Audrey Azoulay

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.

Audrey Azoulay
Didier Plowy - Audrey Azoulay (cropped).jpg
11th 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 48)
La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France
Political partySocialist Party
Spouse(s)François-Xavier Labarraque
Alma materParis Dauphine University
Lancaster University
Sciences Po
École nationale d'administration

Early life and educationEdit

Early life and family

Azoulay was born in Paris to a Moroccan Jewish family from Essaouira.[3] She is the daughter of André Azoulay, former adviser to the king of Morocco Hassan II from 1991 to 1999, then the current adviser to king Mohammed VI of Morocco.[4][5]She is the daughter of Katia Brami a moroccan writer. Her aunt, Éliane Azoulay, is a journalist for the French magazine "Télérama". She indicates having "grown up in a very left-environnment"," politicized on the israeli-Palestinian conflict", in the Beaugrenelle neighbourhood, with her two older sisters. Judith, who worked in the "Association française d'action artistique" (AFAA) and Sabrina who is a producer.

She has a son and a daughter with her husband François-Xavier Labarraque, who also studied in École nationale d'administration. She doesn't have Moroccan nationality, unlike her parents.


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.[6][7][8] She also studied at Sciences Po and the École nationale d'administration (ENA)[6] in 2000 ( promotion Averroès, alongside Fleur Pellerin, Alexis Kohler and Nicolas Kazadi among others).

Activism and political positioning

She works while studying at a bank, which she says she "hated". During her studies in École nationale d'administration, she says she "discovered the old France anti-Semitism".

She indicates having participated in demonstration against the " Devaquet bill" in 1986 , against the "Juppé plan" in 1995 and against the presence of Jean- Marie Le Pen in the second round of the French Presidential in 2002.

She had models like Simone Veil and Jean Zay.

Public service in the media sector (2000-2006)
From 2000 to 2003

In 2000, Audrey Azoulay was appointed civil administrator, assigned to the general secretariat of the Lionel Jospin government. From April 2000 to July 2003, she worked at the head of the public audiovisual sector office, especially for the strategy and the funding of sector organization in the media development department. At the same time, she manages media expertise missions for the European Commission within the process of pre-accession programs.

From 2003 to 2006

In 2003, she was in charge of conference in media strategy, audiovisual and cinema financing at the "Institute of Political Studies of Paris". From September 2003 to February 2006, she works for the Ile-de-France Regional Chamber Accounts and with the Committee for inquiry into the cost and performance of public service. In 2004, she appeared in the distribution of the Film " Le Grand Rôle " by the director Steve Suissa, where she played the director's assistant.


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.[9][10] Azoulay 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.[11] Under her leadership, the Ministry lent support to a women's contemporary art prize launched by AWARE (Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions).[12] 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.[13] 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.[14][15]

In 2017, Azoulay was one of the nine candidates seeking to succeed Irina Bokova as Director-General of UNESCO.[16] She was selected as Director-General of UNESCO and her candidacy was presented for approval of UNESCO's general assembly on 10 November 2017.[17]

Other activitiesEdit


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

External linksEdit

Government offices
Preceded by
Fleur Pellerin
French Minister of Culture
2016 – 2017
Succeeded by
Françoise Nyssen
Preceded by
Irina Bokova
Director-General of UNESCO
2017 – present