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WCO Names Munerah Al Rasheed First Arab Woman to Top Position

Saudi scholar Munira Khalid Al Rasheed has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first Saudi and Arab woman to assume leadership within the World Customs Organisation (WCO) through her presidency of its regional information exchange offices.

The appointment of Al-Rasheed was announced during the 31st Global Meeting of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILO), which took place from January 30 to February 1 at the WCO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Al-Rasheed was elected as the President of the Regional Information Exchange Network for the upcoming biennium spanning 2025 to 2026. This appointment comes after Munira's prior role as vice president and her concurrent directorship of the Regional Office for Information Exchange in the Middle East (RILO ME) at the Saudi Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority.

The decision to elect Munira highlights the commendable contributions of the Middle East Regional Office in advancing the WCO's objectives. In her new capacity, she will represent 11 local offices affiliated with the Middle East region across various forums, including meetings, conferences, and workshops. Munira's ascension comes against the backdrop of sweeping reforms in Saudi Arabia, which have significantly broadened opportunities for women, such as the right to drive and enhanced workforce participation.

Munira's academic journey includes earning a Bachelor of Business Administration with concentrations in Management, Marketing, and International Business from the University of New Haven in 2004. Subsequently, she pursued an Executive MBA from Al Yamamah University in Saudi Arabia, completing it in 2013. Throughout her 18-year career, Munira has held diverse roles, encompassing leadership positions such as heading the Admission and Registration Department at Al Yamamah University and serving in the Regional Management Department at Credit Suisse Saudi Arabia.

Furthermore, Munira has contributed to various sectors, having served as the Director of Public Relations at Volkswagen Group Saudi Arabia and as the Director of the Marketing and Communication Program at the Government Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). Additionally, she has provided advisory services as an Advisor to the Deputy Governor for Security Affairs at the Zakat, Tax, and Customs Authority.

Munira's historic achievement underscores the evolving landscape of gender inclusion and leadership in Saudi Arabia and the broader Arab world. Her multifaceted professional trajectory and dedication to advancing organizational goals exemplify her capability to drive positive change within the international customs community.

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