A partnership with academia

Building knowledge for trade and development


altThe Universidad Católica de Santiago de Guayaquil (USCG), the first academic institution to represent Ecuador in UNCTAD's academic network, joined the Virtual Institute today, bringing the number of core university members to 54.
Membership discussions were initiated last July by Ryan Cobey, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Trade, who learned about the Vi from Ramon Torrent, of Spanish core member, Universitat de Barcelona. Cobey met with the Vi in Geneva last December, and introduced the idea of Vi membership to academic institutions in the country upon his return. USCG responded positively in January, and completed  membership formalities in a short period of time.
Within the university, the Vi will cooperate with the School of Commerce and Finance, which aims to combine academic excellence with social responsibility to educate competent professionals with entrepreneurial spirit, well versed in new technologies, and committed to creating employment and wealth for the country as well as contributing to its sustainable development. 
The school offers a Master's programme in international trade and finance, which prepares students for careers in international business with the ultimate objective of fostering trade links between Ecuador and other countries. Among the courses taught in this programme are international trade, international trade law, international trade logistics and electronic commerce.
The school's research work revolves around foreign direct investment, value chains, entrepreneurship and exports. Papers and articles are being developed on policies and strategies that would increase FDI in tourism, forestry, IT development, food processing and biotechnology, and help the country develop higher value added activities in non-oil export sectors. A special emphasis is placed on small and medium-sized enterprises. 
The cooperation with the Vi will be coordinated by Maria Teresa Alcivar Aviles, the school's director. She has Master's degrees in Business Administration, International Trade Negotiations, and Finance, and is currently preparing a PhD dissertation in Business Administration. She teaches international relations, and international trade and negotiations. Her research interests relate to value chains, value addition to Ecuadorian products, and trade agreements. She will be supported by Luis Renato Garzón Jiménez, a professor at the school specialized in finance and investment.
USCG is ready to contribute its research and data, and exchange staff with other members. They expect that Vi membership will further strengthen their business studies and research. 
For more information, visit USCG's profile on the Vi website.