Personality of the Month

Hanan Taha-Rayyan

Born in Gaza, Hanan Taha-Rayyan earned a diploma in modern management and administration from Cambridge Tutorial College, United Kingdom (1998), and a BS degree in electrical engineering from Damascus University, Syria (1988).

Having started her career as an electrical engineer, Hanan soon turned her passion toward Palestinian trade and private-sector development, and in 1992 started working with the Development Resource Center (DRC) where she was involved in developing the first database on the private-sector organizations (published before the arrival of the Palestinian Authority) and in helping Palestinian products enter export markets.

In 1999, Hanan joined PalTrade as a sector development officer, and from 2005 to 2008, she was the executive manager of PalTrade’s Gaza office. She was responsible for the overall operation of PalTrade, played an instrumental role in the supervision and administration of the organization’s various projects and activities, and developed relations with donors and other local organizations.

In 2008, Hanan moved to Ramallah and took over as the executive manager of PalTrade’s trade policy department. She was responsible for overall management and for projects such as the World Bank Border Monitoring project, the EC-funded Trade Corridors project, and the National Economic Dialogue program, to name a few. In this capacity, Hanan also participated in various public- and private-sector committees related to trade policy, and in thematic groups that include the WTO and the Gaza Thematic groups.

In 2011, Hanan assumed the role of PalTrade’s CEO, the organization’s first female CEO. In this capacity, she manages an annual budget of around US$ 3 million and supervises numerous projects and studies related to trade policies, export development, and market intelligence, as well as export promotion. She has gained extensive experience in the planning and implementation of fundraising activities, in organizational strategy development, and in securing funds for programs that meet the objectives of an organization’s strategic plan. As part of her responsibilities, Hanan liaises with public- and private-sector organizations, as well as with international organizations and representative offices to the Palestinian Authority.
Throughout her career, Hanan has extended, and demanded from her staff, the utmost attention and dedication to increasing and promoting Palestinian exports in order to help the Palestinian economy obtain new sources of revenue and to enhance globally the image of Palestine and Palestinian products. Through PalTrade, she played a leading role in developing the first-ever Palestinian National Export Strategy (NES). Acting in cooperation with the Ministry of National Economy, and with the participation of all major public- and private-sector institutions, she helped solidify the strategy as truly nationally driven. The strategy has laid the foundation for all of PalTrade’s current and future projects.

Hanan is also a board member of the Coalition for Accountability and Integrity.

Hanan is the mother of two and in her spare time enjoys reading, travel, and learning from other countries’ experiences in developing their economies and products.