Two more universities, from Brazil and Ethiopia, have joined as affiliate members today, bringing the number of Vi affiliates to 28, and the total number of network members to 63.

The Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP) is the fifth Vi member university from Brazil. We owe the contact with our new affiliate to Antonio Carlos Macedo e Silva, former Vi member coordinator at the core Vi university in Brazil, the University of Campinas (UNICAMP).

Membership of Jigjiga University (JJU), the first affiliate from Ethiopia, was the initiative of Henok Birhanu Asmelash, a Vi associate member who participated in the Vi-CEDDET-University of Barcelona online course on legal instruments of international economic relations and regional integration last fall.

UNESP is one of the largest Brazilian universities, with recognized achievements in teaching, research and outreach. Along with our current members, UNICAMP and the University of Sao Paulo, it is one of the three universities in the state of São Paulo offering free higher education. It has also established research links with another Vi member in Brazil, the Institute for Applied Economic Research.

The Vi will be directly working with UNESP's Department of Economics. The department offers a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in areas such as globalization and development strategies, economics of international trade, foreign direct investment, enterprise competitiveness and science and technology.
Most of the department's researchers are part of the Group of Studies in Industrial Economics, which has collaborative links with other research institutions in the country. Among the recently conducted projects are those on global production chains, innovation strategies, technological activities of multi-national enterprises, and interaction between universities and industry. The group also organizes an industrial economics seminar which showcases the work of researchers and students in this area.
The participation of UNESP in the Virtual Institute will be coordinated by Enéas Gonçalves de Carvalho, holder of a PhD in Economics and responsible for courses on globalization, FDI and international competitiveness, and on economic planning and policy. His recent research focuses on international competitiveness, R&D and the automotive industry, and investment perspectives in Brazil. He is also the Deputy Head of UNESP's graduate programme in economics.
Two colleagues will also be involved in the cooperation with the Vi: Eduardo Strachman, who teaches macroeconomics, industrial economics, and monetary economics, and researches sectoral issues, industrial policy and trans-national enterprises; and Lourenço Galvão Diniz Faria, whose research focus is on sectoral innovation systems and innovations in low-tech industries.
UNESP is seeking to expand its network of international partnerships and is interested in collaborating in research and course development, as well as student and staff exchanges with other Vi members. They would be happy to share their experience in the areas of national and sectoral competitiveness and the Brazilian industry, and, in broader terms, science and technology, FDI and development strategies.
JJU, the only university in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, was established in 2007, following policy of the Ethiopian government to provide access to higher education to all its citizens. It offers undergraduate degrees in economics and law, which include courses on development and international economics, natural resources and environmental economics, economics of agriculture and industry, investment opportunities in Ethiopia, international trade law, investment law and intellectual property law.   The Faculty of Business and Economics is planning to launch a post-graduate programme in Trade Policy Analysis.
As JJU is located in one of the less developed regions of the country, the primary focus of its research is on improving the livelihood of its citizens. The issues covered relate to finance for SMEs, trade logistics, sanitary and phytosanitary standards, market chains and the accession of the country to the WTO. An annual research compendium is published every year.
The Vi's main counterpart at JJU will be the Faculty of Law. The cooperation will be coordianted by Henok Birhanu Asmelash, who holds an LLM in Law and teaches international trade law and investment law at the University. The areas of his research interest are Ethiopia's WTO accession, the country's trade policy - both multilateral and regional - and Special and Differential Treatment. Another colleague, Muktar Ousman Adem, specialized in intellectual property law, will also be associated with the Virtual Institute.
JJU offers to share its experience in teaching and researching LDC issues with interested members of the Vi network. It also hopes to further strengthen its teaching and research activities through interaction and collaboration with other Vi members, as well as the teaching materials and professional development opportunities offered by the Vi.
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