United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï elected Chairman of UNESCO Executive Board

On 5 November 2007, the UNESCO Executive Board met for its 178th session during which it elected a new Chairman, Mr Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yaï, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Benin to UNESCO.

On this occasion, Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, addressed the new chairman, vice-chairmen and members who were elected during the 34th session of the General Conference which has just concluded (see UNESCO Press Release n°2007-132).

The Director-General paid warm tribute to "a brilliant university teacher, an exceptional polyglot, a specialist in African cultures and languages, and a specialist in cultural and linguistic policy". Ambassador Yaï "has engaged in the life of UNESCO with an exceptional enthusiasm", the Director-General said. Since 1999, "he has put his great human and professional qualities at the service of most of our working and analysis groups". Mr Matsuura said he was delighted that Ambassador Yaï "has accepted to once again put his knowledge and generosity at the service of the general interests of the Organization and its Member States". "At a time when the UNESCO General Conference has just adopted a new mid-term strategy for 2008-2013 and a new draft programme and budget for 2008-2009, which puts Africa among its top priorities, I am particularly happy that a leading representative of the continent has been called to preside over the destiny of the Executive Board for the next two years," stated the Director-General.

Mr Matsuura told the 58 members of the Board: "The Executive Board plays a decisive political and strategic role in the life of our institution because it has a mandate to oversee the efficient execution of the programme and budget for the Organization's work. I sincerely hope that, hand in hand, we will be able to lead UNESCO to the position of exemplary excellence that we want to see it occupy within the United Nations system. And I am confident that with Mr Yaï, I can count on a close and fruitful working relationship."

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Author(s): Office of the Spokeswoman - Source: Flash Info N° 169-2007 -  Publication Date: 06-11-2007

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