YOUNG PROFESSIONALS PROGRAMME
The group includes this year professionals from: Afghanistan; Cambodia; Haiti; Honduras; Hong Kong, China; Liberia; Macao, China; Maldives; Namibia; Oman; Papua New Guinea; Sri Lanka; and Tajikistan. They started working in the WTO in early 2019 and will spend one year in the WTO Secretariat to learn about the organization's work and to contribute to its activities.
Launched in 2016, the WTO Young Professionals Programme is part of the Secretariat's efforts to increase diversity and broaden the representation of the membership.
"This programme is now on its third year, and it has been very successful," DG Azevêdo told the young professionals. "We created this initiative to help enhance the knowledge and skills on WTO issues among young professionals, with a special focus on those members that are not currently represented at the professional level in the Secretariat."
DG Azevêdo noted that the third cohort joins the WTO at a very important time for the organization and the multilateral trading system. "We have had challenges in the WTO in the past and we always came through, but I have to say that today not only the WTO, but the whole multilateral system, is under the greatest challenge it has ever faced. Since 1947, when the system was created, and subsequently 1995 with the WTO, we have never been under so much pressure, and we are delivering and transforming, so you are witnessing a historic moment."
"The opportunity to work in the international arena allows us to place our knowledge within a larger framework, and see it working in that perspective," Kasek Galgal said on behalf of the group. "Most importantly, it allows us to gain the exposure and experience, enhancing what we are able to contribute in our future careers – be it with the WTO, another international organization or in our home economies."
In their own words – what they expect in the coming year
"I hope by the end of my year at the WTO that I become a better lawyer and increase my knowledge of intellectual property and international trade in general, so that I can lay the foundation for taking a leadership role in the future." - Mr Ali Akbar Modabber (Afghanistan)
"My main objective is to increase my knowledge on rules of origin and on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is important not only for my country but also for all developing and least developed countries." - Mr Sotheara Kong (Cambodia)
"I want to learn as much as possible about trade and everything linked to it. By the end of the year here I hope to use my newfound knowledge to continue on my career path working in the field of development." - Ms Marie Nedgine Ducrepin (Haiti)
"I hope to learn as much as I can about trade. One of the most interesting things about being here is the location, we are in Geneva which is the headquarters for many international organizations. Just to be a part of the WTO is key, it's a perfect time to be here." - Ms Claudia Lasprilla Pina (Honduras)
"As a young woman who strongly believes in free trade and committed to SMEs, the WTO is just the perfect place for me. I hope that with my personal and professional experience with SMEs, together with talented minds who share the same goals and values, we will be able make a global impact here." - Ms Fabiana Fong (Macao, China)
"Being in the Economic Research and Statistics Division provides me with a unique opportunity, coming from a small country of under 400,000 people, to apply my knowledge in a bigger setting and use my skills to address global issues." - Mr Ali Abdul Raheem (Maldives)
"I would like to gain as much knowledge as I can, especially about trade and environment. There are so many regulations and trade rules developing countries need to know in order to participate in the global market, but we don't know how to implement them. That's especially true with regards to technical barriers to trade, an area I'm passionate about." Ms Victoria Weyulu (Namibia)
"I'm hoping to get a better understanding of the dispute settlement mechanism, a more in-depth and inside look at it, and hopefully come out of this year having learned quite a bit." Ms Salma Al-Battashi (Oman)
"Being from a small island in a large ocean, it becomes easy for many to feel isolated from the global trade ecosystem. This is not the case, and international trade affects us all. With the privilege of being here at the WTO working on e-commerce, I intend to both contribute to and gain from the work of the organisation on the issue." – Kasek Galgal (Papua New Guinea)
"Back home we've been exposed to a lot of local and regional issues. Being at the WTO gives me an opportunity to see so much more of it on the international stage, seeing how members interact with each other and how trading partners work with each other. It gives us a much wider scope of the issues that we've been dealing with." - Ms Vidya Nathaniel (Sri Lanka)
"To be a Young Professional at the WTO, for me it is like being a trainee in the best craft shop in the world. You stay next to the best masters of international trade law and learn by doing. Work in the Accessions Division allows me to cover the full range of trade related policy making issues of the acceding countries. That surely widens my expertise in the trade system." – Komroni Radzhabiyon (Tajikistan)