14 April 2015, Kabul, Afghanistan – Seventeen Government officials from the Afghan Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economics and the Office of the President attended a graduation ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance in Kabul, where they were presented with the academic degree certifying their completion of the Master’s Degree Programme on Development Policies and Practices (DPP). Speeches were delivered by Mr. Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance, Mr. Omar Zakhilwal, Senior Economic Advisor to the President, Mr. Yasunari Morino, Deputy Ambassador of Japan in Afghanistan, Mr. Ahmad Shafiq Qarizada, Deputy Minister for Policy, and Mr. Alex Mejia, Senior Manager at UNITAR in Geneva. This ceremony marked the ultimate step in a rigorous, 10-month Executive Masters undertaken by Afghan Government officials together with forty other government officials from around the world.
This unique programme, a joint endeavour between UNITAR and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies of Geneva, aims at building capacity in the Afghan Government towards sustainable and effective development that is adapted to the Afghan reality and respectful of cultural and social diversity in the country. The curriculum has two key objectives: strengthening the analytical and leadership skills of participants, and enhancing their organizations' effectiveness through a job-related professional thesis. Especially adapted to meet the needs of the Afghan government, the Programme was designed to enhance professional workplace skills while affording beneficiaries career mobility. Allowing for maximum participant engagement, the training consists of three main modules and incorporates a mix of face-to-face and e-learning courses, project-based thesis research and one-to-one coaching. Training modules are delivered in Abu Dhabi, Istanbul and Geneva.
After the successful completion of the two first editions of this unique programme (2013-2014 and 2014-2015), the Afghan Ministry of Finance requested UNITAR to launch the third edition of this Masters Degree, covering the period 2015-2016. At the same ceremony in Kabul where the 17 graduates mentioned above obtained their diplomas, another batch of 18 Afghan officials were formally notified of their selection and enrollment in the third edition of the Programme. They were selected from a pool of 50 finalists initially selected from a group of 99 Afghan civil servants. The 50 nominees were reviewed by a professional selection committee of 4 members from the Afghan government, who conducted an intensive assessment of their applications and the grades of their aptitude tests.
They were also introduced to the Graduate Institute of Geneva and UNITAR for final selection interviews, in order to identify the 18 most deserving applicants for the program. Individual Skype interviews were scheduled with the 50 shortlisted candidates, in a process implemented over three days, starting on 31st March and ending on 2nd April. Each applicant was given 15 minutes for the interview. Besides officials from the Ministry of Finance, both from the Headquarters and Provincial Departments, the third batch will include representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Women Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Office of the President, the Independent Administrative Reform, the Civil Service Commission, and the Afghanistan Land Authority. The final selection list with the 18 selected candidates can be downloaded (PDF).
UNITAR wishes to express its appreciation to the Japanese Government and the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan for their commitment to the continuity of this programme, which is a critical component of the long-term strategic relationship between the United Nations and the Government of Afghanistan.
Photo 1: Mr. Yasunari Morino, Deputy Ambassador of Japan in Afghanistan, presenting the academic degree to one of the participants
Photo 2: Mr. Alex Mejia, Senior Manager at UNITAR, and Mr. Eklil Hakimi, Minister of Finance of Afghanistan