News from the SECO / WTI Academic Cooperation Project
The Foreign Trade University (FTU) today held the opening ceremony of its new Master’s programme on International Trade Policy and Law (MITPL) in the framework of a four year academic cooperation project entitled, “Regional Competence Centers for Trade Law and Policy in Africa, Peru and Vietnam,” funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
In implementing the project, FTU is partnering with the World Trade Institute (WTI), at the University of Bern. The WTI is one of the world’s leading institutions of advanced learning in the field of trade regulation. Trade law education in Vietnam as well as current and future generations of students, researchers and policy makers will benefit from the MITPL programme.
The MITPL is the product of two years of collaborative work between faculty members at FTU and the WTI. The new degree program offers its students 18 months of multi-disciplinary focus on international economic governance. Taught exclusively in English on the basis of a rigorous admissions process, the MITPL is designed for students and young professionals who wish to deepen their knowledge of international trade regulation and engage in exciting careers in global economic governance. The programme is taught by a global team of distinguished faculty members, experienced professionals and leading legal and economic experts.
Ms. Brigitte Bruhin, Deputy Country Director at the Swiss Cooperation Office, representing SECO in Vietnam; Pierre Sauvé, Director of External Programmes and Academic Partnerships at the WTI, with lead management responsibility for the SECO Project; Prof. Dr. Hoang Van Chau, President of FTU; as well as representatives of government agencies, research institutes, enterprises, MITPL, FTU lecturers as well as 30 students from the programme’s first class attended the inauguration ceremony.
At the ceremony in Hanoi today, FTU President Prof. Dr. Hoang Van Chau said, “The Foreign Trade University is proud to be implementing a new Masters’ programme in International Trade Policy and Law within the framework of the ongoing academic cooperation project funded by SECO and implemented by the WTI. With the active support and cooperation from the WTI, FTU strongly believes that MITPL will equip its graduates with the skills and knowledge necessary to handle a variety of complex law, international policy, economics and political economy issues in a global context”. He highlighted the benefit and deeper meaning of this programme. “We look at this programme and the academic cooperation made available thanks to generosity of the Swiss Government as a strategic and highly relevant response to the needs and constraints of Vietnam, and I believe that the project’s objectives will be achieved with a strong commitment of the partners and their leadership”.
Pierre Sauvé, the project’s lead manager at the WTI, recalled some of the key forces motivating the academic cooperation project, noting that “trade regulation and trade policy have assumed heightened importance for the economic development of all economies – large or small, developed or developing. However, the lack of general and specialized technical knowledge hinders informed decision-making by key stakeholders in trade policy formulation in Vietnam. With MITPL, students and young professionals will deepen their knowledge of the law, economics and political economy of trade and investment policy, issues at the very heart of global governance that are central to Vietnam’s continued insertion into world commerce.” He went on to add that, “Building on FTU’s more than fifty years of research and education in the area of trade-related issues, the WTI and through it the Swiss Government, have every confidence that FTU is uniquely placed to train and influence future generations of trade stakeholders in Vietnam and beyond and become a leading center of trade policy research in ASEAN.”
Ms. Brigitte Bruhin, the Deputy Country Director at the Swiss Cooperation Office, representing SECO in Vietnam, congratulated the FTU and WTI for the establishment of this innovative new degree programme in Vietnam and called for their continued successful cooperation. She expressed the Swiss government’s strong engagement in the fields of trade policy and sustainable development, globally and here in Vietnam. “Well educated trade law and policy experts, future researchers and policy makers are crucial for Vietnam to optimally benefit from the global trading system and to pursue its negotiating and developmental interests. The academic knowledge gained by students in the MITPL program should also be optimally linked with the real economy needs and challenges faced by Vietnamese decision-makers.” She further expressed the hope that “Vietnam’s prosperity and socio-economic development can further benefit from the ongoing regional and international economic integration and this university programme can substantially contribute through its highly qualified people. Switzerland is and remains fully committed to further support Vietnam and its people on its successful development path towards inclusive and sustainable growth. This should result in higher economic well-being and an increased quality of life.” Under the new Vietnam Country Strategy 2013 – 2016, Ms. Bruhin recalled that SECO will continue to work in a broad range of economic fields and contribute to support related economic reforms and to further enable the Vietnamese business environment.