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Yade nominated as France's UNESCO ambassador

Former French junior sports minister Rama Yade was officially nominated as France's permanent ambassador to UNESCO Wednesday. The popular Yade lost her ministerial position during French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Nov. 14 cabinet reshuffle.


Former French junior sports minister Rama Yade was nominated as France’s permanent ambassador to UNESCO on Wednesday.

Yade, who was born in Senegal in 1976 before moving to France with her parents at the age of 11, played an important if at times prickly role in French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government, first as undersecretary for human rights and later as junior sports minister until she lost her ministerial position in a cabinet reshuffle last month.

Her inclusion in Sarkozy’s cabinet was widely seen as a symbol of the French president’s attempt to break the racial and gender glass ceiling by including minorities in the upper rungs of government.

Yade succeeds Catherine Colonna, a former French presidential spokeswoman, who served under former French President Jacques Chirac.

Her nomination as ambassador to UNESCO comes barely a week after she joined the Radical Party (Parti Radical), a branch of the ruling UMP party, headed by France’s former ecology minister, Jean-Louis Borloo.

Yade lost her job as sports minister in the Nov. 14 cabinet reshuffle after criticising UMP party leader Jean-François Copé for raising the controversial issue of national identity as a means to woo supporters of the far-right National Front party.

She however remains a popular figure in France especially since she has displayed her willingness to criticise Sarkozy, although she has been careful about supporting the French president by urging UMP members to back Sarkozy as the party’s candidate for the 2012 elections.

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