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Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow


Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow (born 1921), Senegalese educator. M'bow was also the director-general of UNESCO. He called the Commission over the Problems of Communication which delivered the MacBride Report.

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Created: 26th Feb 2008
Modified: 3rd Apr 2008
Professional Information
Professional Areas:
United Nations
Executive Director
Working primarily in:

Description of Work:
Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow, a man who was to become the sixth director general of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), had humble beginnings. Born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1921, M'Bow grew up in a small town where he learned traditional farming and animal tending skills.

M'Bow volunteered for the French army and served in France and North Africa during World War II. In 1947 he passed the Baccalaureat and entered the Sorbonne University in Paris. He graduated in 1951 with a License ès Lettres degree in geography.

M'Bow began working for UNESCO in 1953 with the literacy program "Le Service de l'Education de Base." Back home in 1957, M'Bow assumed the post of minister of national education and culture in the first indigenous Senegalese government to handle internal affairs. In 1958 M'Bow clashed with Léopold Senghor, another nationalist leader and Senegal's future president, over the issue of transition to independence. M'Bow supported immediate and complete independence for Senegal, while Senghor and a majority of Senegalese favored continued affiliation with the French community.

In 1966 M'Bow became a member of UNESCO's executive board and twice--in 1966 and 1968--he served as head delegate of the Senegalese mission to UNESCO. In 1970 M'Bow became assistant director general for education of UNESCO.

Four years later, at age 53, M'Bow became UNESCO's director general, succeeding Réné Maheu. M'Bow was the first Black African to head a United Nations support organization. He won unanimous reelection to a second term of seven years in September of 1980.
Biographical Information
Amadou-Mahtar M'Bow
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Mar/20/1921
Interests: History, Diplomacy, Economy, Politic
  City: Dakar
Place of Origin: Senegal

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