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News
1 October 2009

UNESCO and ICTP choose new directors

Two organizations with close ties to TWAS have selected new directors – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is responsible for administering the Academy's funds and personnel, and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), which hosts TWAS's Secretariat in Trieste.

Bulgarian diplomat to be new Director-General of UNESCO

Irina Bokova, of Bulgaria, was elected UNESCO's Director-General on 22 September. Expected to be confirmed at UNESCO's General Conference on 15 October, she will be the first woman to lead the organization, as well as the first Eastern European.

Born in Sofia in 1952, Bokova is the Bulgarian ambassador to France and UNESCO. A career diplomat, she attended the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs (USA) and has worked at UN headquarters in New York.

Bokova helped draft Bulgaria's new constitution following the fall of Communism and, in 1996–97, served as Foreign Minister. As a vice presidential candidate in 1996, she advocated her country's entry into the European Union and NATO. Bokova was chosen after five rounds of voting, from among nine candidates for the post. She will replace Koïchiro Matsuura, who has headed UNESCO since 1999.

ICTP names high-energy physicist as new Director

Fernando Quevedo, professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge, UK, has been named ICTP's new Director.

Born in 1956 in Costa Rica, Quevedo received his early education in Guatemala. He earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, USA, in 1986, under the supervision of Nobel laureate Steven Weinberg, before pursuing postdoctoral work at Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA, and McGill University, Canada.

Quevedo joined the High Energy Physics group Cambridge's DAMTP in 1998, where his research has focused on string theory and its potential phenomenological and cosmological implications. He had previously been a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), 1997–98, and an associate at CERN, Switzerland, 1995–96.

He was awarded the 1998 ICTP Prize in High Energy Physics for his contribution to phenomenological studies in superstring theory and the role of duality symmetries. Among his other honours are the UK Royal Society Wolfson Merit Award and a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Quevedo will succeed Katepalli R. Sreenivasan, who has served in the post since 2003.

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