Mr. Nikolai Sergeevich Leviankou:
What was the first course that you took at the JVI, and how did it affect your career at the National Bank of Belarus?
When I came to the JVI in 1993 I worked for the Ministry of Economy. The course was about how countries could successfully transition from a planned to a market economy; it also covered broad macroeconomic policy questions. From 1994 till retirement I worked in the National Bank of Belarus and held different positions. After 1993 I took several more JVI courses and each contributed to my professional knowledge a lot. Certainly JVI has raised the level of expertise and enabled policymakers to participate more effectively in discussions especially during IMF missions. So I want to thank the IMF, and all the JVI staff, for providing these opportunities and wish you all the best in this very important process of learning and sharing best practices and experience.
What was your first reaction when you heard that that your grandson was invited for a course at the JVI?
I was really happy and proud of him. It was almost 25 years between my first visit to JVI and his visit. And I want to mention how adaptive JVI is in bringing up-to-date knowledge to the participants in this rapidly changing world.
What is the memory about the JVI and Vienna that you treasure till today?
I had good memories about all the colleagues from central banks and ministries whom I met at JVI. And of course it was a great pleasure to listen to JVI lecturers and communicate with JVI staff. Vienna is a really amazing city. Each time visiting Vienna was like the first time. JVI provided us with excellent services. My favorite places in Vienna are Schönbrunn palace and Stephansdom.
Mr. Artsiom Sergeevich Leviankou:
From the discussions with your grandfather, how did the JVI courses affect his and your career; what similarities are there?
There are a lot of similarities. We both successfully applied what we learned during the courses in our daily work. Also participating in JVI courses gave us an opportunity to participate more actively in discussions during IMF technical assistance and Article IV Consultation missions. But the difference is that the JVI course participants are now younger on average in comparison with the early 90s participants.
Has the JVI evolved so much that it impacts careers differently nowadays?
In both cases JVI helped to bridge the gap between theory and practice, but there is one important difference. When my grandfather attended JVI in the early 90s, it was really difficult in Eastern European countries to find information that could help you in your daily work. Now it is more difficult to choose from the vast amount of information that is available what will be most useful. In this case the role of JVI has changed, but in general it contributes a lot to the development of the region just as it did in the beginning.
Why would you recommend JVI/IMF courses to your colleagues?
If you are a professional, you really should apply for a JVI course. They are well-organized, up-to-date, and very interactive. They combine theory (interesting lectures) and practice, using country- specific case studies very efficiently. Also attending peer-to-peer courses in JVI is a great opportunity to meet with your colleagues from different countries and to share experiences. These countries are facing common economic problems because they are from the region where there was previously a command economy. So JVI tailors its training to deal with these specific problems. But first I would recommend that those thinking of taking a course at the JVI in Vienna take the respective IMF online courses to become familiar with the materials in the peer-to-peer course.
What tips did your grandfather share with you about the JVI and Vienna?
The advice was that I should take an active part in the discussions throughout the course, to not be afraid to ask questions. And of course he told me a lot about what places to visit in Vienna.
Tamara Tsikhistavi, Program Officer & Alumni Relations JVI
Iwona Kabat Lefèbre, Program Officer, JVI