Egypt's nominee for UNESCO Moushira Khattab - File Photo
CAIRO – 9 October 2017: Egypt and Africa’s nominee for post Moshira Khattab plans to make the UNESCO an active tool in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Khattab said that in an exclusive interview with Egypt Today hours before choosing the new director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
She aims to develop the education not only in the classroom but also of media, mosque sheikhs and church priests that teach people how to accept the others regardless of their religions.
“Religion should never play a discriminating role, and here comes the importance of education. This is the mission by which we can fight extremism.”
In addition, if she occupies the post, she will call for a meeting with all the members of the Secretariat, either those in Paris or those in various UNESCO offices around the world. Through this meeting, the offices could reveal their hopes, struggles and their suggestions to overcome the problems in the organization especially for member countries that do not pay their annual quorums.
“The new manager’s vision should rest on the intent to make the UNESCO a powerful, active and transparent organization that encourages donors to contribute to it and member countries to pay their annual quorums,” added Khattab.
Khattab during the interview praised the roles of Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain besides several European and Asian countries in supporting her.
“I am proud that Africa stand beside me and the huge role that the Chairmen of the African Union Chadian president Idriss Deby and Guinean president Alpha Conde and Egypt did not apply for the position until it had already requested support from the African Union.”
As for her stance toward the French candidate, she said that Egypt did not expect that from France whom Egypt has strong ties with and particularly that France has a very high percentage of seats in the Secretariat.
She revealed that through her meetings with members of the Executive Council, she found that there are attempts of some candidates to buy votes, but when the members react contrary to their expectations
The first round of UNESCO’s director-general nomination will start on Monday at 5:00 p.m. in the French capital Paris where seven candidates are running for office. Among these is Ambassador Moshira Khatab, the candidate from Egypt and Africa.
Khattab has a Ph.D. in children rights from Cairo University; in addition to an M.A. in international relations from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA and a B.A. in Political Science from Cairo University's Faculty of Economics and Political Science.
She was ranked third out of the five leading female human rights activists in the Middle East and North Africa in 2013.