The University of National and World Economy (UNWE), Bulgaria, today joined the Virtual Institute, increasing the number of Eastern European countries represented in the network to five.

The membership was the initiative of Paskal Zhelev, a graduate of the 2012 edition of the Vi-University of Barcelona-CEDDET online course on legal instruments of international economic relations and regional integration, and a participant of the 2012 edition of UNCTAD's regional course on key international economic issues. 

UNWE, founded in 1920, is the oldest and largest economics-related university in Southeastern Europe and the No. 1 in Bulgaria. Its mission is to prepare highly qualified specialists for the country's public and private sectors, and to cover new research fields in economics, in line with global and European standards.

The Vi's counterpart at UNWE will be the Faculty of International Economics and Politics, whose programmes cover international economics and business, and international relations/political sciences.

The faculty offers a Bachelor’s programme in international economic relations, taught entirely in English. It also provides Master’s programmes in international economic relations, international business (in English), international project management, international finance, and international trade and development. The PhD programme in world economy and international economic relations includes courses on international trade, international finance, international business, international market studies and European integration.

The faculty carries out research on a range of issues related to the world economy and that of Bulgaria. Recently completed was a three-year government-funded research project on international competitiveness of export-oriented Bulgarian industries. Projects currently being implemented relate to regional cooperation and integration in Southeastern Europe, effects of the eurozone debt crisis, regulatory impact assessment, and industrial policy of Bulgaria.

The cooperation with the Vi will be led by Zhelev, holder of a PhD in world economy and international economic relations, and responsible for courses on theory of international economic relations; international economics; Bulgaria in the global economy; and internal market of the European Union. His research covers industrial policy, international competitiveness, and European integration. He will be supported by Vasil Petkov, a PhD holder teaching international market studies, market analyses and forecasts, international pricing practices, and international economics. His research topics are export competitiveness and adaptation of Bulgarian agriculture to the context of the European Union.

UNWE is ready to share its experience with teaching and research on export competitiveness, international trade, investment and development issues. It is open to contribute to the Vi in any way that may be of interest to other members, particularly by organizing and participating in joint activities (conferences, seminars, workshops, round tables), exchanging ideas and papers, and contributing to the building of research networks.

Through participation in the Vi, UNWE expects to enhance its expertise in teaching and researching trade, investment and development issues. The university is interested in establishing new contacts and long-term cooperation with the Vi network members, with the objective of sharing curricula information, exchanging staff, and undertaking joint research projects.

For more information, visit the university profile on the Vi website.