, not on the burkini

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple set to face record tax penalty from EU

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Weiner strikes again

Read more

THE DEBATE

Colombia's Path to Peace: Can historic deal with FARC rebels work? (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Colombia's Path to Peace: Can historic deal with FARC rebels work? (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

The rise of political tourism in the Middle East

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: Video Music Awards, Rock en Seine and Puppa Lek Sen

Read more

YOU ARE HERE

The Gulf of Porto, a paradise of land and sea

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Quarterback takes a stand by sitting down

Read more

Culture

Bulgarian candidate beats Egypt's Hosni to top job

Video by Claire BONNICHON , Oliver FARRY

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-09-23

Bulgaria's former foreign minister Irina Bokova (photo) won the top job at the UN's cultural agency on Tuesday, beating Egyptian Farouk Hosni. The heavily disputed race was clouded by accusations of anti-Semitism against her Egyptian rival.

AFP - Bulgarian former foreign minister Irina Bokova won the top job at the UN culture agency Tuesday after a race clouded by anti-Semitism accusations against her Egyptian rival, a UNESCO official said.     

 

Bokova was elected director general of the Paris-based UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation after five rounds of voting by UNESCO's executive council that finally eliminated her main rival, Faruq Hosni.
  
Hosni, currently Egypt's culture minister, has been dogged by anti-Semitism accusations after saying last year that he would burn Israeli books.
  
The vote by UNESCO's 58-nation executive council gave Bokova 31 votes and gave 27 to Hosni, a diplomat said.
  
Bokova is a former communist turned europhile who has represented Bulgaria on UNESCO's board since 2007 and is also ambassador to France and Monaco.
  
When she takes over from Japan's Koichiro Matsuura -- after her appointment is endorsed in October by UNESCO's 193-member assembly -- she will become the body's first woman boss and its first from the former Soviet bloc.
  
The multilingual 57-year-old, who helped draft her country's new constitution after the fall of Communism, served briefly as foreign minister in 1996-1997 and has worked at UN headquarters in New York. 
  
Nine candidates were in the running when UNESCO's council began voting last Thursday, including European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who was seen as a favourite.
  
But they dropped out one by one until only Bokova and Hosni were left.
  
Hosni's supporters had said his election as the first Arab head of UNESCO, which has a mandate to promote global understanding through culture, science and education, would send a positive signal from the West to the Muslim world.
  
But his detractors, who include Auschwitz survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, said his appointment would "shame" the global community.
  

Date created : 2009-09-22

COMMENT(S)