The 17 participants in the Young Professionals Programme were selected from more than 3,500 candidates after a competitive and merit-based selection process. The seventh cohort come from Barbados, Chinese Taipei, Côte d'Ivoire, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Moldova, Nepal, Nigeria, Panama, Togo, Ukraine, Saint Lucia, Singapore, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

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.

“The primary goal of this programme is to build your WTO-related knowledge and skills, which you will then carry with you in your future endeavours, whether in public service or the private sector in your home countries, here at the WTO, or elsewhere,” DG Okonjo-Iweala said.  “We are counting on you too: we need your fresh eyes to tell us what you think is working well here — and more importantly, what you think is not!”

Talking on behalf of the group, Kimonique Powell from Jamaica said: “This is a unique opportunity for the 17 of us, all from underrepresented members of the WTO, to expand our knowledge of international trade and WTO-related issues. The programme also speaks to the WTO's continued commitment to diversity and inclusion which is evident not only in the countries we represent but also in our professional profiles,” she said.

In addition to the participation of the Director-General, the event was attended by Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard, ambassadors and permanent representatives of the participants' members of origin, and directors of the WTO Secretariat divisions hosting the Young Professionals this year.

Jamaica, Moldova, Nepal, Saint Lucia, South Africa and Zimbabwe are represented in the Young Professionals Programme for the first time.

What the participants expect from the programme

“I expect that this year will be filled with opportunities to deepen my knowledge in trade and environment topics and the multilateral trading system. I am excited to learn from my expert colleagues in the Trade and Environment Division as well as the wider WTO staff who represent some of the best minds in international trade. I am also excited to contribute to the WTO's work and to support the positive impact of this work on the members. I want to use this time to immerse myself in the organization, with the view to gaining insights and knowledge for future career growth and contributing to the growth and improvement of my country Barbados. I also hope to create meaningful relationships with colleagues as I widen my professional network.” Cherise Trotman (Barbados)

“I believe the WTO is the best place for me to experience how international trade contributes to sustainable development and the transition towards a more inclusive global society. As a Young Professional, I will cherish this precious opportunity to dedicate myself to critical agricultural trade issues and obtain more comprehensive knowledge across various trade topics.” Jessica Wang (Chinese Taipei)

“The future of trade is services, as DG Ngozi said. I couldn’t be happier to be part of the Trade in Services and Investment Division for the whole year. During my stay, I am looking forward to enhancing my knowledge on the General Agreement on Trade in Services and to contributing to the work of the Division in preparation for the 13th Ministerial Conference. I am hoping to develop strong expertise in the area of services trade and investment matters, so that I can contribute to the development of services trade in Africa.” Mosuru Olukayode Abiodun (Côte d'Ivoire)

“The Young Professionals Programme provides a unique opportunity for me to enhance my knowledge of the WTO and to immerse myself in the discussions of the issues that shape world trade. I am very excited to contribute to the work of the Office of the Director-General in a crucial year for the multilateral trading system.” Grecia Anaí Rosal Rosales (Guatemala)

“I look forward to enhancing my professional experience in trade policy. As a Young Professional in the Information and External Relations Division, I intend to deepen my knowledge in several areas of interest, such as MSMEs and trade & development, while using my skills to assist the Division in disseminating information about the important work of the organization.” Shauna Andrea Ramdyhan (Guyana)

“As our DG often reiterates (and in reference to the preamble of the Marrakesh Agreement), trade is about people!  This simply means improving people's lives and livelihoods is at the centre of the work being conducted by the WTO. I thus look forward to contributing to all areas of work at the WTO and, in particular, those issues that are of critical importance to the ‘global commons’ (e.g., trade and development, food security, trade and the environment). The intent is to use the knowledge garnered to help small developing countries integrate fully into the global economy by harnessing the gains from trade.” Kimonique Powell (Jamaica)

“It is an honour to be working as a Young Professional at the WTO. During my time in the Development Division, I hope to enhance my knowledge of trade and development issues and how developing countries and LDCs utilize the special and differential treatment flexibilities provided in the various WTO agreements. Moreover, I would be eager to follow the discussions on WTO reform following the outcome of MC12.” Magdaline Morijoi (Kenya)

