The WTO Secretariat maintains three internship programmes for post-graduate students wishing to gain practical experience and deeper knowledge of the multilateral trading system. Only a limited number of such internships is available. Internship selections are based on merit, eligibility criteria, academic qualifications, and expertise.
The programmes, listed below, are designed to increase diversity at the WTO, and more information about each may be found in the links provided alongside:
(1) The WTO Internship Programme is open to post-graduate students from all WTO members and countries or customs territories engaged in accession negotiations - WTO Internship Programme
(2) The China LDC and Accessions Programme (also known as the China WTO Accession Internship Programme) - RESERVED FOR POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES - China's LDCs and Accessions Programme
(3) the WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies - RESERVED FOR POST-GRADUATE STUDENTS FROM DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND LEAST DEVELOPED COUNTRIES - WTO Support Programme for Doctoral Studies
RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR INTERNS (the following may vary, depending on the programme, so it is best to check the above links for information on a particular programme)
Interns are recruited from among nationals of WTO Member states and Observer governments.
Interns shall have completed at least one year of their postgraduate studies (for example, Master's) in a relevant discipline (for example, economics, law, political science, international relations).
The minimum age for an intern is 21 years and the maximum age 30 years.
A roster of suitable candidates is maintained from which interns are selected. In addition to the internship programmes, the need may also arise to recruit interns at short notice for specific tasks. These recruits will also be drawn from the roster. Names will be maintained on the roster for one year and no more.
Contractual Terms and Conditions:
An agreement will be established between the intern and the Director of the Human Resources Division, specifying the conditions of service and details of any remuneration.
Paid interns receive a daily allowance of CHF 60 (including weekends and official holidays falling within the selected period). No other remuneration of any kind shall be paid.
In normal circumstances, internships take place in Geneva, Switzerland. However, during the COVID pandemic, consideration may be given to internships taking place remotely from another country, and the terms and conditions for these remote internships may differ from those that take place in Geneva. Travel expenses to and from Geneva cannot be paid by the WTO, and such travel is not covered by the Organization's insurance. Interns are responsible for their own insurance cover for illness and accidents for the duration of the internship.
Internships are for a minimum of three months and up to a maximum of six months in total with no extension, are dependent on the needs of Divisions, and may commence at any time during the year. Depending on Divisional needs, an internship may be split between two Divisions (3 months and no less in each Division and not exceeding six months in total). In this case, the two internship assignments may be carried out at different times and not consecutively, as long as the applicant meets all the requirements for internship as per the "Eligibility" criteria set out above. It is not permissible to return to the programme at a later date after completing a full six-month internship programme, nor is it permissible to move from one programme to another following a six-month stint. An internship does not, in any way, entail the right to a vacancy in another part of the Secretariat. Interns may, nevertheless, apply to external vacancies only.
While working at the WTO, interns are not considered as officials or staff members, however, they shall be bound by the same duties and obligations as regular staff members. Interns are expected to work full-time and to carry out the duties assigned to them by their supervisor. Working from home in Geneva is not an option, except during COVID and following the guidance of the WTO Health Task Force.
On commencing the internship, and as applicable, depending on their nationality and any Swiss residence permit they may hold, interns may be issued with a Swiss legitimation card type "H" which serves as a work and residence permit for the duration of their internship. This link explains the responsibilities of holders of such a card and careful note should be taken of the information provided therein.
At the end of the internship, the Supervisor responsible for an intern will write an evaluation report, and the intern will also be required to evaluate the internship. Both evaluations will be placed on file.
An internship may be terminated by the WTO Secretariat or by the intern with one week's notice.