Former Secretary-General of the United Nations' World Tourism Organization
Taleb Rifai was the Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), until 31 December 2017. His post as Secretary-General began on 1 January 2010 for a four-year term and was elected for a second four-year term, starting January 2014, by the 20th Session of UNWTO General Assembly held in August 2013.
Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector and academia. Positions held include: Assistant Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), several ministerial portfolios in the Government of Jordan (Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information and Minister of Tourism and Antiquity), CEO of Jordan’s Cement Company, Director of the Economic Mission to Washington DC and Director General of the Investment Promotion Corporation of Jordan.Mr. Rifai was involved in research, teaching and practicing Architecture and Urban Design in Jordan and the USA.
He has a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, an M.A. in Engineering and Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, and a BS.c. in Architectural Engineering from the University of Cairo in Egypt.