Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry travelled to Paris on Thursday to support Moushira Khattab's bid for the post of director-general of UNESCO.
Eight candidates are running for head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, including former population minister Khattab, advisor to the Lebanese culture ministry Vera Khoury, former Qatari culture minister Hamad Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari, and former French culture minister Audrey Azoulay.
Shoukry is set to meet with the members of UNESCO’s executive board, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said, according to MENA state news agency.
The selection of candidates will begin on 9 October and the vote will be by secret ballot of the executive board, which includes 58 member states.
The winner must be supported by 30 of the 58 members of the board and then approved by the 195 members of the UNESCO General Assembly to succeed Bulgarian Irina Bokova, who was elected as director-general in 2009 and re-elected for a second term in 2013.
The session of the organisation's executive body must end on October 18th.
Khattab graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University in 1967.
A career diplomat, she has served as Egypt's ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1990 to 1995 and ambassador to South Africa from 1995 to 1999, before becoming an assistant foreign minister.
In 2002, she was appointed secretary-general of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood and in 2010 was appointed to head the short-lived ministry of family and population.
Khattab is not the first Egyptian to be nominated for the UNESCO position.
In 2009, Egypt nominated former culture ministry Farouk Hosni for the post. Hosni lost the election amid allegations of anti-Semitism tied to remarks he made during his term as culture minister.