This year's meeting was attended by 23 members from the Vi network's academic community, representing its core membership of 23 universities as well as self-funded participants from other partner universities in member countries. It was the biggest meeting yet and reflected the growth of the network from the original 12 members at the first meeting in 2005.
In a video conference held January 15, UNCTAD presented its World Investment Report 2007 to Egyptian Vi member, Cairo University. The videoconference was organized by the Virtual Institute in cooperation with UNCTAD's Division on Investment, Technology and Enterprise Development.
H.E. Ambassador Nihad Abdel Latif, of Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed the hope that in the future there would be more opportunities for a dialogue between UNCTAD and Eyptian academics.
"This (dialogue) allows for a direct exchange that is of central importance to the process of economic development," added H.E. Sameh Shoukry, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt, who joined Ambassador Latif in welcoming the cooperation between the Virtual Institute and Cairo University.
Dr. Keith Nurse, the recently appointed director of the Sridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services at Vi's Caribbean university member, University of the West Indies, met with the Vi team January 16, to discuss future activities and areas of cooperation with the network.
Dr. Nurse was in Geneva as panellist in the session on Promoting Trade Gains from Creative Goods and Services at UNCTAD's Secretary-General High-level Panel on the Creative Economy and Industries for Development.
Three junior lecturers from the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, completed their six-week fellowships at UNCTAD on 14 December 2007.
Under the guidance of mentors from UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods, Services and Commodities, they worked on research assignments of specific relevance for their country - on the liberalization of financial services under GATS, regional integration, and fiscal regime for the mining sector.
As part of UNCTAD's research and technical cooperation activities on management of external debt of developing countries, the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and the Division on Globalization and Development Strategies have launched a new e-learning module on debt sustainability analysis (DSA).
The training module is targeted at policy makers, debt analysts, practitioners, as well as academics, and is prepared as part of a secretariat technical assistance project on Capacity Building for Debt Sustainability in Developing Countries.