A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


EAFIT University's Virtual Institute member coordinator, Sascha Fuerst (pictured, right), has handed over the reins of the Colombian network to Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, head of EAFIT's international business department.and director of its research group in international studies.

Gonzalez-Perez holds a PhD in economics and management from the National University of Ireland (NUI) at Galway. In 2007, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the area of civic engagement in higher education in the Community Knowledge Initiative at NUI, and she has a long track of international publications, conference interventions and research activity in five continents.

Long-time member coordinator Fuerst, led the process of EAFIT's admission into the Vi in June 2006, and built the Colombian Vi network of 12 universities, which later became the Vi's first affiliate members.

Under his leadership different academic events and projects have been successfully realized for and with Colombian universities. Among them are: participation of various members from Colombia in capacity building initiatives led by the Vi; development of teaching materials about International Negotiation Studies, and Environmental Economics; launch in Colombia of the UNCTAD 2007 Trade and Development Report via video-conference; initiation of cooperation with the Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that led to the organization of the first WTO seminar for Colombian academics; facilitation of a research project about a comparative study of the coffee sector between Colombia and Vietnam; and successful application to host the 2009 UNCTAD Flagship Training Course on Key International Economic Issues for Latin America and the Caribbean at Universidad EAFIT.

Additionally, Fuerst participated as researcher in the UNCTAD-OECD-University of Fribourg research project on "Enhancing the participation of SMEs into Global Value Chains."