The board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, has elected Bulgarian diplomat Irina Bokova as the agency's new director.
The 57-year-old career diplomat defeated Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni 31 to 27 in a fifth round of voting Tuesday.
Bokova, Bulgaria's current ambassador to France, served previously as her country's foreign minister.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov calls her election to head UNESCO a huge recognition and victory for his small country.
Hosni triggered an outcry last year when he told Egypt's parliament that he would burn any Israeli books found in Egyptian libraries.
He later apologized for the remarks. But critics said he is unfit to lead UNESCO, which has a mandate to promote global understanding through culture, education, and science.
Israel's Foreign Ministry says it welcomes Borisov's election and expects its cooperation with UNESCO will deepen.
Borisov must be approved by representatives of all 193 UNESCO members during their general meeting next month.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP.