|Issue #27 - December 2010 - Welcome to the Vi quarterly newsletter|
Thank you for all your support and cooperation throughout the past year.
New core member: Azerbaijan
The university's application came under the auspices of the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan in Geneva, who took an interest in the Vi while organizing the July 2010 UNCTAD Regional Course on Key Issues on the Economic Agenda held in Baku.
ASEU is Azerbaijan's leading university in the area of economics education and research, offering undergraduate, graduate and PhD programmes on a variety of economic topics to its approximately 15,000 students.
More than 60 faculty members are involved in teaching trade and development issues; about one-quarter of them are engaged in the research of global economic issues and their implications for the country and its integration into the world economy.
ASEU's Vi member coordinator, Shahin Bayramov teaches courses on international economics, trade policy and world economy in addition to serving as assistant to the university's Rector. His research interests revolve around the European Union and its relations with Azerbaijan, as well as his country's economic cooperation with the United States. Nazim Hajiyev, Head of the Division for Social-economic Problems of Regions, will also be involved in the cooperation with the Virtual Institute.
For more information, take a look at the university profile on the Vi website.
Spanish Vi project resounding success
"Through its cooperation with the Virtual Institute, Spain has been able to continue its long-standing support to Latin America, and to provide new opportunities for academics from the Least Developed Countries," wrote HE Javier Garrigues, Ambassador to the Permanent Mission of Spain to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Thanks to the support of the Government of Spain, the Vi network gained one more LDC member and 10 new Latin American university members. In addition, the Vi provided research fellowships to 15 academics, and sponsored four joint research projects, resulting in three monographs and 23 research papers.
In addition, the Vi organized four regional and 10 national research and professional development workshops for nearly 300 participants. And, in cooperation with the University of Barcelona, 32 Vi members received scholarships to participate in an online course on international economic law; another five were able to take part in the university's Master's programme in international economic law and policy.
The project also resulted in increased availability of up-to-date teaching materials adapted to the context of Latin American countries, the development of three new courses for graduate and undergraduate programmes in the region, and an online course for Portuguese-speaking African countries, as well as the enrichment of an additional 15 courses at Latin American universities.
Ugandan staff equipped with modern teaching methods
Part of the network capacity-building project for Least Developed Countries conducted in cooperation with Vi German member, the University of Applied Sciences, the lectures were delivered by Heidemarie Hecht, of Freie Universität in Berlin.
"I am mandated to start teaching in a week’s time, and this lecture series has boosted my morale to confidently enter class and make a difference in my teaching," said one of the participating junior lecturers.
Latin American fellows close Vi's 2010 fellowship round
Fairlie consulted with UNCTAD experts in biotrade, climate change, investment and negotiations, among others, as he conducted a survey of current trade topics to beef up his university's research agenda.
Torres looked into the performance of Colombia's manufacturing exports with the support of UNCTAD's Carlos Razo, of the Unit on Economic Cooperation and Integration among Developing Countries, and Aki Kuwahara, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities.
Three more LDC members benefit from Vi fellowships
"Tanzania has a considerable stock of natural resources," Magai said, "And although the government has engaged in liberalization efforts since 1990, and despite globalization, ordinary Tanzanians seem not to benefit from the boom."
Mentored by Rolf Traeger, of the UNCTAD Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes, and with the support of Michael Lim, of the Division on Technology and Logistics, Magai explored the factors that lead to sustainable development of the mining sector, with particular attention to gold mining.
Dial, with guidance from Milasoa Cherel-Robson, of UNCTAD's Special Unit on Commodities, examined the relationship between food exports and economic growth in Senegal using econometric tools on data collected between 1995 and 2008.
Birhanu, mentored by Christoph Spennemann, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, reviewed the legislative framework for the protection of plant varieties in Ethiopia within the context of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS).
National Latin American workshops focus on trade analysis
World Trade Organization's Nadia Rocha, and Marco Fugazza, of UNCTAD's Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities, conducted hands-on sessions on tools used to analyze and assess bilateral trade, covering major databases and introducing the software package, World Integrated Solutions (WITS). Participants also followed advanced training on the gravity model and a demonstration of applications using Data Analysis and Statistical Software (STATA).
"I am sure that after this course, research in the trade area will be improved at the graduate program of the Universidade Federal de Viçosa, and the State," said Vi member coordinator, Orlando da Silva.
The workshops were funded by the Government of Spain.
