Egypt nominates former tourism & antiquities minister El-Enany for UNESCO director-general

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 5 Apr 2023

Egypt has nominated former minister of tourism and antiquities Khaled El-Enany for the post of director-general of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). The election will take place during the last quarter of 2025.

 Khaled El-Enany
Former Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El-Enany

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly a few minutes ago at a press conference at the cabinet premises in the New Administrative Capital.

In his speech, El-Enany expressed his gratitude for the Egyptian government for his nomination as director-general of UNESCO, saying it reflects the government's confidence in his ability to assume this prestigious position.

“This nomination is a magnitude responsibility, especially in light of the UNESCO’s role and mission at this delicate stage in human history, in which it suffers from unprecedented challenges,” El-Enany said. He pointed out that there are still tens of millions of children around the world who do not receive any education. Tangible and intangible cultural heritage as well as the world's natural heritage are facing great challenges. In addition, the least developed countries failed to benefit from the huge leap in technology and modern innovations.

He asserted that the world today is in dire need, perhaps more than ever, for dialogue and understanding, spreading a culture of tolerance, accepting difference, accepting and respecting the other, rejecting violence, hatred, intolerance and discrimination. It is also imperative to be working towards promoting cultural diversity, bridging the huge scientific and technological gap, and redoubling efforts to achieve the goals of sustainable development, especially those related to providing knowledge and quality education, equality, innovation, peace, and justice.

El-Enany added that he is honoured to put his academic and executive experiences in the service of the organisation and its noble goals. The UNESCO goals, he added, are closely linked to the Egyptian conscience which has been -- since ancient times -- upholding the value of peace, based on moderation, and blending Arab and African identity, as well as Islamic, Coptic and Jewish heritage. 

Concluding his speech, El-Enany thanked the prime minister for Egypt's efforts to prepare for this nomination, which reflects the importance Egypt binds to this position.
“I am confident in the full support that all government institutions will provide to enable Egypt to win this position that will allow the country to continue to perform its educational and enlightening role, to establish the values of peace and justice, and to build bridges between peoples,” El-Enany asserted.

Khaled El-Enany assumed his position as minister of antiquities from March 2016 to December 2019. He then became minister of tourism and antiquities from December 2019 to August 2022. He is the first minister to hold the tourism and antiquities portfolios together since the two ministries were separated in 1966. 

El-Enany is a professor in the Tourism Guidance Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management (FTH), Helwan University (HU), since 2011.

He has various academic, scientific, administrative and executive experiences, in Egypt and abroad. During his career, he has developed a strong international network with many governments, institutions and organisations, visiting more than 25 countries for academic purposes, official meetings, conferences and events.

During his six-and-a-half-year tenure in the government, he supervised the implementation of important projects and pivotal strategies, and took the necessary measures to boost tourism and archaeology in Egypt. He worked on the promulgation and amendment of several laws and decrees.

During his time as minister, more than 20 museums and 45 restoration and development projects of archeological sites were inaugurated, and more than 20 restoration projects of historical mosques, monasteries and churches (including five locations on the Holy Family Trail) and Eliahu Hanavi Synagogue in Alexandria were opened. He inaugurated five lowering ground water projects in important archaeological sites. The number of archaeological missions, particularly Egyptian ones, has increased significantly, which contributed to important discoveries, and more than 23,000 smuggled artefacts were repatriated from more than 20 countries.

El-Enany ensured the formulation and implementation of important tourism strategies, such as the ministry's Sustainable Development Strategy 2030, and the National Sustainable Tourism Strategy (prepared by an Italian consultancy house). El-Enany supervised the formulation of the Brand Strategy (by a British-Canadian consortium), to introduce Egypt's new persona as a young alive country that deserves the global attention and repeat visits. Under the direction of the Egyptian state, he supervised the organisation of the two globally promotional events, the Pharaoh’s Golden Parade and Luxor: The Sphinx Avenue Parade.

El-Enany made the necessary arrangements to implement Egypt's decisions to mitigate the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war on the tourism sector and employees, which enabled Egypt to boost a rapid and safe tourism recovery.

In 2009, Egypt nominated former minister of culture Farouk Hosny for the post of UNESCO director-general. He lost his bid to Bulgarian former foreign minister Irina Bokova. 

Egyptian politician and diplomat Moushira Khattab was also Egypt’s candidate for the post of UNESCO director-general at the elections held in 2017. Khattab who served as minister of state for family and population between 2009 and 2011 lost her bid to the current UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azouly.

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