A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


The University of Belgrade today joined the Virtual Institute. The first Vi institution in Serbia, its membership brings the number of countries represented in UNCTAD's academic network to 54.

The first contact with the university was established through our colleague, Mohan Panicker, who put us in touch in 2012, after the university first hosted the UNCTAD flagship course on key international economic issues, for which he is responsible. Since then, we have been regularly in touch with his counterpart at the university, Predrag Bjelic, who was also the driving force behind his university's Vi application.

The University of Belgrade was established in 1808 and its Faculty of Economics, with which we will cooperate, was founded in 1937 as the Graduate School for Economy and Trade. Since then, it has grown into an eminent research and educational institution in the field of economic sciences in the country.

The Faculty offers undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate degrees in Economics. Within these programmes, undergraduate students can opt for specializations in International Economics and Foreign Trade; Trade Marketing and Management; Tourism and Hospitality Management; or Finance, Banking and Insurance. The specializations offered at the graduate level include, International Economic Relations; Economic Analysis and Policy; Economic Policy and Development; Quantitative Analysis; and Economics and Management of the Energy Sector. The PhD programme also offers courses in International Economics.

In addition to courses in Serbian, students can enroll in a French-language Master's programme in macroeconomic policies in countries with economies in transition, delivered in cooperation with the University of Nice, and the English-language International Master's in Quantitative Finance.

Through the Faculty of Economics Research Centre, the Faculty carries out research for the government, as well as the business sector in Serbia. The staff are also involved in a number of international research projects, including the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Union's project "Compete: International comparison of product supply chains in the agro-food sectors: Determinants of their competitiveness and performance on EU and international markets."

The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Bjelic, who has been a Vi associate member since 2008. Holder of a PhD in economics and professor at the Department of International Economic Relations, he teaches courses on international trade, trade policy, electronic commerce, and economics of the European Union. His research interests lie in the area of trade policy, in particular in relation to the WTO, non-tariff barriers, European integration, and electronic commerce. He will be supported by his colleague Jelena Cvetanović, who works as an international relations officer.

Through their participation in the Vi, the university wishes to develop cooperation with Vi members, in particular universities from developing countries. Such cooperation could take the form of exchanges of books and journals, staff and students, or work on joint programmes. They also expect to benefit from UNCTAD research materials and publications, and cooperate on seminars and other educational activities, in order to enhance their teaching and research work.

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