Irina BokovaUNESCO, Paris

    Irina Bokova has been the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 2009. She is engaged in international efforts to advance gender equality and quality education for all, and to combat terrorist financing by preventing the illicit traffic of cultural goods. A leading champion in the fight against racism and anti-Semitism, Bokova has spearheaded UNESCO’s activities on Holocaust remembrance, awareness, and education. Other fields of action include enabling scientific cooperation for sustainable development, such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, and global advocacy for the safety of journalists and freedom of expression. An advocate for European integration, Bokova has served as Minister for Foreign Affairs, Coordinator of Bulgaria-European Union relations, and Ambassador of Bulgaria to France, Monaco, and UNESCO. She is a founding member and chairman of the European Policy Forum, an NGO created to promote European identity and encourage dialogue to overcome divisions in Europe. Bokova has received state distinctions from countries across the world and is Doctor honoris causa of leading universities. She graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and studied at the University of Maryland and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

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