16 September 2010

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note

Secretary-General Appoints Rima Khalaf of Jordan Executive Secretary,


United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced the appointment of Rima Khalaf, a national of Jordan, as Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

She succeeds Bader Al-Dafa, to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedication and commitment to the Organization and his leadership of ESCWA at a critical juncture of its work in the region.

Ms. Khalaf brings to the position a combination of deep passion for, and knowledge of, the region with its challenges and opportunities; substantial experience with the United Nations at the senior policymaking levels; and the necessary management skills for a complex organization such as ESCWA.

During her tenure as Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), from 2000 to 2006, she launched pioneering projects to promote good governance, human rights and human development in Arab States, receiving international honours, including the Prince Claus Award and the King Hussein Leadership Prize.

Prior to joining UNDP, Ms. Khalaf held many senior policymaking positions in Jordan, including Minister for Industry and Trade (1993-1995), Minister for Planning (1995-1998) and Deputy Prime Minister (1999-2000).  As head of the ministerial economic team, she led the drive to reform and modernize the economy while simultaneously implementing a social package for building human capabilities, alleviating poverty and strengthening the social safety net.

A regular contributor to regional and international policy forums concerned with global governance and the state of development in the Arab world, Ms. Khalaf has participated in a number of international commissions, including the High-Level Commission for the Modernisation of the World Bank Group Governance (2008-2009).

Ms. Khalaf holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the American University of Beirut and a Doctor of Philosophy in system science from Portland State University.

Born in 1953, she is married to Hani K. Hunaidi and they have two children.

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