Environment and biodiversity themes of latest Vi study tour
In addition to UNCTAD presentations on biotrade, organic agriculture, investment in low-carbon economies, and intellectual property rights related to plant patentability, the programme also included interventions by experts from the non-governmental organization sector -- Oxfam International and the Union for Ethical Biotrade -- and from other international organizations -- World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization. The students also visited the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, the International Standardization Organization, the International Trade Centre, and took part in a guided tour of the WTO.
The group also benefited from an intervention by representatives from the Colombian Permanent Mission to the WTO, who gave an overview of the country's position in the ongoing Doha Round negotiations, including specific negotiations on trade and environment.
Russian students practice debating skills on the international trading system
Students from MGIMO and the Moscow State University took pro-globalization and anti-globalization stances on two main issues: the future of the World Trade Organization (WTO) – opportunities and challenges; and (b) the international financial system – expectations and realities.
"The debate session showed a high level of interest among our students in learning more about current issues in international economic relations. We are pleased to see that they are brave enough to address problems which even international organizations, such as the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank, have not been able to solve since many years," said Tatiana Isachenko, senior lecturer at MGIMO and former Vi coordinator at Russian core member, the State University Higher School of Economics.
Vi members launch UNCTAD flagship reports
On October 14, Universidad EAFIT in Medellín and Université de Yaoundé II presented this year's Information Economy Report, which focuses on the potential of business use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for reducing poverty and improving livelihoods.
The Colombian launch, also transmitted via webcast to other Colombian universities, was facilitated by Vi member coordinator, Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez, and EAFIT's Director of Teaching and Research, Félix Londoño González. In Cameroon, the presentation was led by Vi member coordinator, Henri Ngoa Tabi, as well as Yves André Abessolo, Director of the Master in Policy and Multilateral Trade Negotiations, and Modeste Assiga Ateba, Technical Advisor to the Prime Minister.
On November 25, Malick Sané, of Senegalese Vi member, Université Cheikh Anta Diop, presented the Least Developed Countries Report 2010, which calls for a new international development architecture for achieving accelerated development and poverty reduction in LDCs.
All members report great success with their national presentations, which attracted the attention of the countries' academics and media outlets.
End-of-year wraps up busy videoconference season
Nearly 300 participants from Colombian Vi affiliate universities, Universidad de la Sabana and Fundación Universitaria Politécnico Grancolombiano, joined Nicole Moussa, of UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, for a presentation of the latest World Investment Report (WIR) November 10. The presentation detailed the year's foreign direct investment (FDI) trends, as well as the growing importance of low-carbon projects in attracting FDI.
On December 3, 15 academics from the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) in Brazil joined UNCTAD for a presentation on the Trade and Development Report (TDR) 2010. Leading the discussion was Heiner Flassbeck, Director of UNCTAD’s Division on Globalization and Development Strategies (GDS), who, after giving an overview of the still-fragile economic recovery, signaled the threat of a global deflationary recession. GDS' Detlef Kotte, also took part in the discussion.
On December 16, four universities from Russia participated in a videoconference on the World Investment Report 2010 presented by Astrit Sulstarova and Kalman Kalotay, of UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise. Dmitry Lyakishev, of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation in Geneva also joined the discussion. Around 80 students and lecturers from Russian Vi members, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), St. Petersburg State University and St. Petersburg State University of Economics and Finance, as well as the North-West Academy of Public Administration, joined in the multi-site videoconference.
Finally, on December 22, around 100 students and professors from Vi's core member, the University of Jordan, participated in a videoconference on the Trade and Development Report 2010, where UNCTAD's Kotte shared the findings of UNCTAD's analysis with the audience in Amman.
Universities invite applications for post-graduate programmes
The first edition of the Universidad de Chile's Master Programme in International Strategy and Trade Policy will begin April 18. The six-trimester, part-time programme will be conducted in cooperation with the World Trade Organization and Vi universities in Germany and Canada. Delivered in Spanish, the programme seeks to strengthen the professional capacities of students, providing conceptual and practical tools that encourage understanding and analysis of the complexities of the processes of international economic negotiations. Applications will be accepted through February.
The University of Mauritius, in cooperation with the International Labour Organization, has launched an Executive Master of Science in Social Protection Financing degree for low-income African countries. The one-year degree programme is designed to equip social security managers and financial specialists to meet the challenges of financing national social protection programmes. Fellowships will be awarded to up to 30 applicants. The deadline for applications is April 30.
Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú will kick off the second edition of its Master's in Biotrade and Sustainable Development (MSc BDS) in March. The programme addresses professionals in the social sciences, natural sciences, and management, among others, who require transversal knowledge of sustainable development for application in their respective fields of work. Applications may be submitted until January 29.
The Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies has designed a new Executive Master in International Oil and Gas Leadership, which aims to provide management training for company executives and civil servants involved in the governance of the oil and gas sector. The nine-month programme will begin May 16. Applications must be submitted by April 1.
The World Trade Institute (Switzerland) offers a 25 percent discount for Vi members participating in the weekly modules of its Master of International Law and Economics (MILE), and its Summer Academy on International Trade and Investment Regulation.
The Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) combines a multidisciplinary perspective with a strong applied focus. The Summer Academy will cover current topics in international trade, from rule-making in investment to the relationship between domestic and foreign policies and the links between trade and climate change mitigation. MILE courses run throughout the year; the Academy is scheduled July 4 to August 5.
Vi members launch WTO Chairs
WTO Deputy Director-General, Harsha Vardhana Singh, officially launched the WTO Chairs Programme of Vi Kenyan core member, the University of Nairobi (UON), on July 19. UON's Chair holder is Jasper Okelo, of the School of Economics.
The Mexico launch was officiated by Alejandro Jara, WTO Deputy Director-General, on October 14. The Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México's (ITAM) WTO Chair is held by Vi member coordinator, Bradly Condon.
UON and ITAM are two of the nine Vi member universities chosen by the WTO to receive an endowment of CHF200,000 to fund academic chairs on the international trading system for four years.
SECO project involves three member universities
The four-year project will create regional knowledge hubs and competence centres in the field of international trade regulation at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and at Vi university members, the Foreign Trade University in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú in Lima.
The official launch of the activities took place on October 26 in Peru, and on November 17 in Vietnam.
Brazilian Review call for papers
Special delivery from Geneva
The semi-annual "care package" included the 2010 editions of flagship publications, Trade and Development Report, Information Economy Report, World Investment Report and Least Developed Countries Report. The pack also included Vi publications, Teaching Material on Trade and Poverty, Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America and Regional Integration in Latin America.
Scholarships/Becas available: Vi partners' online course for Latin America
Once again, 30 scholarships covering the EUR 1,600 course fee will be available, provided in cooperation with the Government of Spain, the Fundación Centro de Educación a Distancia para el Desarrollo Económico y Tecnológico (CEDDET), the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI) and Vi member, the University of Barcelona.
Designed from an interdisciplinary and policy-oriented perspective, the six-module training aims to provide academics and policymakers with a “must-have toolbox” of the basic elements of international economic law.Applications from Latin American members of the Virtual Institute, as well as policymakers from members' countries, are particularly encouraged. Deadline for applications is February 13.
| >_TEACHING RESOURCES |
Updated Vi teaching material on FDI newly published
The material, developed in cooperation with UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, is divided into four modules that cover: (1) the economic aspects of FDI; (2) policy aspects of FDI in developing countries; (3) key issues in International Investment Agreements; and (4) the interaction between investment and other areas, such as services, technology transfer, employment, etc.
Exercises and questions for discussion help the learners consolidate the substantive matter, and apply the knowledge gained to practical cases.
The material, funded by the Government of Japan, is available online to university members.
Four new multimedia resources now online
Based on short courses for Geneva-based diplomats, the two-part resource, Migration and development: Linkages, contributions and policy options, features UNCTAD experts, Robert Hamwey and Deepali Fernandes, of the Division on International Trade in Goods and Services and Commodities (DITC). In the first presentation, Hamwey discusses the motivations for migration before addressing services trade, migration trends, development linkages, and policy options. In the second presentation, Fernandes takes a deeper look at General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Mode 4, the movement of natural persons.
Trade agreements between developing and developed countries aims to explain the proliferation of regional and bilateral trade arrangements. In part one, Bonapas Onguglo, of UNCTAD's DITC, gives an overview of trade agreements, their pros and cons, and their place in the multilateral trade system. In part two, Taisuke Ito, also of DITC, takes a closer look at North-South trade agreements from the developing country point of view.
