A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


The Vi welcomed a 16th Colombian university to the network on December 4. The admission of Bucaramanga's Universidad Santo Tomás expanded the Vi affiliate network to 32 institutions, Colombia leading the pack as the country with the highest representation in UNCTAD's programme for academic cooperation.

The application followed the university's positive experience with Vi activities in the past two years. Santo Tomás students participated in the last two annual Vi study tours for Colombian universities. The Vi also arranged for an UNCTAD expert to contribute to a congress organized by the university in November 2012.
The Vi's counterpart at the university will be the Faculty of International Business, whose dean, Nohora Rodriguez, first established contact with the Vi in 2011, during a visit to Geneva.
The Faculty offers a one-year post-graduate programme in export management, comprising courses related to international trade theory, international economic and political environment for business operations, international logistics, international finance, and electronic commerce.
Recent published research in the university's journal, "Lebret," includes an analysis of the export process to the US of the apparel industry in the Santander region. Other research projects relate to competitiveness of strategic sectors in the Santander region, and the analysis of the auto parts sectors in Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica in the context of free trade agreements with the US and the prospects for Colombia.
The university has established close cooperation with the town hall in Bucaramanga, providing research on competitiveness of Santander's main export sectors, namely footwear, apparel and jewelery industries. It also has an office in the free trade zone, where it advises entrepreneurs on trends in international markets and other international business topics.
The participation of the university in the Vi will be coordinated by Julio Ramírez Montañez, director of the research group at the faculty and professor of international relations.
The university is interested in training for its lecturers and students, staff and student exchanges with universities in the Vi network, and speakers' contributions to its conferences and training programmes. It is ready to offer the same, as well as Spanish courses for students and staff from Vi member universities.
For more information, visit the university's profile on the Vi website.