Bénédicte de Montlaur is Chief Executive Officer of World Monuments Fund (WMF), the world’s foremost private organization dedicated to saving extraordinary places while empowering the communities around them. She is responsible for defining WMF’s strategic vision, currently implementing that vision in more than 30 countries around the world and leading a team that spans the globe.
Her background mixes culture and the arts, politics, international diplomacy and human rights. Prior to joining WMF, Montlaur spent two decades working across three continents as a senior diplomat at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Most recently, she served as Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy in the United States, leading France’s largest international cultural advocacy network and its two partner foundations—Albertine and FACE—and directing a team of 90 people in ten US offices. In this role, Montlaur created and expanded numerous programs, including the French-American Dual Language Fund, the annual Festival Albertine featuring curators including Ta-Nehisi Coates and Gloria Steinem, and the podcast The Thing About France, which presented conversations with prominent Americans about their country’s relationship with France. Previously, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in charge of North Africa, United Nations Security Council Negotiator on Africa and the Middle East and French Embassy First Secretary in Damascus, Syria.
Montlaur studied sociology and Arabic at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Ulm) and public affairs at Sciences Po, Paris. She was a Marshall Memorial Fellow at the German Marshall Fund. She has served on the Boards of several cultural and educational institutions, and is currently a Trustee of the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. Montlaur is a member of The New York Times literary critic Liesl Schillinger’s book club and created an original exhibition of photos entitled “Islam and the City.” Beyond her professional accomplishments, Montlaur is a polyglot—speaking French, English, Arabic and Spanish—and completed the New York City Marathon in 2011.