CAIRO-The General Union of Arab Writers and Authors has confirmed its support for the nomination of Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni to the post of director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
It appealed to Islamic and Asian countries to support the Egyptian minister, who would be the first Arab intellectual to hold the post since the establishment of the organisation more than 60 years ago.
Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak agreed to nominate Farouk Hosni for the post, which will become vacant next year when the term of current director-general Koïchiro Matsuura ends.
UNESCO is responsible for the care and protection of world heritage and promotes the development of education and science programs.
CNN’s Web site emphasised the importance of this nomination for Hosni, a well-known artist considered one of the most important Egyptian modern painters whose work has a large following around the world. Hosni holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alexandria, and is nicknamed "the artist minister."
His term in the Ministry of Culture has not been free of controversy, however. He resigned as minister after the Beni Sweif Cultural Palace fire in 2005 that killed 35 people, but was reinstated by Presidenet Mubarak. He was also involved in the dismantling and removal of a statue of Ramses that stood for half a century in a field in central Cairo to protect it from the devastating effects of pollution, which generated considerable public controversy.
[Al Yawm Al Sabaa, CNN Web site]