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. 

The Chairs Programme is currently seeking applications for the third phase of the programme. Academic institutions from developing and least-developed countries, recently acceded WTO members and acceding governments are invited to submit their applications by 15 February 2021. The application form is available here.

back to top



back to top


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 selected through a competitive process. Fourteen institutions were originally selected as WTO Chairs for a four-year term in 2009. Seven institutions were added to the Programme in May 2014 following a call for tenders.

> Current list of chairs


back to top

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


back to top

Advisory Board 

The Programme is advised by an 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

WTO events


> 1-2 July 2019
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 4 October 2018
WTO Public Forum


> 6-7 December 2017
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 14-16 November 2016
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 2-3 November 2015
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 11-12 February 2014
Chairs Programme Conference: "The Way Forward for a Successful Partnership"


> 11-12 July 2013
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 26 June 2012
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 21 June 2011
WTO Chairs Annual Conference


> 25-26 May 2010
(Inaugural Conference of the WCP)