Seven universities added to WTO Chairs Programme

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The WTO has announced the addition of seven academic institutions —in Benin, Brazil, Indonesia, Oman, South Africa, Tunisia and Turkey — to its roster of schools participating in the WTO Chairs Programme.

The WCP was originally launched in 2010 as a pilot capacity-building project. The programme aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the multilateral trading system among academics and students in developing countries through teaching, research and outreach activities in research institutions.
For the second phase of the programme, the number of participating institutions will be expanded to 21. This second phase will run until 30 May 2018 and will be funded with support from the Netherlands. The new Chairs selected will expand the current network of the 14 existing Chairs. The Secretariat will continue to work with current Chairs who will benefit from scientific and trade related technical assistance support.
The seven selected institutions, in alphabetical order by country, are:

  • Benin, University Abomey-Calavi, Professor Fulbert AMOUSSOUGA GERO,
  • Brazil, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo School of Economics, Professor Vera THORSTENSEN,
  • Indonesia, University Pelita Harapan (UPH), Professor John RIADY,
  • Oman, Sultan Qaboos University, Associate Professor Houcine BOUGHANMI,
  • South Africa, North-West University (NWU), Professor Wilma VIVIERS,
  • Tunisia, University of Tunis, Tunis Business School, Assistant Professor Leila BAGHDADI,
  • Turkey, Istanbul Bilgi University, Assistant Professor Pinar ARTIRAN.

The new Chairs were selected from a total of 77 proposals received through a competitive process led by the WTO Secretariat with the support of the WCP Advisory Board, an external advisory body composed by 21 scholars whose role is to ensure the academic quality of outputs generated by Chair-holders and their teams. The selection process took into account criteria such as: i) potential for developing capacities at the host institution; ii) relevance of research topics to trade policy and WTO-related issues; iii) quality of research proposals; iv) prospect to offer new courses or update current ones; v) potential for interaction with policy-making institutions (such as government departments); vi) ability to establish networks with other academic institutions; vii) future sustainability of the activities; and viii) capability to maintain an appropriate team in the host institution to collaborate with the Chair-holder. 
The programme is implemented through partnership agreements between the WTO Secretariat and the selected institutions. The WTO provides financial, scientific and technical support to its partners in three interdependent pillars: research, curriculum development and outreach activities for a period of up to four years maximum. At the end of this period, it is intended that programmes be consolidated and continued as appropriate, possibly with financial support from other sources.
The WCP will assist national academic institutions in providing students with a deeper understanding of trade policy issues. Through analytical input into the formulation and implementation of trade policy, the WCP will help strengthen the participation of the beneficiary countries in international trade.
For more information, please visit the website of the WCP.