Culture minister promises to support women and combat poverty if he gets UN culture organization's top spot
Culture minister Farouk Hosni will present his plans for the UNESCO presidency today in his bid to be elected to the top post at the United Nations cultural organization. The election begins next Thursday.
Hosni will outline his plans for the post before a UNESCO committee. He says that if he is elected his presidency will concentrate on issues of education, combating poverty, supporting women and youth, supporting inter-cultural dialogue, supporting freedom of expression, improving the environment and fighting global warming.
"Women will be appointed to important posts within the organization," he said.
After his presentation, Hosni will answer questions from member states. Each of the six geographical zones that constitute the board of 58 member states has the right to pose one question.
Hosni's UNESCO campaign has been subject to much criticism. Jewish groups have raised objection due to comments he made in parliament last May when Hosni said he would personally burn Israeli books in the Alexandria library. Free speech advocates also oppose Hosni's nomination, citing his support for censorship during his 30 year career at the Ministry of Culture.
The UN has declared 2010 a year for inter-cultural dialogue. "Such dialogue supports world peace," Hosni said. "It comes under what I call cultural transition of all continents."
Hosni has pledged to support African countries and the small countries that he called "captive" of the global financial crisis. "Six million Africans are threatened with falling below the poverty line," he said. "And 700,000 African children are could die in their first year of birth."
Hosni is also promising to strip UNESCO of some of its red tape by applying a decentralized administrative system.
The board will hear the presentations of all nine candidates today. Each candidate will have 20 minutes to present his strategy followed by 30 minutes of questions.
If no candidate wins a majority in the first round on 17 September, a re-vote will be held 18-21 September, followed by a final vote between the two leading candidates on 22 September. The board then notifies the General Conference of the winner. An announcement will be made 18 October by Benin's permanent representative, Olabiyi Babalola.
The nine candidates are:
Ina Mareiulionyte from Lithuania, Mohammed Bedjaoui from Algeria, Irina Bokova from Bulgaria, Farouk Hosni from Egypt, Sospeter Muhongo from Tanzania, Alexander Yakovenko from Russia, Ivonne Baki from Equator, Benita Ferrero-Waldner from Austria and Noureini Tidjani-Serpos from Benin.