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Anti-Semitic Qatari candidate defeated: French Jewish Audrey Azoulay elected to head UNESCO

Anti-Semitic Qatari candidate defeated: French Jewish Audrey Azoulay elected to head UNESCO”

English edition of Asharq Al-Awsat - the world's premier pan-Arab daily.

A day after the U.S. and Israel announced they were withdrawing from the Unesco alleging anti-Israel bias in the organization, it elected Audrey Azoulay, a French-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent, as its next Director-General.

Controversy and surprise broke out across diplomatic circles after Qatar's Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari gained the most votes in the first four rounds of voting.

Speaking to journalists after the vote, Azoulay referred to the crisis UNESCO has undergone in the past week following the U.S. decision to pull out of the United Nations agency, saying that "if my nomination is confirmed, my first action would be to restore the agency's credibility and the confidence of member states in its ability to confront the challenges that only UNESCO can face". Azoulay was a former Minister of Culture and had been nominated for the spot by former French President Francois Hollande.

For this objective, a diplomatic cell was set up to monitor the elections and provide the necessary votes to the former minister of culture, who previously worked as cultural adviser to Hollande at the Elysee Palace. The first was the Iraqi candidate, followed by Lebanon's and finally Egypt's, who left after losing against Azoulay in an extraordinary runoff on Friday.

Moushira Khattab of Egypt managed to secure 25 votes to Azoulay's 31. Egypt's support was decisive.

Macron congratulated Azoulay on his twitter account, adding that France will continue to fight for education and culture in the world.

Audrey Azoulay, a French-Jewish woman of Moroccan descent, as its next Director-General.

Azoulay was born in Paris to a Moroccan Jewish family from Essaouira, and is the daughter of Andre Azoulay, an adviser to king Mohammed VI of Morocco. Her mother is writer Katia Brami. It is unclear what violations Egypt's Foreign Ministry believes occurred. She began her career in the offices in charge of supporting public broadcasting in France and went on to serve as rapporteur for the French public audit authority, Cour des Comptes, and legal expert for the European Commission in the fields of culture and communication.



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