Most within the UNWTO circle and the media that follows the organization’s actions would concur that a vote for the next secretary general has been made in favor of the interim secretary general, Taleb Rifai of Jordan. That is until Korea’s Oh Jee-chul decided to throw in his candidacy, thus challenging the more experienced Rifai for the UNWTO secretary general post.
After Mr. Francesco Frangialli’s decision to leave his position prior to the expiration of his third term, Rifai took office from March 1, 2009 until the end of the scheduled term of office, December 31, 2009.
Also up for the job are Arab Hoballah of Lebanon and Khalid Malik of Pakistan. UNWTO has provided information on each candidate via its web site. For the curriculum vitae and the statement of intent and management of each of the four candidates, point your browser to: http://www.unwto.org/pdf/TanasitionCVs_Statements.pdf .
Out of the four candidates, however, Rifai is undoubtedly the most experienced for the job. For one thing, he has served as the UNWTO deputy secretary general from February 2006 to February 2009.
Also, Mr. Rifai has an extensive background in international and national public service, the private sector, and academia. Prior to joining UNWTO, he was the assistant director general of the International Labor Organization (ILO). He has also served as Jordan’s minister of planning and international cooperation, minister of information, and minister of tourism and antiquity.
The UNWTO executive council is scheduled to meet in Bamako, Mali on May 7 and 8, 2009 to select one candidate to the post of secretary-general for the period 2010-2013. The selection will then need to be ratified by the general assembly when it meets in Astana, Kazakhstan from October 2 to 9, 2009.