Ms Audrey Azoulay, the incumbent Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), was on November 9, 2021, reelected to lead the global organization for another four years following massive support of the Organization’s 193 Member States. She obtained 155 votes out of the total of 169 ballots cast.
Azoulay was first appointed in 2017 after a bitter campaign and her mandate was to revive the organisation’s fortunes.
According to her, “I see this result as a sign of regained unity within our Organization. Over the last four years, we have been able to restore confidence in UNESCO, and in some respects, this has also been about restoring UNESCO’s confidence in itself. We regained serenity by reducing the political tensions that stood in our way and by looking for common positions on subjects that were divisive in the past. We were then able to develop a shared ambition, notably by reconnecting with the tradition of leading major operations in the field”.
Over the past four years of her leadership, UNESCO went through a significant modernization process to improve the efficiency of its actions. The Organization notably embarked on the reconstruction of the old city of Mosul (Iraq), launched in 2018 and currently underway.
UNESCO has rebuilt close to 90 schools in the Lebanese capital since the tragic double explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020. The organisation is also pursuing activities in the fields of heritage and culture in the country.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, while hundreds of millions of children and adolescents were deprived of their right to learn, UNESCO once again proved its ability to step in, establishing the Global Education Coalition which made it possible to ensure educational continuity in 112 countries.
Compared to the previous four years before her election, this new momentum she brought in has led to a consolidation of UNESCO’s budget; funding for 2020-21 totaled US$1.4 billion while voluntary contributions increased by 50% over the 2017-2021 period.