Born in Senegal in 1941, Doudou Diène was a prizewinner in philosophy in Senegal’s Concours General. Having joined the UNESCO Secretariat in 1977, in 1980 he was appointed Director of the Liaison Office with the United Nations, Permanent Missions and United Nations departments in New York. Prior to this, he had served as deputy representative of Senegal to UNESCO and, in that capacity, as Vice President and Secretary of the African Group and Group of 77.
Between 1985 and 1987, he held the posts of Deputy Assistant Director-General for External Relations, spokesperson for the Director-General, and acting Director of the Bureau of Public Information. He is also very active with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.
In his keynote address, Diène speaks to his experience growing up in Senegal, a former French colony and how he came to understand that “history has to be a plural construction. The history of a nation is more valid, objective, engaging, and truly national when it includes the multiple narratives of all its ethnic, cultural, and religious communities.”