On November 1st, 2021, the students of the Master in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability of the University of Geneva attended two panels as part of their mandatory course “Research and Innovation Metholodogy”.

Posted by: Lucía Carrillo and Sofía Vignola


The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations specialized agency in charge of regulating telecommunications at the international level between the different administrations and operating companies. At the Strategic Planning and Membership Department of ITU, Mr. Vladimir Stankovic is currently the coordinator of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), which next edition will be held in 2022. The WSIS is important as it is the world’s largest gathering of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) community and serves as an efficient mechanism to coordinate multi-stakeholders actions, to exchange information, to create knowledge, and to assist partnerships to advance in the SDGs. It also shapes the ITU agenda and helps to deliver cross-sectorial activities among major interesting actors.

During the panel discussion, Mr. Stankovic shared that one of the challenges that the ITU and WSIS are currently facing is the fact that the organization and event are not very well known around the world, except for the already-existing participants. Additionally, planning and delivering cross-sectorial activities is also an intrinsically important issue.

 Regarding internship opportunities, the ITU looks forward to receiving Master students, particularly from the IHDS Master. The duration of the internship is about to be determined by ITU and the Geneva Tsinghua Initiative authorities. Although there are no specific topics defined yet, some ideas include gender, space, service security and merging technologies. They also welcome proposals from students. Depending on the interests and expertise of students, group internship opportunities are also available. The expected skills and attitudes that interns should have are basic research and communication, as well as proactiveness and independence. Daily tasks may include data analysis from outside stakeholders, reporting back to them, logistical activities, communication to reach out potential new actors. Multimedia skills such as social media and podcasts, for instance, are a plus.

For submitting an internship application, the first step is to get in touch with the academic coordinator of the IHDS Master. Then, completing a registration with the ITU, through their website, including CV. Finally, there is an interview to define details and get to know both parts.

For more information, please visit https://erecruit.itu.int/public/  or contact Mr. Vladimir at his email address: vladimir.stankovic@itu.int



Yongfu Ouyang (yongfu.ouyang@unctad.org), Chief, Institutional Investment Facilitation, UNCTAD

A brief introduction of the panelists:

Mr. Yongfu Ouyang is the chief of the Institutional Investment Facilitation program at UNCTAD, where he leads a team to facilitate the transition of the global capital market to more sustainable investment and promote long-term investment by institutional investors in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under his leadership, the program initiated the first UN Sustainable Fund Award and the International Sustainable Investment Fund Conference in 2021, as part of the UNCTAD World Investment Forum. 

Key information regarding the organizations they represent:

UNCTAD is the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It is currently formed by 195 members that have the aim to support developing countries in their incorporation into the globalized economy, with the intention of lifting millions of people out of poverty. The objective is to help developing countries to take advantage of international trade, investment, financial resources, and technology to achieve sustainable and inclusive development.

What is innovation according to the panelists:

There has been a megatrend towards more sustainable investment which has been a product of focusing on certain key working areas such as  monitoring sustainability integration by sustainable investors, monitoring latest development in regulation and policies or capacity building for policy makers and institutional investors. 

Some challenges identified during the conversation

Some of the challenges presented by Mr Yongfu in the area of sustainable investment facilitation in UNCTAD are to assure the quality of the investment market in sustainable development through improving the lack of quality data, lack of standards or controlling green or SDG washing. Besides this, it’s important to make sure and guarantee an equal distribution between countries, making sure developing countries do not stay aside promoting a real and inclusive development. 


For the internship opportunities  there are two channels: UNCTAD Internship program and SF Youth Leader program. It can be found on the UN website. Some possible topics to work on are circular economy, sustainable investment, sustainable trade, business and trade efficiency, and entrepreneurship for sustainable development, just to mention some. For any particular interest, get in contact with Yongfu Ouyang: yongfu.ouyang@unctad.org