In the three-part Enhancing the competitiveness of landlocked and transit developing countries, Jan Hoffmann, of the UNCTAD Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL), explains the determinants of international transport costs and transport connectivity, and discusses the relationship between trade and transport facilitation and development. DTL's Vincent Valentine follows with the results of ongoing research into best practices that enhance land-locked developing countries' access to seaports in neighbouring transit countries. Finally, Maria Misovicova, also of DTL, presents collaborative approaches for public and private stakeholders in landlocked and transit developing countries.
The last two videos cover Combating Poverty and Inequality: Structural Change, Social Policy and Politics, the flagship publication of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. The report highlights that although poverty reduction remains one of the top priorities on the international development agenda, poverty and inequality persist because key institutional, political and social dimensions are left behind when dealing with the problem.
Vi publishes second capacity-building study - Focus on LDCs
Based on the premise that LDCs lack a critical mass of qualified experts to manage their countries' development agendas, the study looks at the potential of academic institutions to ease this constraint -- by providing education and training to current and future trade experts, undertaking research to inform policy-making, and engaging in policy advocacy.
Written by Francis Matambalya, former Vi coordinator at Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam, the study takes stock of capacity building needs and activities in African LDCs, surveying key actors and highlighting the characteristics of effective TRCB. The author also examines the specific case of the UNCTAD Virtual Institute and its contribution to strengthening academia’s ability to teach and research trade and development topics in these countries.
Spain-funded Vi joint project publication now available
The project, conducted in cooperation with UNCTAD's Division on Investment and Enterprise, involved eight researchers from five Vi member universities in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Spain and Uruguay. The publication encompasses five papers comparing the CSR agenda of two extractive industry companies engaged with their local communities; assessing national perceptions of CSR; analyzing the concept of social responsibility networks; exploring Permanent Peoples' Tribunals, which denounce human rights violations by transnational corporations; and examining the integration of CSR in international trade and investment agreements.
Vi Spanish project joint research published
The publication, resulting from a joint project funded by the Government of Spain, and conducted in cooperation with UNCTAD's Division on Globalization and Development Strategies, comprises six papers that examine the economic, political, and legal aspects of the regional integration process in Latin America.
The first paper analyzes the evolution of the regional integration agenda of Argentina in the past 10 years. The next, looks at the evolution of the Andean Community (CAN) in light of its members’ involvement in trade agreements with the North. The third deals with the linkages between regional integration and industrial policy in MERCOSUR, while the fourth focuses on alternative models of integration. The last two papers look at the legal aspects, and the financial dimension of regional integration respectively.
The papers were first presented at the Vi workshop held in Montevideo and Lima in December 2009 and subsequently reviewed in joint cooperation between the Vi and the member universities.
The publication is available for download from the Vi digital library.
UNCTAD Least Developed Countries (LDC) Report 2010
The topic of the report, Towards a New International Development Architecture for LDCs, argues that there is a need for more and new forms of ?nancial assistance to support domestic resource mobilization and the emergence of a pro?t-investment nexus in the LDCs involving the domestic private sector. Technology and commodities, which at present are neglected issues, should be among the core pillars of the new architecture for LDCs. Climate change adaptation and mitigation should also be made a new priority.
UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2010
"The contribution of ICTs to poverty reduction through enterprise lies in their power to give poor women and men access to improved information and better communications to help them build livelihood assets," argues the report.
UNCTADSTAT - http://unctadstat.unctad.org/
| WTO Statistics Database - http://stat.wto.org/|
The World Trade Organization has issued a package of new data, including the 2010 edition of its annual International Trade Statistics, updates of the World Tariff Profiles, Trade Profiles, and new pages allowing users to map trade data.
ITC Market Analysis Tools - http://www.intracen.org/marketanalysis/
| New Vi coordinator for Russian core member|
Tatiana Isachenko, Higher School of Economics' Vi member coordinator since 2007, has transferred the lead to her colleague, Olga Klochko.
Klochko, a professor in the Trade Policy Department of the Faculty of World Economics and Politics, teaches courses on management of foreign economic relations, trade policy and competitiveness, and trade policy and business interests. A holder of a PhD, she has published research on competitiveness of Russian companies and on tourism services.
We would like to thank Tatiana wholeheartedly for the excellent work that she has done over the years and that has greatly contributed to the successful participation of Russia in the Virtual Institute.
Previous issues are available online.
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| The UNCTAD Virtual Institute on Trade and Development is a capacity-building and knowledge-sharing programme designed to strengthen the capacities of academic institutions in developing countries and countries with economies in transition to teach and research trade issues.|
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