Fifty-seven students from five universities participated in the largest study tour organized by the Vi to date. The five-day training programme, held April 4-8 in Geneva, was the fourth for Vi members in Russia.
"The study tour is very precious for us and supports our university programme," writes Anna Abramova, Vi member coordinator at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). "The agenda of the study tour 2011 was very interesting and intensive, with coverage of all the main current issues in world trade."
International experts from UNCTAD, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Trade Centre (ITC), as well as representatives from the country's Permanent Mission, led sessions designed to cover key issues for the country and region. Topics included oil and gas production and trade, commodities, foreign direct investment, Russia's accession to the WTO, and market analysis.
"This study tour was really exciting!" wrote a student from the State University Higher School of Economics (HSE). "I've got a deeper acquaintance with the UNCTAD and WTO structures, learnt about the real work of diplomats (in the Russian Permanent Mission), and understood that I really love what I study and that I'm on the right path!"
The students particularly appreciated taking on the roles of government officials and private firms during a simulation exercise on foreign direct investment facilitated by UNCTAD experts, Kalman Kalotay, of the Division on Investment and Enterprise, and Michael Lim, of the Division on Technology and Logistics.
"The choice of subjects seemed quite balanced, as it combined theoretical and practical elements, as well as global trends and issues specific to Russia," wrote a student from MGIMO. "The conclusion of the tour (the business simulation) was great, as it forced us into fruitful cooperation and allowed us to apply theoretical concepts to real-life issues."
"The excellent preparation of the students made this exercise extremely interesting for all - experts and participants - because students were able to express their arguments with clarity and precision," said Vi's Evelyn Benvenisti, in charge of the study tour.
Nine lecturers from HSE, MGIMO, St. Petersburg State University (SPSU), St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, and the North-West Academy of Public Administration also joined the tour.
A student from SPSU summed it up: "Wow, I am full of new knowledge and ready to research further!"