Theme: How does tourism contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals?
Taleb Rifai is Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO). He began his four-year term on January 1st, 2010, and the UNWTO General Assembly at its twentieth session in August 2013, elected him for a second term of four years beginning January 2014.
Mr. Rifai has extensive experience on international and national civil service, within the private sector and in the academic field. Among the various positions he has held are: General Under-Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO), several ministerial portfolios within the Government of Jordan (Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Information and Minister of Tourism and Antiquities), General Director of the Cement Company of Jordan, Director of the Jordanian Economic Mission in Washington DC and General Director of the Investment Promotion Society of the country.
Mr. Rifai has also carried out several research and teaching activities, and has worked as an architect and urban planner in Jordan and in the United States. He has a Ph.D. in Urban Planning and Regional Planning from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, a Master's degree in Engineering and Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, and a Bachelor's degree in Higher Technical Architecture from the University of Cairo.