Audrey Azoulay

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Audrey Azoulay
Didier Plowy - Audrey Azoulay (cropped).jpg
Director-General of the UNESCO
Assumed office
15 November 2017
Preceded byIrina Bokova
Minister of Culture
In office
11 February 2016 – 10 May 2017
Prime MinisterManuel Valls
Bernard Cazeneuve
Preceded byFleur Pellerin
Succeeded byFrançoise Nyssen
Personal details
Born (1972-08-04) 4 August 1972 (age 46)
La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France
Political partySocialist Party
Alma materParis Dauphine University
Lancaster University
Sciences Po
École nationale d'administration

Audrey Azoulay (French pronunciation: ​[o.dʁɛ a.zu.lɛ]; born 4 August 1972) is a French civil servant and politician who served as France's Minister of Culture from 2016 to 2017.[1][2] She was nominated on 13 October 2017 and, on 10 November 2017, appointed as the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), becoming the second female leader of the organization. She completed a Master's of Public Affairs at the Elite Sciences Po,[3] and graduated from the École nationale d'administration (ÉNA)

Early life and education[edit]

Azoulay was born in Paris to a Moroccan Jewish family from Essaouira.[4] She is the daughter of André Azoulay, current adviser to king Mohammed VI of Morocco.[5][6] Azoulay has stated that she "grew up in a very left-wing environment" "politicized on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict".[citation needed]

Azoulay gained a master's degree in management sciences from Paris Dauphine University in 1994 and a master's degree in business administration from Lancaster University.[7][8][9] She also studied at Sciences Po and the École nationale d'administration (ENA).[7]


In 2006, Azoulay joined the National Center of Cinematography and the moving image (CNC), successively holding the positions of Deputy Director for Multimedia Affairs, Chief Financial and Legal Officer and Deputy Director-General.[10][11] Azouley succeeded Fleur Pellerin as Minister of Culture on 11 February 2016. During her time in office, she increased her department's budget by 6.6% to a total of €2.9 billion in 2017 – the largest amount of government money promised for the arts in the country's history.[12] Under her leadership, the Ministry lent support to a women's contemporary art prize launched by AWARE (Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions).[13] Internationally, she played a key role in the joint initiatives of France, the UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates to safeguard cultural heritage in conflict zones, announced in December 2016, and was a signatory to the Florence Declaration condemning the destruction of cultural sites at the first G7 culture summit in March 2017.[14] On 24 March 2017, she presented Draft Resolution 2347 on the protection of cultural heritage in armed conflicts to the UN Security Council. This resolution, put forward by France, Italy and UNESCO, was adopted unanimously.[15][16]

In 2017, Azoulay was among nine candidates seeking to succeed Irina Bokova as Director-General of UNESCO.[17] She was selected as Director-General of UNESCO and her candidacy was presented for approval of UNESCO's general assembly on November 10, 2017.[18]

Other activities[edit]

  • Generation Unlimited, Member of the Board (since 2018)[19]


  1. ^ "Audrey Azoulay".
  2. ^ "UN Says Attacks on Heritage Sites Could Be War Crimes". voanews. March 24, 2017.
  3. ^ "Audrey Azoulay, nouvelle ministre de la Culture, jusqu'ici, une femme de l'ombre - Arts et scènes - Télé". Télé (in French). Retrieved 2018-01-04.
  4. ^ "Audrey Azoulay : "A l'ENA, j'ai découvert l'antisémitisme vieille France"" (in French). Le Journal du Dimanche. 14 February 2016.
  5. ^ Digiacomi, Claire (1 February 2016). "Audrey Azoulay, ministre de la Culture et "amie des artistes"". The Huffington Port (in French).
  6. ^ "Leïla Slimani reçoit les insignes d'Officier de l'ordre des Arts et des Lettres à Paris" (in French). Huffington Post. 23 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b Rahal, Sophie (11 February 2016). "Audrey Azoulay, nouvelle ministre de la Culture, jusqu'ici, une femme de l'ombre" (in French). felerama.
  8. ^ Bommelaer, Claire (11 February 2016). "Audrey Azoulay à la Culture, une ascension fulgurante" (in French). Le Figaro.
  9. ^ Cornu, Camille (11 February 2016). "Audrey Azoulay, nouvelle ministre de la Culture". Actualitte.
  10. ^ "Audrey Azoulay nommée Directrice générale déléguée du CNC" (in French). CNC.
  11. ^ "Audrey Azoulay, la surprise de François Hollande Rue de Valois" (in French). Le Monde.
  12. ^ Victoria Stapley-Brown and Hannah McGivern (October 5, 2016), France to increase funding for museums and acquisitions in 2017 budget The Art Newspaper.
  13. ^ Anna Sansom (February 16, 2017), First French art prize for female artists awarded The Art Newspaper.
  14. ^ Emily Sharpe (May 26, 2017), Who will win race to run Unesco? The Art Newspaper.
  15. ^ "Security Council Condemns Destruction, Smuggling of Cultural Heritage by Terrorist Groups, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2347 (2017)". United Nations. 24 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Audrey Azoulay, Minister for Culture and Communication of France - Europa Newswire)". Europa Newswire. 25 March 2017.
  17. ^ Emmanuel Jarry and John Irish (March 25, 2017), French minister Royal to run for U.N. development agency post Reuters.
  18. ^ Irish, John (2017-10-13). "UNESCO selects France's Azoulay as new chief". Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  19. ^ World leaders unite under new initiative to provide quality education and training for young people Generation Unlimited, press release of 21 September 2018.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Government offices
Preceded by
Fleur Pellerin
French Minister of Culture
2016 – 2017
Succeeded by
Françoise Nyssen
Preceded by
Federico Mayor Zaragoza
Director-General of UNESCO
2007 – present