The Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, gave the welcome address to the participants and guests of the conference. In his speech he noted the importance of youth actively participating in science and innovation as future members of the professional community.

“When I think about i-Customs, I think of international trade and international business in need of innovation and human resources, especially young resources. I appreciate that thanks to such initiatives, youth have the opportunity to come together, exchange views and to form a network for future cooperation. Partnerships require professionalism, integrity and honesty, since any organization is only as good as the people working in it. That is why investing in people is so important, so we devote a lot of time to education, training and research. We are looking forward to hearing the best speakers of i-Customs at the PICARD conference, where you can share your innovative ideas with the world community” – shared Kunio Mikuriya.

The first day of the event included presentations covering current issues in international trade and customs regulation, a hot topic for businesses, government authorities and governments of different countries. Video streams were arranged to include students who were not able to attend.

Leading international experts in international trade and customs regulation assessed the quality of work, its relevance and degree of sophistication. Robert Ireland, Head of the Research Unit at the World Customs Organization shared his thoughts about the conference.

“I’m very impressed by the very comfortable atmosphere of the conference. We heard excellent presentations, which makes it hard to choose the best students. It’s clear that a lot of work has been done to prepare these presentations. It should be noted that their presentations were made in a foreign language, which makes it much more difficult to present, but the participants coped well.” explained Mr. Ireland.

International student conference i-Customs is not a onetime event, it is part of a larger process designed to strengthen international communication and cooperation amongst students on the basis of scientific research and creating conditions for the realization of the intellectual potential of youth. The conference is a good opportunity for young people to expand their circle of professional contacts.

“ITMO University held an excellent conference. The organizers attracted leading specialists in the field of customs educations, setting a high bar for those who will be organizing the next conference. I hope that such meeting will become regular,” commented Professor Gennadiy Brovka from Belarussian National Technical University, and Foreign Policy and Security Research Center.

The conference was also marked by an important event, the creation of the International Customs Students Association ICSA. This initiative was supported by all partner universities.

“We are here for the first time. I read ITMO University’s slogan “It’s more than a university” and I couldn’t agree more. The atmosphere here is really special, excellent presentations, high level of organization and a unique jury whose opinions were interesting to hear. It was exciting and nerve-racking to get up on stage, because it’s a huge responsibility, but it’s also a great platform for growth,” explained Svetlana Volich and Alexander Komissarov, students of the Russian Customs Academy.

After lengthy deliberations, the jury announced the best papers which will be presented at the Youth Forum of the International Conference PICARD, held by the World Customs Organization on September 27-29, 2016 in Manila (Philippines).

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