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

In Guterres' Corrupt UN, UNESCO sex scandal in the Culture Sector Covered Up by Azoulay

By Matthew Russell Lee & sources, Exclusive

UN GATE, Sept 7 – Inner City Press has been reporting on serious malfeasance by the French Audrey Azoulay administration at UNESCO in Paris, almost as bad as Antonio Guterres' corruption in and of the UN in New York. Almost - a fish rots from the head.

UNESCO, like the whole UN system under Antonio Guterres is falling apart into abyssal nonsense and corruption. For decades, the culture sector was the shining part of UNESCO. Its culture-related activities always attracted public attention not only for the heritage sites but also for the normative work protecting and promoting cultural policies, strategies and projects worldwide. 

This state of affairs came brutally to an end under Azoulay’s administration.  The cultural sector has become the administration's field of experimentation on how to operate in total ignorance of rules and procedures.

 DG of UNESCO the French Audrey Azoulay and her assistant director general (ADG) for culture, the Chilean Ernesto Ottone Ramirez orchestrated and supervised this disruptive effort. Ottone is a good friend of Azoulay for many years since her previous life as minister of culture of France.  On this ground, 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 existing procedures.  Since then, he has proven to be ill-prepared for this high position and especially for working in the difficult international environment of UNESCO. 

Notorious for his baseless temper tantrums, feeling easily thwarted in the work process as evidence of his incompetence, regularly yelling at his subordinates, Ottone Ramirez has gotten rid of most of the experienced senior managers in the culture sector who preferred to resign rather than continue working under his harassing leadership style and embodiment of incompetence. 

With the implicit consent of member states, Ottone Ramirez is methodically destabilizing the culture sector. The reform of that sector further obstructed the pivotal role of UNESCO in heritage preservation. By slowing down its core functions as standard-setter and capacity-builder, UNESCO lost over the last five years its leadership in culture, after losing it in education.   But how to focus on mobilizing innovative and culturally appropriate responses when at the same time more immediate challenges are at stake for ADG/CLT Ottone - such as finding a permanent job in the culture sector for his new Spanish mistress. 

After promoting his previous mistress to the position of P-5 in charge of the executive office of the sector, Ottone is now working to secure a job for his current mistress. UNESCO has clearly become the place for sexual promotions. A staff member in the culture sector said, "Leading by example" may be the tenet. After the promotion and appointment in the education sector of Nicolas Kassianides' mistress, Azoulay's director of cabinet, Ottone understood that he had carte blanche to do the same with his new favorite."

This scandal may, however, be problematic for him, as the former mistress has been going through a severe burnout for months that could lead to disclosures of unpleasant information for Ottone such as the amount and the CLT budget code provided by him to pay for DG Azoulay's vacation boat earlier this year during her family trip to Venice.

 On the other hand, ADG for External Relations Firmin Matoko lost his mother and then his wife within a few weeks, generating unfounded sympathy for this despicable person who turned out to be the senior manager responsible for covering up all of Azoulay's misdeeds in the sector he is supervising. Some of his colleagues predict that he may soon be stricken with what is now known at UNESCO as the "Amita Vohra syndrome".

For years, Ms. Vohra, who is currently responsible for human resources issues in Azoulay's cabinet, was considered the bitchiest person on the sixth floor. Then her mother and father passed away within a short period of time, leading Ms. Vohra to radically change her attitude and even start taking care of the staff after years of bullying and riding them.   It is quite unusual to notice that death proves to be the most effective attitudinal game changer in a UN agency.

Thus, Firmin Matoko may discover in turn that life is short and that sucking up to Azoulay for five years was not really the best occupation nor the best value when death is in front. Most of his colleagues are wondering why he is still hanging around there after several years of undue extensions of his contract beyond the normal retirement age.

One answer is that DG Azoulay wants to have his yes-man until the new "Matoko" is appointed next year. Ethiopia's ambassador, Henok Teferra Shawl, is Azoulay's first choice, but he still has to wait the 18 months after serving on the agency's executive board before he can be appointed by her. An insider pointed out, "So it's a safe bet that Matoko will continue to carry out his responsibilities until that time, unless other family members keep passing away". Strangely enough and contrary to usual practices, Firmin Matoko organized a Mass for his wife last Friday in the church of St. Francois Xavier near UNESCO.

Few ambassadors showed up, including Jordan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, but even fewer staff members came to the religious ceremony, except for Azoulay and her team. "If Matoko had summoned all the staff members who were severely screwed by him during Azoulay's tenure, the church would have been fully packed," said a senior staff member in his sector. "After all this, to persist in staying there as ADG is a disgrace to his family, and what remains of it" he added. 

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 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!


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 2006-2020 Inner City Press, Inc. To request reprint or other permission, e-contact Editorial [at] for