When Mr.Imtiaz Sharifi participated in the UNITAR Executive Master’s in Development Policies and Practices in 2014, he was the Director of the Value-Added Tax Section of the Revenue General Department in the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan, who had been working to develop policies and practices for the Ministry.

Following the success of the first edition of the Masters programem in 2013, UNITAR received many applications for the second edition, Mr. Sharifi was one of the 17 high-level officials from Afghan Government chosen to participate in degree programme.


With the goal of strengthening knowledge, skills, and the capacities of ministerial officials for effective governance and sustainable development, the UNITAR Executive Master’s in Development Policies and Practices was developed in 2013. The Master’s programme was implemented at the request of the Ministry of Finance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, in collaboration with the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Through the programme, I learned a lot, specifically in developing policy for my work as well as different management styles.”

The degree programme takes approximately 1 year to complete and consists of 3 modules, the first of which is a three-week session in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, followed by a two-week session in Istanbul, Turkey. During this time, participants are introduced to developmental frameworks, methods for analyzing regional and international development issues, as well as other methods and tools for developing policy and administration.

“One of the highlights of the degree programme was the variety in teaching styles which came from several different teachers with varied backgrounds.”

"These methods which often included humor and physical activity to keep student’s attention, and were completely different to anything I’d experienced previously.” Mr. Sharifi recalled.

“In Afghanistan,” he continued, “having a Master’s degree is highly regarded and can significantly improve someone’s chances of getting a job. Though I already had a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management, wanted to improve my own life, and I was more encouraged to complete the Master’s programme for my father who expected me to earn a high level degree.”

After 6-months of courses and research in Afghanistan as part of the second module, the third module of the programme consisted of several courses and networking events which took place over 3 weeks in Geneva, Switzerland, and also included the presentation and defense of the Master’s thesis. For many of the participants, this was their first time to visit Europe and they were able to take field trips around the region visiting various governmental institutions as well as learning about Swiss infrastructure.

“After completing the Master’s programme, I was able to obtain a higher level position at the Revenue Department and I am very happy with my new job. Through my work, I can contribute even more to the development of my country and ultimately to help the people of Afghanistan.”


Share with