BENNANI OF MOROCCO ELECTED CHAIRPERSON OF UNESCO’S EXECUTIVE BOARD
Paris, November 5 (No.2001-122)
– Aziza Bennani, Permanent Delegate of Morocco to UNESCO, was today
elected Chairperson of the Organization’s Executive Board for a period of two
Ms Bennani was elected unanimously in a single round of voting. She
succeeds Sonia Mendieta de Badaroux (Honduras) who served as chairperson of the
Executive Board since November 18, 1999.
Speaking to the Executive Board after her election, Ms Bennani said she
saw in the decision to entrust the Chair to a woman and to a representative of
the Arab region, as proof of UNESCO’s commitment to gender equality and of its
rejection of the all too widespread confusion between Islam and terrorism.
Describing the events of September 11 in the US as a violation of human
rights and of UNESCO’s Constitution, Ms Bennani said that “together we must
reject any attempt to establish a hierarchy among cultures, [we must reject] the
confusion between terrorism and any one culture, religion or nation”. She
added that the present crisis highlighted the need for UNESCO to contribute to a
new world order based on humanist values, recognizing the diversity and equal
dignity of all cultures.
Advocating the pursuance of dialogue among civilizations, well beyond the
Year 2001, dedicated by the United Nations to that theme, Ms Bennani said that
UNESCO should help foster “a voracious appetite for the arts of all countries
and of all epochs.”
Born in Rabat in 1943, Ms Bennani holds doctorates in literature from
universities in Morocco and France. She has served as Morocco’s Culture
Minister from 1994 to 1998 and has been her country’s Ambassador and Permanent
Delegate to UNESCO since 1998.
The Executive Board’s 58 members, elected by the General Conference,
meet twice a year. The Executive Board oversees the implementation of the
programmes adopted by the General Conference, UNESCO’s supreme governing body.