Former French minister Audrey Azoulay appointed as UNESCO Director-General

Audrey Azoulay, a French civil servant and politician who served as Minister of Culture between 2016 to 2017, has been elected as UNESCO Director-General.

Member States of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday 10 November, 2017 appointed her to the position following an earlier nomination on 13 October.


Image: Audrey Azoulay

Speaking at the UNESCO General Conference after her endorsement by the agency’s executive board, Ms Audrey said: ‘I now think of all the people I met in recent months, or had met in my various professional capacities, who have great expectations from UNESCO.’

Ms Audrey will replace the outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova. She is expected to resume office on 15 November.

The new DG became a member of the National Center of Cinematography and the moving image (CNC) in 2006, and successively held the positions of Deputy Director for Multimedia Affairs, Chief Financial and Legal Officer and Deputy Director-General.

On 11 February, 2016, Ms Audrey succeeded Fleur Pellerin as Minister of Culture


‘I think of UNESCO’s mandate, which is strikingly modern. I think of all of you who are aware of the difficulties of the Organization but who know that it is irreplaceable, that it is essential, in facing current global challenges and who aspire to the unity and serenity necessary to let it exercise its mandate to best effect,’ the former French minister said.

audrey-azoulay (1)

Image: Audrey Azoulay


A graduate of the Ecole National d’Administration and the Paris Institut d’études politiques, the 45-year-old also holds Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Lancaster (UK), and Management Sciences from Paris Dauphine University.

Some of her achievements include playing a lead role in the December 2016 joint initiatives championed by France, the UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates to safeguard cultural heritage in war-affected zones. She was also a signatory to the Florence Declaration condemning the destruction of cultural sites at the first G7 culture summit in March 2017.

On 24 March, 2017 Ms Audrey presented Draft Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts to the UN Security Council. The resolution which gained support from France, Italy and UNESCO, was unanimously adopted.


Image: Audrey Azoulay

Ms Audrey, by her newest appointment, has become the 11th Director-General of UNESCO and the second woman to occupy this position.

UNESCO is an intergovernmental agency responsible for coordinating international cooperation in education, science, culture and communication. The organization’s theme is ‘Building peace in the minds of men and women,’