In the wake of losing to former French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay who was elected Director-General of UNESCO after an unusually heated four-round race, Egypt’s candidate for the position, Moushira Khattab, addressed a note of thanks to the Egyptian people.
Simultaneously, a statement released by the parliament’s foreign committee said: “Khattab’s performance in the UNESCO election campaign was strong and honourable … Khattab was a good face for Egypt in this campaign, not to mention that she is an outstanding diplomatic and international figure.” The committee said Dr Khattab and her campaign team members were able to contest four rounds of the election in a “very professional manner, dealing wisely with all obstacles that she faced in this battle.”
Dr Khattab, 71, is a former minister of family and population. She served as Egypt’s ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1990 to 1995, and ambassador to South Africa from 1995 to 1999.
In her statement to Egypt’s people, Dr Khattab said: “When I campaigned for the top post of UNESCO, I did not know I would be embarking on a wonderful journey into the hearts of Egyptians, during which their love and appreciation endowed me with the honour of representing Egypt
“My heart overflows with gratitude to every man and woman, old and young, privileged and underprivileged, who wished me well and supported me with their good wishes and loving intentions. I say to them: ‘I won your love, and this amply compensates me for not winning a position I strived for out of my belief in realising noble goals’.”
Dr Khattab thanked all who backed her and sponsored her campaign: President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry, and all civil organisations that were for her “a source of strength”. She said she would never forget their support and encouragement. “We competed in the name of Egypt, with Egypt’s time-honoured tradition of integrity and desire to serve mankind.”
“The competition has officially ended,” Dr Khattab noted, “But it has not ended for me on the people’s level.” She said she had aspired to serve UNESCO’s objectives of preserving peoples’ heritage and culture, promoting education and science, non-discrimination, acceptance of differences, interaction and dialogue, cultural diversity and pluralism, and enlightenment. Now, she said, she can still pursue these noble goals hand in hand with the Egyptian people, as a faithful daughter of an old civilisation that holds an immeasurable credit of love, tolerance and peace.
Dr Khattab concluded by saying, “I return home filled with love. I have learnt new letters in the word ‘humanitarianism’, which I look forward to instilling in the soil of my beloved homeland. Long Live Egypt!”
15 October 2017