Former Director General
Irina Bokova, born Sofia, Bulgaria, served two 4-year terms as Director-General of UNESCO (2009-2017). She was the first woman to lead the Organization. As Director-General of UNESCO, was actively involved in international efforts to advance gender equality, quality education for all, protect world’s cultural heritage and promote intercultural dialogue. She contributed substantially to the elaboration of many of the sustainable development goals on the UN Agenda 2030. She was on the Forbes List of the world's most influential women for 2016. Bokova has received state distinctions from 30 countries and is Doctor Honoris Causa of more than 40 Universities across the world.