Irina Bokova, Bulgarian, has been the Director-General of UNESCO since 15 November 2009. She was re-elected in October 2013 for a second term. Ms Bokova is the first woman to have been elected head of the Organization.
Irina Bokova was Minister for Foreign Affairs and Coordinator of Bulgaria-European Union relations (1995-1997) and subsequently Ambassador of Bulgaria (2005-2009) to France, Monaco and UNESCO and Personal Representative of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria to the "Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie" (OIF). While serving as State Secretary on European Integration and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Bokova always promoted European integration. As an active member of many international expert networks and of civil society and, in particular, as Chairperson and founding member of the European Policy Forum, she has worked to overcome European divisions and to foster the values of dialogue, diversity, human dignity and human rights.
She is actively engaged in international efforts to advance education for all, gender equality, cultural dialogue and scientific cooperation for sustainable development and is a global ambassador for safety of journalists and freedom of expression.
In addition to her mother tongue, Irina Bokova speaks English, French, Spanish and Russian.