Former French Minister Jack Lang Named to Head Paris’s Arab World Institute

The French government has nominated Jack Lang as president of Paris’s Arab World Institute, a museum devoted to art of the Arab world that also presents performances and educational programming. The choice is part of an effort to reform the Institute, which up until now has had two people — a president and the president of its board — acting as its co-directors.

Philippe Lalliot, a spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs, announced the nomination today, AFP reports. The Arab World Institute is jointly administered by France and 22 Arab countries, whose approval is still needed to make the appointment official. The 73-year-old Lang previously served as minister of culture and of education and was a Socialist congressperson. Once approved, he will replace both the institution’s president, Renaud Muselier, and the president of its board of directors, Bruno Levallois.

The Cour des Comptes, the French office that monitors spending in public institutions, issued a report in late 2012 that was critical of the Institute’s governance, programming, financial management, and personnel management, calling the period from 2007 to 2011 “dysfunctional.” The Arab World Institute has an annual budget of €24 million ($31 million), with one-half of this funding coming from France and the other half from the Arab countries on its board.

— Kate Deimling

(Photo: © Institut du Monde Arabe. By Fessy. Via Institut du Monde Arabe/Facebook.)