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IMD Professor Tawfik Jelassi appointed to top UNESCO post

Jelassi will take up his new role as Assistant Director General, UNESCO in July 2021
April 2021

UNESCO has just announced that Professor Tawfik Jelassi has been appointed Assistant Director General and will be based at its Paris headquarters. The UN organization has an ambitious mission to contribute to the building of a culture of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information; it serves 193 member states around the world.

Jelassi will lead the Communication and Information Sector, which covers digital transformation, digital innovation, the knowledge-based society, freedom of expression, and the role of information and communication technologies in the future of education.

A powerful force at IMD, Tawfik Jelassi served as Professor of Strategy and Technology Management as well as the Co-Director of OWP – Orchestrating Winning Performance – the institute’s signature program. IMD’s OWP, in its 27th year, is IMD’s largest executive education program with over 600 participants enrolled per year. The Tunisian national was instrumental in leading the transformation of OWP from a face-to-face program held in Lausanne and Dubai to a technology-enabled, fully virtual offering that allowed participants to explore fresh ideas and seek inspiration despite COVID-19 limitations.

“The acceleration of digitally-enabled education has never been more important, or more relevant, than during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jelassi. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to transform OWP into the ground-breaking, future-forward program it is today.”

Jelassi has taught a number of programs at IMD, including High-Performance Boards, Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives, Advanced Management Program, Building on Talent, and the MBA program, as well as leading several tailored executive education programs for clients such Turkcell, Telecom Malaysia, Axiata, OCP, Alfa Telecom, SOCAR, AS Watson, Metinvest, and Oman LNG.

“We wish Tawfik great success in his challenging new role at UNESCO. With his unique background in politics, academia, corporates, and information and communication technologies, we are convinced he’ll make an excellent contribution to furthering the organization’s mission around the world. We are also delighted that Tawfik will continue to appear in some IMD programs, schedule permitting,” said IMD Dean of Faculty Anand Narasimhan.

Before joining IMD, Jelassi was Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Information & Communication Technologies in the transition-to-democracy Government of Tunisia (2014-2015). Prior to that, he was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ooredoo Tunisia, the leading mobile telecom operator in the country. Between 2000 and 2013, he was Professor and Dean of the Business School at Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris). Previously, he was Coordinator of the Technology Management Department and Associate Professor at INSEAD (Fontainebleau).

Jelassi has (co-)authored seven books, including “Strategies for e-business: Value Creation and Digital Business Transformation” (June 2020, Springer). His case studies on companies such as BP, Tesco, Bertelsmann, Nordea, Safaricom, Otis and Ducati, amongst others, have earned him numerous excellence awards.