Our Focus

The WTO Chairs Programme:

  • Aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the multilateral trading system among academics, policy makers and civil society in developing countries and least developed countries by stimulating teaching, research, and public debate on international trade at universities and research institutions.
  • Fosters research and capacity building of relevance to government policy makers and other stakeholders and adapted to circumstances on the ground.
  • Provides financial and substantive support to the Chairs over a four-year programme cycle as part of the WTO`s technical cooperation mandate of enhancing human and institutional capacities of beneficiary Members to take full advantage of the rules-based multilateral trading system.
  • Comprises a total of 35 institutions with a cohort of 16 Chairs participating in the current four-year cycle and 19 Chairs funded in previous programme cycles actively engaged in the network.


The WTO Chairs Programme was launched in 2010. It is fostering research, training, and outreach activities of relevance to governmental policy makers and other stakeholders at universities in developing countries and least developed countries. Academic institutions awarded WTO Chairs receive support in the areas of research, curriculum development, and outreach activities. The chair-holders are selected through a competitive process. Fourteen institutions were originally selected as WTO Chairs for a four-year term in 2009. Seven institutions were added to the Programme in May 2014. Following a call for applications for Phase 3 of the Programme, over 120 applications were received by the WTO. A selection process resulted in 16 institutions being chosen to join the network of WCP Chairs in December 2021. This further diversifies the Programme's representation across the globe, with the network now comprising 35 universities.