Macedonia's Finance Think and Slovenia's International Center for Promotion of Enterprises have been appointed by their governments to join the Virtual Institute's global network of 82 academic institutions, expanding Vi think tank membership to 11 research centers from seven countries.
Finance Think is a recently created non-profit organization active in the area of research, economic policymaking and advocacy. Its main activities include research and analysis, advocacy and advice to policymakers, and blogging and social media communication.
Its work covers three main areas: (a) development economics (poverty, inequality, unemployment, access to education and health services, regulatory environment and structural reforms); (b) macroeconomic /financial policies (economic growth, investment, monetary and fiscal policies, trade and exchange rate policies); and (c) financial systems (banking, insurance and pension systems, global financial system, financial integration).
Finance Think publishes a quarterly macroeconomic monitor, books and articles, and has developed an index of future economic activity. An index of financial stability is scheduled for publication in 2013.
The participation of Finance Think in the Vi will be coordinated by its Chief Economist, Blagica Petreski. Currently undertaking PhD studies, she has a Master's degree in monetary economics, and has published on the banking system and macroeconomic policies. Her current projects relate to the analysis of systemic risks and predictions of financial fragility, and the effects of Basel III on the banks in Central and South-East Europe. She will be joined by her colleague, Despina Petreska, who specializes in corporate finance and banking.
Finance Think is ready to exchange ideas with other Vi members, contribute papers, participate in workshops, and contribute to the building of research networks. They expect the membership to open new opportunities for cooperation, enhance their expertise, and help them establish connections with other members of the network.
The International Center for Promotion of Enterprises (ICPE), the Vi’s second think tanks from Slovenia, is an international intergovernmental organization headquartered in Slovenia. Membership is open to countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe.
ICPE’s objective is to promote international cooperation in areas related to entrepreneurship development, effective management of enterprises, privatization strategies and environment solutions. It organizes short-term trainings, international events (conferences, seminars, workshops or experts meetings targeted at businesses and policymakers), assists enterprises in adopting competitive business practices, and provides market research, as well as risk and project management services.
ICPE's training covers issues such as public administration, economic/commercial diplomacy, access to European Union funds and projects, e-governance, e-health, energy efficiency, lean management for public enterprises, corruption prevention, public-private partnerships, and budgeting, accounting and financial management. In cooperation with the Faculty of Economics of the University of Ljubljana, the Center also offers a one-year intensive MBA programme.
Nenad Stankovic will act as coordinator of ICPE's cooperation with the Vi. He has a background in engineering and IT and his research interests cover ICT and telecommunications, public-private partnerships, project and risk management, and international relations. He will be supported by Giedre Sadeikaite, a PhD candidate specialized in local and sustainable development, international relations and project management.
ICPE is ready to share information, organize trainings, courses and seminars on different topics relevant to developing countries, host events and implement joint projects based on its areas of expertise. The center hopes to establish new contacts for the exchange of information and implementation of joint projects with other Vi members, and to gain new experiences in different areas of cooperation.