Inner City Press

In Other Media-eg New Statesman, AJE, FP, Georgia, NYTAzerbaijan, CSM Click here to contact us     .

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis

Share |   

Follow on TWITTER

More: InnerCityPro

Home -

These reports are usually available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis


(FP Twitterati 100, 2013)

ICP on YouTube
Sept 24, 2013

UN: Sri Lanka


FOIA Finds  

Google, Asked at UN About Censorship, Moved to Censor the Questioner, Sources Say, Blaming UN - Update - Editorial

Support this work by buying this book

Click on cover for secure site orders

also includes "Toxic Credit in the Global Inner City"




Bank Beat

Freedom of Information

How to Contact Us

Demolition of UNESCO Culture Sector Is Endorsed by DG Azoulay And States Under Guterres

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive, Video

UN GATE, September 30 –  From the corrupt UN of Antonio Guterres in New York, the whole UN system has been corrupted, including UNESCO. For decades, the culture sector was the shining part of UNESCO. Its culture-related activities always attracted public attention not only for the famous heritage sites but also for the normative work protecting and promoting cultural policies, strategies and projects worldwide.  This cozy state of affairs came brutally to an end last year.

The culture sector became the field of inexplicable administrative experimentation by the Director general of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay and her assistant director general for Culture, the Chilean Ernesto Ottone Ramirez, who is a good friend of Azoulay from her previous life as minister of culture of France.  On the ground of this close friendship, right after her election in November 2017, he became the first ADG to be confirmed in his new position without any competition as per the rules.

Since then, he proved to be as poorly prepared as the rest of her senior team for such a high position and particularly for working in the challenging international environment of UNESCO.  Famous for his anger, feeling easily upset, regularly shouting at his subordinates, Ottone Ramirez managed nevertheless to succeed in getting rid over less than a year of all experienced senior managers of the culture sector who preferred to quit rather than to keep working under his leadership and its incarnation of incompetence. 

Still, with the implicit consent of member states, Ottone Ramirez is advancing his reforms. Convinced that DG Azoulay will never disagree with him (the interests of UNESCO come clearly after their solid comradeship) Ottone Ramirez is peacefully and methodically destabilizing the culture sector. Particular attention was paid by both to break the effective implementation and monitoring of the UNESCO normative instruments in the area of culture and to hamper effectively their national implementation.

To that end, the secretaries of the conventions were dismissed or reassigned within the organization. Disrupting substantially the work of the culture sector is not an easy task, but DG Azoulay and her faithful gaucho Ottone Ramirez proved to be capable of doing so in the short run.  The reform of the culture sector further obstructed the pivotal role of culture, heritage and creativity as a means of achieving sustainable development and peace.

By slowing down its core functions as standard-setter, capacity-builder and catalyst for international cooperation, UNESCO is progressively losing its leadership in culture, after losing it in education. The reform also debilitated the safeguarding of intangible cultural heritage and encumbered the institutional support for the emergence of dynamic cultural and creative industries. 

But how to concentrate on mobilizing innovative and culturally appropriate responses to the various challenges of sustainable development when at the same time more immediate and urgent tasks and challenges are at stake – such as finding a permanent job in the culture sector for the good friend and current advisor of Audrey Azoulay the unskilled and hopeless Sunna Altnoder who is on a temporary post in the cabinet of Azoulay.

Or to get rid of the competent chief executive office and of the one of the administrative unit, or to make sure that the Italian director in the sector is kept well under the water with no staff or support for her activities. Staff in the culture sector are blaming openly the arrogant and heavy-handed management style of Ottone Ramirez whispering that UNESCO is not a suitable place for some in UN hyperbole call a baby-Pinochet.  

  These internal rearrangements are having by far a higher priority for the top managers than empowering marginalized communities through culture or fostering creativity and supporting the emergence of cultural and creative industries as a tool for inclusive economic and social development.

Not to mention the Forum of ministers of culture planed for November next, that is one of the highest priorities of DG Azoylay and Ottone Ramirez, while it has no other major objective than the self-promotion of their couple.  In her uncompromising efforts to shrink the scope and the impact of UNESCO’s action worldwide, the French Audrey Azoulay clearly hired the right people for her senior management team. The question remains what will member states do in order to contain the rampant despoliation and corruption of UNESCO, caused by poor management and slipshod practices.

