A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


The Virtual Institute’s core Chinese member, the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), came to Geneva for their fifth annual study tour September 29-October 3. The one-week programme on trade and development trained 27 students in total and it was delivered by experts from UNCTAD divisions and Vi partner organizations: the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The programme comprised 13 sessions on current trade and development issues, with a particular focus on China’s development. UNCTAD topics included introduction to the organization's work, trends and  challenges in the world economy, foreign direct investment, global value chains, trade facilitation, and technology and innovation.

The WTO sessions focused on the Doha negotiations, China’s dispute cases and its latest trade policy review andwere was followed by an active discussion. During the ITC sessions, the students were presented with ITC’s market research and analysis services, in particular Trade Map and Market Access Map, after which they were given the chance to practice these tools in hands-on exercises.

“I learned the differences between international organizations and now I have a better understanding of China’s role in WTO and the current problems our economy faces,” commented one of the students.

Similarly to previous years, the students had the opportunity to visit the Permanent Mission of China and meet with national representatives in order to discuss country-specific questions on UNCTAD and WTO matters. In addition, the group visited WIPO where the lectures focused on the link between intellectual property and development, and protection of copyright, patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.

During the week, the students also took part in a simulation exercise on FDI, in which they represented ministries of a fictional country (the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Enterprise Development and the Ministry of Environmental Protection) and a national investment promotion agency. On the last day, the students then presented their advice on the foreign investor’s offer to the president, using the knowledge they had acquired during the tour.

“This was a well-organized study tour which greatly helped us consolidate the knowledge of international trade as well as providing on-going global trends,” said one of the participants.

The feedback received in evaluation questionnaires shows that the tour largely exceeded students' expectations in terms of its learning outcome and that the simulation exercise was particularly useful in improving their soft skills.

 “I have learned how to cooperate with team members and my communication skills are improved,” added a student. “I am very happy that there was a lot of interaction during the lectures. I learned a lot from the discussions,” concluded another.

Furthermore, several of the students mentioned that they are now more motivated to work for international organizations in the future.