The WTO Young Professionals Programme was launched in 2016 with the aim of enhancing the knowledge and skills on WTO issues of young professionals from developing and least developed countries — especially from WTO members that are not currently represented at the professional level in the WTO Secretariat.
“By allowing these young professionals to get to know our work and to contribute to our activities, this Programme can help to widen the pool of qualified applicants for future recruitment exercises at the WTO, and elsewhere,” said DG Azevêdo. “I think this is an important step to help increase diversity and broaden representation of the membership in the Secretariat.”
DG Azevêdo encouraged the young professionals to develop their knowledge, skills and experience during the 12-month placement at the WTO, and to help spread the knowledge of the WTO back home. “You can be the ambassadors of the WTO, and encourage others who are interested in the Organization to come here”, he told the young professionals.
Leticia Caminero, a young professional from the Dominican Republic, shared her impression of the programme: “It has been amazing to experience the international spectrum of intellectual property policies, to learn about the WTO Secretariat’s work and how countries come together and try to better the system.”
Leticia is currently working in the Intellectual Property, Government Procurement and Competition Division. Before joining the Young Professionals Programme, Leticia ran a law firm in the Dominican Republic advising artists and movie producers on intellectual property rights. She said that the last month had been remarkable, as she personally witnessed the entry into force of the TRIPS amendment to ease access to affordable medicines.
Fernando Bertran, another young professional from Chile, said he would like to help raise awareness about WTO issues back home. “Coming from the private sector in Latin America, people around me are not fully aware of what the WTO does, and it is a real privilege to witness first hand things of such importance, to which we normally would not have access.” Fernando is currently working in the Legal Affairs Division of the WTO Secretariat. Before, he worked in a private law firm in Chile.
The first cohort of five young professionals has been selected from a total of 848 candidates after a competitive, merit-based selection process. They started working in the WTO in early 2017 and will spend one year in the WTO Secretariat to learn about the WTO’s work and to contribute to its activities.