“The Young Professionals Programme provides an outstanding opportunity to gain greater understanding of world trade and engage in different areas of work of the WTO, for which I am extremely grateful. I hope to strengthen my knowledge about the multilateral trading system, with a particular focus on trade in goods, and to build strong professional skills while aspiring to become a trade policy expert. Moreover, I am very excited to have the chance to work alongside top experts within the Market Access Division and intend to make the most of it.” Daniela Tibuleac (Moldova)

“I am convinced that international trade cooperation under the aegis of the WTO is critical to achieving sustainable growth for developing countries, particularly for LDCs. During my time in the WTO Secretariat, I look forward to working closely with the WTO Chairs Programme to gain an in-depth understanding of sector-specific challenges facing LDCs, alongside contributing to building the trade capacity of members. I am equally keen on learning from the experiences of my fellow cohort members who come from and represent different regions of the world.” Shraddha Gautam (Nepal)

“The unprecedented outcomes of MC12 prove that the multilateral trading system under the WTO is capable of responding to the most critical issues of our time. During my year at the Secretariat, I look forward to working closely with the Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division on e-commerce and other emerging issues and building on the success of MC12 by delivering substantial outcomes that answer the needs of the average person. I also look forward to deepening my expertise in international trade and building a professional network that I will continue to learn from as I progress through my career.” Frances Omotese Uhomoibhi (Nigeria)

“As a Young Professional from Central America, I am honoured to join the WTO's Government Procurement and Competition Policy Group. Over the course of this year, I look forward to gathering insights into how the Government Procurement Agreement is implemented at the WTO, and contributing to the Division's work in promoting transparency, integrity and competition in this market. I am also excited to support the technical cooperation activities available to developing and least-developed countries, to assist them in participating effectively in the WTO's work on government procurement.” Gabriela de Obarrio (Panama)

“I am delighted to be part of the seventh cohort of the programme. As a Young Professional in the Trade Policies Review Division, I feel honoured to work with trade policy experts. During my time at the WTO, I hope to improve my skills in trade policy analysis and gain a better understanding of the contemporary economic and legal fundamentals of the multilateral trading system.” Léleng Kebalo (Togo)

“With the dispute settlement system being part and parcel of the WTO, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to be working with and learning from my colleagues in the Legal Affairs Division. Weighed with a legacy of the previous year's immense challenges and yet inspired by the MC12 outcomes, 2023 offers the prospect of demanding tasks and  seeking promising solutions. I am pleased to be a part of the WTO Young Professionals cohort during such unprecedented times for the international trading system.” Olesia Volodymyrivna Kryvetska (Ukraine)

“I am thrilled to be a part of this year's Young Professionals Programme cohort. During my time in the Agriculture and Commodities Division, I hope to deepen my understanding of the multilateral trading system and take full advantage of this unique opportunity to learn from international experts in the field of agriculture and trade. I look forward to contributing meaningfully to the WTO's work on global food security over the coming year.” Tamara Persaud (Saint Lucia)

“Trade is a force multiplier for action towards sustainable development. As a Young Professional in the Trade and Environment Division, I look forward to immersing myself in discussions at the intersection of trade, climate change and the environment, and to contributing to global cooperation on all fronts in tackling the most pressing issues of our time.” Joan Lim (Singapore)

“I am happy to be part of the Trade Policies Review Division where I hope to learn more about how countries are evaluated on their trade and trade-related policies (i.e. by measure and sector), especially for developing countries such as those in the Southern African Customs Union. After my time at the WTO, I hope to use my technical skills to be an ambassador of transparency which is essential for trade and a key principle for the WTO.” Lungelo Prince Cele (South Africa)

“I am excited to join the Economic Research and Statistics Division. This is an invaluable opportunity to gain first-hand experience in global trade analysis and tap into a great wealth of knowledge, working alongside experts from around the world. I am confident that this will allow me to contribute to the organization's important work and make meaningful contributions to the multilateral trading system.” Tinotenda Mataire (Zimbabwe)




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