The 2019 group included professionals from Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong China, Liberia, Macao China, Maldives, Namibia, Oman, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Tajikistan. Launched in 2016, the WTO Young Professionals (YP) Programme is part of the Secretariat's efforts to increase diversity and broaden the representation of the membership.

DG Azevêdo noted that the third edition of the programme has been successful in many ways. For participants, the YP Programme offers a unique look into the work of the WTO, not only the regular work in areas such as monitoring, research and trade disputes but also major events on the WTO calendar such as the Aid for Trade Global Review and the Public Forum.

"The knowledge you have developed – as well as the contacts you make – can help you seize new professional opportunities," DG Azevêdo said.  "No matter where you are, I hope you will share this knowledge, put it to good use, and help your governments engage in the WTO."

"This programme helps to strengthen the diversity at the Secretariat," he added. "This is very important in an organization like the WTO, where inclusivity and diversity are at the core of our activities."

Speaking on behalf of the group, Fabiana Fong from Macao China said the past year has "taught us about the importance of capacity building. We have more knowledge on the WTO and better understanding on how this system works. We have learned how to cooperate and engage with our colleagues and delegates."

"I feel as certain today as I did a year ago that, if young people from underrepresented regions like us are given an opportunity to serve the international community, we will step up and deliver," she added.

In their own words – reflections on their experience

Ali Abdul Raheem

"At the Economic Research and Statistics Division I have been able to contribute to the production of the trade outlooks and trade forecasts, and to estimate the medium term path for global trade. The exercise of trade forecasting, especially in this current trading climate, helped me appreciate more how integral trade is to global economic growth and progress."   

Salma Al-Battashi

"Joining the WTO as a Young Professional gave me unique insight into the dispute settlement system on an international platform. I gained invaluable knowledge and experience during my tenure here. I'm very grateful for the time spent working alongside an amazing and extremely professional group of people and will take this experience back home with me." 

Marie Nedgine Ducrepin

"The YPP gave me a new perspective on international trade matters. Working at the Development Division has made me become an outstanding diplomat and an even more accomplished professional. I look forward to putting my newfound knowledge to good use."

Fabiana Fong

"I've absorbed new knowledge and ideas every day over the past year under the exceptional mentorship of my colleagues. My work here has broadened my interests in both existing and emerging trade topics discussed at the WTO. This programme has definitely gone above and beyond my expectations, and I will uphold the expertise and values that I have learnt here throughout my career."

Clarence Freeman

"It has been an enthralling experience for me as a participant of the Young Professional Programme. My work in the Trade Policies Review Division has deepened my understanding about diverse and complex issues that are connected to trade policy and economic development. The benefits of the multilateral trading system are enormous when national trade policies are mainstreamed in national development strategies and other national development policies complement national trade policy."

Kasek Galgal

"The YP programme has been both a challenging and thoroughly immersive professional experience for me. In the programme, one is asked to undertake real tasks and contribute meaningfully to outcomes of their respective working units. What is gained reaches beyond knowledge of the subject matter being dealt with, but also develops the soft skills and confidence in one's own ability, which are most transferrable in future professional endeavours."

Sotheara Kong

"The Young Professional Programme of the WTO was the best opportunity for me to broaden my professional experience in the multilateral trading system. It was a golden experience for me to work and do research with the trade policy specialists in the area of international trade."

Kwok Kon Lee

"The YPP gave me an opportunity to work with colleagues from around the world. I enjoyed working in this international environment."

Vidya Nathaniel

"Over the past 12 months, I have had the opportunity to witness first-hand the efforts taken by the Secretariat to negotiate trade rules on fisheries subsidies, to resolve trade disputes, and build up the capacity of member states to benefit from the international trading system. This year has been a truly eye-opening experience into understanding the workings of an international organisation and, more specifically, the large weight carried by the WTO to build and strengthen a multilateral trading platform to help sustain growth across the world."

Komroni Radzhabiyon

"Before joining the WTO, I had been working on trade issues at country and regional levels. The YP year gave me a brilliant opportunity to work on an international scale and understand the rules-based multilateral trading system in the global context."







Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

Mr Sotheara KONG


Market Access

Ms Marie Nedgine DUCREPIN


Development Division



Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation

Mr Kwok Kin LEE

Hong Kong, China

Information and External Relations Division

Mr. Clarence FREEMAN


Trade Policies Review Division

Ms Fabiana FONG

Macao, China

Economic Research and Statistics Division



Economic Research and Statistics Division

Ms Victoria WEYULU


Trade and Environment Division



Legal Affairs Division

Mr. Kasek GALGAL

Papua New Guinea

Council and Trade Negotiations Committee


Sri Lanka

Rules Division



Accessions Division




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