UNESCO, Paris, France
Born in Sofia, Bulgaria, Irina Bokova is a former Ambassador to France and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria. From 2009 to 2017, she was elected Director-General of UNESCO .
In this role, Bokova was actively engaged in the efforts to promote culture as a driver for sustainable development on the UN Agenda 2030, adopted in 2015.
She was particularly active in defense of cultural heritage in conflict in Mali, Syria and Iraq and in denouncing extremists’ destruction of heritage as a tool of war, which lead to the adoption by the UN Security Council of several landmark resolutions on the link between maintaining peace, security and the protection of cultural heritage.
In May 2020 she was elected as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 2020.
Bokova is a member of the board of the Ban Ki Moon Centre for Global Citizens, member of the Concordia Leadership Council, New York, lecturer on cultural diplomacy at the Paris School of International Affairs – SciencePo, and Visiting Lecturer at the University of Geneva.