The former French Minister for Culture, Audrey Azoulay, is expected to be named the next Director-General at UNESCO on 10 November 2017.
The 58 members of UNESCO’s Executive Board (of which the UK is a member) nominated Azoulay for the position in October 2017.
In her mission statement for the position, Azoulay outlined her future priorities as making UNESCO a key player in sustainable development, ensuring the organisation remains an intellectual forum serving universal values, and continuing the organisation’s reform agenda to become more efficient for the benefit of all.
Azoulay began her career as Head of the Public Broadcasting Sector Office at the Media Development Directorate, where she worked on the roll-out of Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) in France, the establishment of an international news channel and the reform of public broadcasting.
Later, in 2006, Audrey moved onto join the French National Centre of Cinematography and the Moving Image (CNC), successively holding the positions of Deputy Director for Multimedia Affairs, Chief Financial and Legal Officer and Deputy Director-General.
In 2014, Audrey was appointed Culture Adviser to then-President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and since 2016 served as Minister of Culture and Communication. Here she worked on implementing the plan of action for the protection of endangered heritage in conflict zones. She endorsed a statement by the Director of the Louvre Museum at the G7 Summit held in Tokyo on 26 May 2016, and supported the organisation of France and the United Arab Emirate’s joint International Conference on Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage, held in Abu Dhabi in December 2016.
In July 2016, Audrey Azoulay introduced the bill adopted on freedom of creation, architecture and heritage, which enshrines in French law the principle of freedom of creation, including an important aspect relating to the protection of heritage and the fight against trafficking in cultural property as well as the modernization of copyright and related rights in the digital domain. She launched the project “Creation in progress” with the French Ministry of National Education, which provides for an extensive programme of artist residencies in schools throughout France.
Audrey Azoulay is actively engaged in innovation and intercultural and intergenerational dialogue, to advance education for all and to involve museums in civic education and fostering a desire to live together, as attested by the “Museums of the Twenty-First Century” mission, which she launched in 2016, and whose recommendations have just been published.
For more information, see her UNESCO campaign website.