WTO Chairs Programme

The WTO Chairs Programme aims to support and promote trade-related academic activities by universities and research institutions in developing and least-developed countries. Fourteen institutions were selected as WTO Chairs for a four-year term in 2009. An additional seven institutions were selected for Phase 2 of the Programme in 2014. Another 17 institutions joined the Programme in 2021 following a call for applications. This further diversifies the Programme's representation across the globe, with the network now comprising 35 universities. A new call for applications for the next phase of the programme was launched in October 2023. Applications may be received until 31 May 2024.

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The WTO Chairs Programme was launched in 2010. It aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the trading system among academics and policy makers in developing countries through curriculum development, research and outreach activities by universities and research institutions.

Academic institutions awarded WTO Chairs receive support in the areas of curriculum development, research and outreach activities. The Chair Holders are appointed through a competitive selection process involving multiple divisions of the Secretariat as well as the Academic Advisory Board.

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Objectives of the Programme 

The main objectives of the Programme are to:

  • provide teaching support for the development and delivery of courses on trade policy and WTO-related matters in academic institutions
  • foster further research in trade-related matters and highlight the policy relevance of existing research — universities awarded a WTO Chair are expected to cooperate their counterparts in the Programme through joint research, shared lecturing arrangements and student/academic exchanges
  • encourage outreach/communication — universities awarded a WTO Chair are expected to organize public activities aimed at disseminating research and promoting discussion regarding international trade and trade co-operation.
  • build lasting relationships with institutions from developing countries by according financial support to beneficiary institutions for a maximum period of four years


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Academic Advisory Board 

The Programme is advised by an Academic Advisory Board, an external body composed of experienced scholars whose role is to ensure the academic quality of outputs generated by Chair holders. 

Current Advisory Board members

Events, workshops and training

  • 24-26 June 2024
    WTO Chairs Programme Annual Conference




WTO Chairs Programme




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