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Former Foreign Minister Kang makes bid for ILO top job

SEOUL-- Former Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is running for the next director general of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the foreign ministry said Friday.

Kang, a chair professor at Ewha Womans University, submitted her candidacy to the secretariat of the U.N. agency through the South Korean Permanent Mission in Geneva, the ministry said. The election is slated for March next year.

If elected, Kang will be the first Asian and the first woman to become the ILO chief.

"Candidate Kang is considered to have the leadership, quality and competence to lead key ILO agendas, such as job recovery in the post-COVID-19 era, overcoming the economic crisis, and spreading the 'win-win' spirit and solidarity through the trilateralism among labor, management and government," the ministry said.

"She is also expected to make a significant contribution to eradicating discrimination and violence against vulnerable laborers, including women, based on her expertise and experience in efforts to help developing countries and protect women's rights," it said.

Kang served as South Korea's first female foreign minister from 2017-21. Before she became foreign minister, she worked as a special policy adviser to then U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Prior to that, she was the U.N. deputy high commissioner for human rights in 2006 and also worked as deputy emergency relief coordinator of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs.

To win the chief post, Kang will need to garner a majority vote. Otherwise, she will have to undergo a runoff vote.

She will be competing against at least four candidates: current ILO Deputy Director General Greg Vines of Australia, Food and Agriculture Organization chief Gilbert Houngbo of Togo, former French Labor Minister Muriel Penicaud and Mthunzi Mdwaba of South Africa, vice president of the International Organization of Employers.

Source: Yonhap news Agency

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