STUDENTS AND YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
The first cohort of five young professionals - two from the Dominican Republic, and one each from Chile, Montenegro and Chinese Taipei - were selected from more than 800 candidates after a competitive selection process. They started working in the WTO in early 2017 and spent their year in the WTO Secretariat learning about the organization's work and contributing to its activities.
DG Azevêdo noted the programme was created to enhance the knowledge of WTO issues among young professionals from developing and least-developed members, with a special focus on those members that are not currently represented at the professional level in the Secretariat. The first year was so successful that the programme is being expanded to 15 participants in 2018.
"Trade has the power to make a big difference to people's lives and prospects around the world. A big part of that is to invest in people like you. It makes me very hopeful for the future," he said.
"You will be returning home with a huge amount of knowledge and expertise. So I hope you will share this knowledge, put it to good use in helping your governments engage in the WTO and benefit from the global trading system."
Deputy Director-General Yonov Frederick Agah added that the WTO hoped to monitor the progress of the YPP participants as they advanced their careers, be it with their home governments, the WTO or other regional international organizations. "Your success will mean much more to this programme than anything you can imagine," he said.
The five participants said their year at the WTO "has complemented and enhanced our capacity in international trade far beyond what we had imagined".
"We got to see the rules and practices in action, and more importantly, see the broader context of the trade issues," Yi-Fang Lee said on behalf of the group. "Coming from unrepresented members meant that we could bring new angles and cultural context to the Secretariat, identify potential opportunities, fresh thinking, and innovative strategies for the WTO."
In their own words – the YPPs on their experience
"The best takeaway from this YPP experience was the opportunity to witness in person how the different countries and territories collaborate to solve their trade concerns within the common framework of a rules-based global system." Fernando Bertran (Chile)
"The Young Professionals Programme has boosted my passion for intellectual property and international trade by providing a unique opportunity to work and learn at the heart of the WTO."Leticia Caminero (Dominican Republic)
"What I enjoyed the most is the immense access to information and always being up-to-date with the topics leading the international trade agenda. This experience was enriched by having the opportunity to work side by side with highly qualified colleagues from different nationalities."William Castro Rodriguez (Dominican Republic)
"The multicultural environment was one of the highlights, together with remarkable opportunities to work with the WTO staff." Danijela Gacevic (Montenegro)
"Working on the trade, environment and TBT issues helps me see the crucial role trade plays in the broader global agenda, and how trade interlinks with other issues, such as environment, health and safety. Working with experts in trade and other fields enriches my understanding of trade."Yi-Fang Lee (Chinese Taipei)