15 April 2013, Kabul, Afghanistan - In a ceremony attended by Afghanistan’s Minister of Finance, Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, twenty senior and mid-level civil servants from the Ministry of Finance (MoF) were inducted into the inaugural Executive Master's Degree Programme in Development Policies and Practices (DPP) in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Finance in Kabul on Sunday, April 15.

The event was attended by Mr. Alex Mejia, UNITAR’s Local Development Programme Manager, who headed the mission to Kabul accompanied by Dr. Alexandre Domeier Freire, the Graduate Institute of Geneva’s Director of the DPP Executive Master's Degree Programme.  The joint endeavour between UNITAR and the Graduate Institute of Geneva, combines the capacity building expertise of UNITAR with the research-based academic training of the Graduate Institute. This unique degree programme, specially customized to meet the needs of the Afghan Ministry of Finance, was designed to enhance professional workplace skills while affording beneficiaries career mobility.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Mejia noted “I am very delighted and honored to be counterpart with the ministry of finance and to be part of the capacity development of MoF civil servants and as a whole to provide an opportunity to develop Afghan leaders through this programme.”  Each of the 20 incoming beneficiaries was presented with their acceptance letters by  Dr. Freire who expressed his pleasure in welcoming Afghan beneficiaries into the joint UNITAR-Graduate Institute Master's Programme. 

Afghan Master's programme

Designed for maximum engagement, the year-long 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, and culminates in the granting of a degree in a graduation ceremony set to take place in Geneva in February 2014. Expressing his approval of the degree based training, Minister of Finance Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal said in his opening remarks: “I am very delighted to see the launching of Masters Programme for core officials from the MoF and look forward to a long term strategic relationship with UNITAR and the Graduate Institute of Geneva.”

Photo: Afghanistan’s Minister of Finance (MoF), Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, seated in the center surrounded by the entering class of senior and mid-level civil servants from the Ministry of Finance. To the right is UNITAR Local Development Manager, Mr. Alex Mejia. Sitting to the left of the Minister if Dr. Alexandre Freire, the Graduate Institute’s Director of the DPP Degree Programme.