New York — The World Monuments Fund has announced that Bénédicte de Montlaur, the Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, will become its next chief executive officer. She will assume her new responsibilities at the WMF on October 1, 2019.
De Montlaur currently serves as a cultural counselor of the French Embassy in the United States. Over the last two decades, she has worked as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on three continents and has held positions such as deputy assistant secretary in charge of North Africa, negotiator on Africa and the Middle East at the United Nations Security Council, and first secretary at the French Embassy in Damascus, Syria.
Since 1965, the New York–based nonprofit has partnered with stakeholders to safeguard more than six hundred world heritage sites, including Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia; the Forbidden City’s Qianlong Garden in Beijing, China, the Convent of Santa Clara of Assisi in Havana, Cuba, and and Civil Rights sites across Alabama in the United States. Ms. de Montlaur will become the fourth head of the world’s leading heritage conservation organization.
“I am honored to be joining this vital organization and look forward to working with its talented staff, global affiliates and dedicated board,” said de Montlaur. “World heritage treasures are increasingly threatened by urbanization, climate change and violent conflicts. And this challenges all of us to find new and innovative ways to appreciate and protect the value of the global heritage that unites us. I’m excited to help further WMF’s mission of working with local communities to sustain their heritage sites, advocate for endangered monuments and explore modern approaches that enable truly sustainable heritage solutions.”
The Cultural Services are a division of the French Embassy in the United States. The Cultural Services were first imagined in the 1930’s by Paul Claudel. In 1945 General de Gaulle appointed Claude Lévi-Strauss as the first Cultural Counselor, with the mission of providing Americans (individuals and organizations) with access and resources to engage with French culture and promote it in their own communities. Under the leadership of Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy and Permanent Representative of French Universities in the United States, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US.