Cairo: Egypt has officially nominated former family and population minister Mushira Khattab for the top post of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the second nomination by an Arab country to the job.
The nomination was announced on Tuesday night by Egyptian Prime Minister Sharif Esmail.
“I have the pleasure to announce to you and to the entire world that the Arab Republic of Egypt has decided to nominate Mushira khattab to the post of the director-general of the Unesco,” Esmail told a forum held at the Egyptian Museum in central Cairo.
He praised Khattab, a former diplomat, as a “lady of experiences and an eventful history at the national and international levels”.
“With this nomination, Egypt presents to the world an example of the open-minded and successful Egypt, Arab and African woman.”
In March, Qatar nominated its former culture minister Hamad Bin Aziz Al Kuwari, who is a current royal adviser, to the top Unesco post.
Ties between Egypt and Qatar have soured since 2013 when the army deposed Islamist president Mohammad Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, whom Doha staunchly backed.
Sharif said that Egypt’s decision to field Khattab came after approaching several countries which he termed as “friendly and having weight” inside the Unesco.
“Responses were very positive in view of the diplomatic and field history of the Egyptian nominee whose experience is consistent with the Unesco mission,” he added without elaborating.
In 2002, she became the head of the state-run National Council for Motherhood and Childhood and performed in that role for eight years. Khattab was named as Egypt’s family and population minister in 2010.
She also held several diplomatic posts, including Egypt’s ambassador to the former Czechoslovakia and South Africa.
In 2009, Egypt nominated then culture minister Farouk Hosni for the top Unesco job, but he lost out to Bulgarian Irina Bokova. Vote for picking Bokova’s successor is due to be held early next year.