Lamy inaugurates WTO Chair at the University of Chile

Director-General Pascal Lamy and Professor Daniel Wolf, Vice-Rector of the University of Chile, at a ceremony to mark the entry of the Institute of International Studies, University of Chile, into the WTO Chairs Programme for developing-country universities. Photo courtesy of the University of Chile

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In a ceremony at the Institute of Visual Arts in Santiago de Chile on 15 April 2010, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy welcomed the Institute of International Relations of the University of Chile into the WTO Chairs Programme for developing countries.

“The fact that the WTO has established a Chair at the Institute of International Studies of the University of Chile pays tribute to the history of this institution and its commitment to knowledge and science,” said Director-General Lamy.

The Chair established in Chile is one of 14 WTO Chairs that were awarded in early 2010 to universities from around the world. This programme is part of the technical assistance and training programme that the WTO delivers with a view to enhancing the quality and level of participation of developing countries in the multilateral trading system. “The role of academic institutions is essential in creating capacity at home through local academic and training programmes. That is why we have embarked on programmes of academic support for capacity building,” Lamy added.

As part of this policy, the WTO seeks to transfer ownership to partner institutions and to support programmes that have a long-term perspective and that are sustainable over time. Director-General Lamy highlighted that “it is only through national universities and research centres, such as the Institute of International Studies, that the population at large can access academic education, and that specialized training for trade officials in particular, can be effectively provided.”

The WTO Chairs Programme (WCP) aims at supporting academic institutions and associated individual scholars from developing countries in course preparation, teaching, research and outreach activities. The WCP provides financial support for a period of four years to beneficiary institutions, and facilitates continuous interaction between such institutions and other think-tanks around the world. It will provide students, civil society and other stakeholders with a deeper understanding of trade policy issues, disseminate research and information, promote discussion on international trade and trade cooperation, and provide analytical input into the formulation and implementation of trade policy.

The WTO and the Institute of International Studies of the University of Chile have worked together for several years. Both institutions have collaborated in the delivery of three Regional Trade Policy Courses for trade officials from Latin America. "This collaboration has now been taken to another level through the establishment of the WTO Chair at the Institute,” stated Mr Lamy.

Through the WCP, the Institute of International Relations will strengthen its Diploma Programme in International Strategy and Trade Policy, which will be further developed into a bilingual Masters Degree in International Political Economy and Trade Regime. It will also deliver several short courses on the multilateral trading system in the different regions of Chile, as well as organize other courses, conferences, round tables, and meetings. The Institute will also grant scholarships for the Diploma Programme. In the field of research, the Institute's project envisages six areas of work which are relevant to the trade agenda of the future, such as trade facilitation and trade finance, trade in services or issues related to intellectual property.

Director-General Lamy congratulated the Director of the Institute, Professor José Morandé Lavín, and in particular the WTO Chair holder, Professor Dorotea López-Giral, and thanked them for their dedication to this programme.

“I have great pleasure to award a WTO Chair to the University of Chile, at its Institute of International Studies,” said Mr Lamy. “This award is a tribute to the competence of this University and to the dedication of its academics. It is also an encouragement to your researchers and students to take an interest in multilateral trade matters, a cornerstone of international global governance. I wish you all success in your endeavours.”

In his speech, Director-General Lamy also mentioned the WTO Essay Award for Young Economists, a new programme that was also launched during 2009. “We want to promote research on WTO-related issues among young economists, and to reinforce the relationship between the WTO and the academic community. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the many students among you to participate by submitting the fruits of your research,” he concluded.