| Koïchiro Matsuura (Japan) was re-elected today as Director-General of UNESCO by the Organization’s General Conference. He was first elected in 1999 to a six-year term. This time he will serve for four years, following a reform instituted by the 29th session of the General Conference.Mr Matsuura was born in 1937 in Tokyo. He studied law at the University of Tokyo and economics at Haverford College (Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) and began his diplomatic career in 1959. Posts held by Mr Matsuura include those of Director-General of the Economic Co-operation Bureau of Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1988); Director-General of the North American Affairs Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990); and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs (1992-1994). He was Japan’s Ambassador to France from 1994 to 1999. After one year as the Chairperson of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, he became UNESCO’s ninth Director-General on November 12, 1999.
The General Conference, UNESCO’s supreme ruling body grouping its 191 Member States, has thus confirmed the decision of the Executive Board, UNESCO’s other decision-making body, which had selected Mr Matsuura as candidate for the position of Director-General last September.
The General Conference, gathered for its 33rd session, first examined in private session the Executive Board’s proposal. The vote by secret ballot was then held: Mr Matsuura received 151 votes in favour of his appointment, three against. Counting nine abstentions and blank votes, a total of 163 countries cast their ballots out of 180 countries eligible to vote.
At the announcement of his re-election, Mr Matsuura said that he was deeply moved and proud of this expression of the Member States’ continued confidence in him. He assured them of his “determination to continue the efforts undertaken over for six years to make UNESCO an organization that is more and more effective and relevant to the needs of a constantly evolving world.”
Mr Matsuura will formally take office as Director-General at a ceremony on October 21.
|Source||Press Release No.2005-119|