Again, another file for IOS is the verification of the functioning of the transportation unit of UNESCO. The Director of the Cabinet Mr Nicolas Kassianides, is still using an official car without being entitled to do so. Even more unacceptable is the use by him of official cars for transportation to airports and railway stations when at the same time he is getting the terminal fare DSA paid to him, which in such way goes directly into his pocket. This financial trickery, centered on embezzlement and abuse of power, may interest IOS to the utmost. As pointed out by a senior staff member, if DG Azoulay still believe she has a chance for re-election, one of her first steps should be to get rid of her Director of Cabinet, Kassianides, the young inexperienced French fellow from the Quai d’Orsay.   We will have more next week on the intentional destruction of the Culture Sector of UNESCO and on the appointment of sons and daughters of Ambassadors to UNESCO in the Secretariat of the Organization.  One persisting mystery though is the reason why influential member states remain silent, while no other previous Director-General benefited from such indulgence and for how much longer the deep moral and programmatic crisis in which UNESCO is swimming today will be considered within acceptable limits by those funding the Organization.  We will have more on all that. Watch this site! 

And now comes Hong Kwon went as far as he could perverting the human resources system of UNESCO in Paris.  Cases of harassment expanded, disastrous recruitment policy implemented, total mess with the reclassification policy that even exposed the DDG from China and made him look like a fool in front of all staff members concerned. And making China look bad is one of few firing offenses in Guterres' UN. 

 Hong Kwon had plans to stay in Paris for at least two years more, but after being severely exposed during the last session of the Executive Board of UNESCO in April  for his disastrous management of the cases contested by the staff most of which had been lost because of his incompetence before the UN tribunal in Geneva, the Director General Azoulay had no other choice but to see him leave his position on an insultingly short notice. 

Inner City Press will / would ask the following question to Guterres' still vacationing (in France) spokesman Stephane Dujarric, whose Deputy Farhan Haq now refuses to answer Inner City Press even as he has in the past on the UN's child rape: After being sacked from UNESCO despite the initial extension of his contract until 2021 for the cases lost in Geneva (11 out of 13 cases in 2018), what position might Hong Kwon now be assuming  in the UN? Can you explain how will he be used and what for given his record in Paris, of imposing the irregular reclassification scheme, after disrupting the functioning of  entire sectors and programs of the organization with a mobility scheme painfully and partially implemented? What place is reserved for a manager with proven lack of respect for staff members, people, rules and procedures, using his own staff for cleaning and cooking at his place, relentlessly covering up cases of sexual and moral harassment of staff? He seems perfect for Guterres, just like Colin Stewart. We intend to follow the career of this Hong Kwon, another perfect match for Guterres - except that Hong Kwon unlike Guterres has yet to cover up child rape. Yet.

Here is some of Kwan's history, which makes him so appropriate for Big Tony Guterres - birds of a feather: Following the exclusive report by Inner City Press of May 26, the wind of panic in the Cabinet of Azoulay is blowing across UNESCO.  An internal note issued on 6th June describes the disciplinary measures taken during the period 1st January 2017 to 31 December 2018.

 Prepared and disseminated hastily after the publication of the Inner City Press article, the Information Circular IC/HR/163 clearly aimed at diverting the attention of staff and member states from the current scandals, in a pathetic attempt to pull the wool over their eyes, but actually nobody got fooled.    

On the contrary, the Director of Cabinet, Nicolas Kassianides is already under internal investigation after the article by ICP but even before the conclusion of the investigation, he is proudly claiming that he committed in fact no crime as the grants for renting his apartment had been duly approved by the Director of Human Resources Hong Kwon.  This is actually not an astute defense argumentation, as corruption schemes have always been diligently validated by the Director Human Resources Hong Kwon since his appointment at UNESCO in 2017 . 

The most recent example of such transgressions is the approval by Hong Kwon of a consultancy contract for the son of the Ambassador of Brazil to UNESCO. Madam Ambassador is well known for her unreserved and unquestionable support for the lousy reforms proposed by Azoulay and her team during the last two sessions of the Executive Board of UNESCO. Now, for those good and loyal services, she and her descendant are getting a candy from the Azoulay’s private candy shop - that's what UNESCO is turning into.

The contract is placing her son in the Division for external relations led by Edouard Matoko, who, of course, as the most prominent yes-man of Azoulay in this Administration, keenly accepted this very competent young person as a well-paid by tax-payers money consultant. Guess what, once more, this deliberate act of abuse of power and traffic of influence was suitably validated by the Cabinet of Azoulay and by the Director Human Resources Hong Kwon.  Another internal investigation launched last week concerns the case exposed by Inner City Press on the misuse of tax-payers money in large proportions. Take that example - the financial services of Azoulay authorized a payment of some 450,000 US dollars to an unknown financial institution in London. After effecting the payment, those funds vanished in someone’s pocket. Still, no measures to recover the money by the corrupted UNESCO. 


Feedback: Editorial [at]

Past (and future?) UN Office: S-303, UN, NY 10017 USA
For now: Box 20047, Dag Hammarskjold Station NY NY 10017

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540

 Search  Search WWW (censored?)

Other, earlier Inner City Press are listed here, and some are available in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.

 Copyright 2006-2019 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for