Training program for young professionals launched in Switzerland

Werner Thut, Vice President, Forum of Federations and Prof. Peter Haenni, Director of the Institute of Federalism, Fribourg, sign the memorandum of understanding in Bern, Switzerland.

A new internship program to train young professionals from developing federal countries was recently launched by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Governments, the Institute of Federalism of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, and the Forum of Federations.

The internship program will be carried out through the federal and cantonal governments with funds from the Swiss federal government The Conference of Cantonal Governments and the Institute of Federalism will be the implementing organizations, with the support of the Forum.

A memorandum of understanding outlining a wide series of joint activities over the next three years, including the internship program, was signed between the Forum and the Institute on Nov. 11, 2009, by Forum Vice President Dr. Werner Thut, and Prof. Peter Haenni, the Director of the Institute of Federalism.

The Institute of Federalism at the University of Fribourg was founded in 1985 and has a staff of about 15 people. The Institute includes a National Centre for Analysis and Documentation as well as an International Research and Consulting Centre.

Through closer collaboration, the Forum and the Institute intend to build on their respective comparative advantages in terms of accumulated know-how, networks and project opportunities.

Areas of co-operation shall include publications on Swiss Federalism, translations, a training program for young professionals from developing countries with federal or quasi-federal structures, and projects to transfer knowledge or expertise on demand to academic institutions or ongoing political processes in countries in which the Forum or the Institute are active.

The internship program will provide six-week internships for junior employees in the field of politics, administration, academia, and media from federal countries.

The first course will be held in autumn 2010. Chosen from the students attending the international Summer School of Federalism and supported by the Institute of Federalism, about 10 participants each year will work in the civil service of participating Swiss cantons and convene thereafter to discuss their different experiences. Another important program component will be the building of an alumni network of previous, current and future students and trainees and an exchange of information on federal issues.

The program was launched in Bern, the Swiss capital, on Nov. 10, 2009.

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