Irina Bokova of Bulgaria elected as UNESCO’s 10th Director General

Bulgarian diplomat and politician, Irina Bokova has been elected Director-General of UNESCO by the 35th Session of the organisation’s General Conference in Paris this month.  Ms Bokova is the first woman and the first Eastern European to head the organisation.  Ms Bokova has served as the Ambassador of Bulgaria to France as well as the nation’s Permanent Delegate to UNESCO.  She studied at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and at the School of Public Affairs of the University of Maryland in the United States.  Ms Bokova has served as Bulgaria’s Minister and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and as candidate to the post of Vice President of Bulgaria, she advocated her country’s membership in NATO and the European Union.  Ms Bokova replaces outgoing Director General Koichiro Matsuura of Japan who has led the organisation for two terms.  Dr Matsuura has advanced a wide range of programmes including universal basic education, freshwater management and the preservation of living arts and culture.  He visited New Zealand in 2004.

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