UNESCO chooses new chief amid tensions over Palestinian role

AP , Monday 9 Oct 2017

UNESCO's executive board is choosing a new leader to replace departing director Irina Bokova, whose tenure was marred by funding troubles and tension over its inclusion of Palestine as a member.

Intense diplomatic wrangling has marked the race among seven candidates to become the next director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Arab countries have long wanted to lead the organization, though divisions over Palestinian membership have complicated their push.

Voting by UNESCO's executive board starts Monday and continues through the week.

Leading candidates include Qian Tang of China, former Egyptian government minister Moushira Khattab and Qatar's former Culture Minister Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari.

The U.S. and Israel suspended UNESCO funding when its members voted to make Palestine a member state in 2011.

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