GENEVA (International trade Council) - The WTO Chairs Programme officially issued a call for applications on October 4th to expand the network of academic institutions from developing and least-developed economies currently involved in the Programme. This initiative follows the announcement made by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of the WTO, last year, indicating a more frequent admission of institutions into the Programme. The focus regions for this call are Middle Africa, Western Africa, Western Asia, Oceania, and Central America and the Caribbean, areas currently underrepresented within the Chairs Programme. Subsequent calls for applications will also be directed towards specific world sub-regions, depending on the level of representation achieved following each expansion.
The WTO Chairs Programme, established in 2010 as a capacity-building initiative, operates through partnership agreements formed between the WTO and selected academic institutions. The Programme's primary objective is to bolster trade-related academic activities at universities and research institutions situated in developing and least-developed countries. Over a four-year period, the WTO extends financial, scientific, and technical support to its partner institutions, facilitating research, curriculum development, and outreach efforts. After successfully completing this cycle, institutions continue to be part of the global network of WTO Chairs, currently comprising 35 institutions across the globe.
The selection process for Chairs participating in the Programme will be conducted through a competitive evaluation overseen by the WTO Secretariat, with the valuable assistance of the Chairs Programme Academic Advisory Board. This external body consists of multidisciplinary international trade experts, ensuring an impartial and rigorous selection process.