DG Okonjo-Iweala outlined the main areas of negotiations among WTO members, the results achieved so far and the remaining tasks.

Selected from over 7,000 applicants, this year's young professionals — the sixth cohort — come from Bangladesh, Barbados, Belize, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Viet Nam and Zambia(1).

Launched in 2016, the Young Professionals Programme seeks to bring more diversity into the WTO Secretariat and build the trade-related expertise of professionals from developing and least-developed countries, particularly those underrepresented within the WTO membership.

At the welcome ceremony, the young professionals expressed their strong commitment to immerse themselves in the international trade environment and to contribute to the daily work of the WTO Secretariat.  

“One thing that is important for you to imbibe is the fact that the purpose of this Organization is to enhance living standards of people, help create employment and support sustainable development,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said to the participants. “This place is about people. And that is what you must keep in your mind every single day. You should always constantly tune back to that and ask yourself: Is what I'm doing going to be of service to ordinary people, ultimately?”

“During my time at the WTO, I hope to benefit from the intellectual rigour of the organization and to make useful contributions to the issues of technology transfer to LDCs, climate change and sustainable development in the international trade system. I am excited to embark on this professional journey,” said Wardi Zaman from Bangladesh.

“I am delighted to be participating in the 2022 cohort of young professionals. Over the course of the year, I am looking forward to developing my expertise regarding the General Agreement on Trade in Services and to growing professionally through the guidance of my colleagues within the Trade in Services and Investment Division,” said Elihu Wahid from Barbados.

“The Young Professionals Programme is a great opportunity for me to learn about the intricacies of the multilateral trading system by working with world class experts. The work I undertake within the Market Access Division will improve my trade knowledge and help me specialize as an expert in trade in goods,” said Berisford Codd from Belize.

“I look forward to improving my understanding of the diverse approaches to addressing world trade issues and enhancing my knowledge of WTO agreements and how the WTO conducts negotiations of trade rules. I am also excited to contribute to the communications work of the Information and External Relations Division,” said Matilda Setutsi Frimpong from Ghana.

“Working as a WTO young professional is a unique opportunity for me to work with high-calibre international trade and intellectual property specialists. I look forward to seeing at close quarters the negotiating process for the intellectual property waiver and compulsory licensing proposals, and to contributing to the inter-agency cooperation on public health, intellectual property and trade,” said Natali Goginashvili from Georgia.

“The Young Professionals Programme provides an opportunity for me to work with and learn from international experts, and to gain a better understanding of international cooperation and the multilateral trading system. I will make the most of my time here by immersing myself in the work of the WTO and by using the valuable experience I gain from working with experts to help me develop my professional skills,” said Assem Shakirtova from Kazakhstan.

“As a young professional in the Economic Research and Statistics Division, I feel honoured to work with trade experts. My time at the WTO will help me develop my research skills and improve how I write about trade-related issues,” said Socrates Majune from Kenya.

“My year at the WTO will combine learning with personal development and work accomplishments. I intend to enhance my knowledge about WTO work, particularly the activities of the Development Division where I will be based. I am also interested in learning how the WTO fosters partnerships to help developing countries — especially LDCs — build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve sustainable economic growth,” said Mialy Nomenjanahary from Madagascar.

“It is a very exciting time to be at the WTO, a moment ripe with opportunity. I am looking forward to immersing myself in the work of the Legal Affairs Division and increasing my knowledge of WTO law,” said Russel Campbell from Trinidad and Tobago.

“I am very excited to have started working with the Trade and Environment Division where I am hoping to develop strong expertise in the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement and broaden my knowledge on trade and environment linkages,” said Anastasiia Koltunova from Ukraine.

“Trade plays a crucial role in addressing food security and nutrition across the world. As a WTO young professional, I hope to enhance my knowledge of the multilateral trading system and play a part in helping build the capacity of developing countries to participate in agricultural trade, so they can tap into the benefits that it brings to economic growth and development,” said Hanh Nguyen from Viet Nam.

“During my time with the WTO's Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation, I am looking to delve into how the WTO's technical assistance is enhancing developing and least-developed countries' capacity to gain from international trade,” said Wiza Ng'ambi from Zambia.

In her concluding remarks, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala urged the young professionals to make the most of their experiences at the WTO and to “work hard, observe, listen, learn and contribute.”

The young professionals and the Director-General were joined online by the WTO ambassadors and permanent representatives of the group's countries of origin and by directors and supervisors of the divisions of the WTO Secretariat hosting this year's participants.

  1. Barbados, Ghana, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia are represented for the first time in this programme. back to text




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