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Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (“UNESCO”) and former Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ms. Bokova, former acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations with an MSc in International Relations, and studied at the University of Maryland and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Ms. Bokova has been the Director-General of UNESCO since November 15, 2009 and was re-elected for a second term in 2013. She is the first woman and the first Eastern European to lead UNESCO. Ms. Bokova is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Bulgarian.

Vision Statement

Media Stakeout following Informal Dialogue


Born July 12, 1952 (age 63) in Sofia, Bulgaria, Ms. Bokova has held the following positions:

Director-General of UNESCO 2009-present
Permanent Delegate of Bulgaria to UNESCO 2005-2009
Ambassador of Bulgaria to France and Monaco 2005-2009
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs 1996-1997
Member of Parliament (Bulgaria)
Served as Deputy Chairperson of the Foreign Policy, Defence and Security Committee
Member of the European Integration Committee; and
Deputy Chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee
Member of Constituent National Assembly (Bulgaria) 1990-1991


During her time as Director-General of UNESCO, Ms. Bokova has engaged in international efforts to advance gender equality, provide quality education for all, and combat terrorist financing by preventing the illicit trafficking of cultural goods. Ms. Bokova has been active in spearheading UNESCO’s activities on Holocaust remembrance and avoidance and was the first Director-General of the Organization to appoint a Special Envoy for Holocaust Education. She has championed gender equality and equal access to a high quality education throughout her time at UNESCO.

During her time as a Member of Parliament for Bulgaria, Ms. Bokova advocated for Bulgaria’s membership in the EU and NATO.


Climate Change

Ms. Bokova has highlighted the impact of climate change on marginalized people and on the global human heritage. She has also discussed the ethical, economic and social dimensions of climate change.


Ms. Bokova has emphasized the importance of education for refugees in dealing with the recent refugee crisis.

Gender Equality/Women’s Rights

Bokova has consistently emphasized the importance of gender equality as a priority during her time as Director-General of UNESCO.


Ms. Bokova has highlighted the importance of deploying UN peacekeeping forces to protect cultural heritage. She has made limited comment on the recent scandals affecting UN peacekeeping operations.

Human Rights

Ms. Bokova has emphasized the important of cultural diversity and women’s empowerment in sustainable development and human rights.