İstanbul BİLGİ University is one of the 21 academic institutions with which the World Trade Organization has entered into cooperation for the purpose of providing technical assistance and training for achieving one of the most crucial objectives of the WTO, that is building the trade capacities of developing countries. Since 2010, WTO organizes “Regional Trade Policy Courses” in İstanbul in cooperation with İstanbul BİLGİ University Faculty of Law and the Turkish Ministry of Economy for government officials and specialists from Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus Countries. The sixth edition of these Courses was held in summer 2015. As a rather important geopolitical result of this longstanding cooperation between Istanbul BILGI University and the WTO for both Turkey and the region where Turkey is situated, Istanbul BİLGİ University has been selected as one of the seven WTO Chairs for the Phase 2 of the WTO Chairs Programme in 2014.
WTO Chairs Programme (WCP) is one of the WTO's flagship products that also provides some financial support to beneficiary institutions for a period of four years. It facilitates continuous interaction between these institutions and other think-tanks and academic institutions across the world. The WTO wants to promote research on WTO-related issues among young scholars, and to reinforce the relationship between the WTO and the academic community both at the national and regional level. Through Istanbul BILGI University’s analytical input into the formulation and implementation of trade policy, the Chair will contribute to enhancing the participation of Turkey into the international trading environment. Turkey already plays a significant role in world trade and the evolving global governance regime and the support that Istanbul BILGI University can provide in this regard through academic work and research is certainly remarkable.
The WTO Chair at Istanbul BILGI University is one of the seven WTO Chairs awarded in 2014, through a tough and highly competitive selection process, involving some 77 academic institutions. The WTO Secretariat was assisted in the selection by an external Advisory Body, comprising 20 academics, who act as advisors to the Chairs Programme. Istanbul BILGI University thus joins an already existing network of WTO Chairs, established in Phase I which was first launched in 2010. It now includes a total of 21 Chairs around the globe. The establishment of the WTO Chair at Istanbul BILGI University as recognizing the commitment of the academic community in Turkey, which has played a vital role in educating, training and analysing matters related to trade policy and international trade, not only at the national level, but also at the regional and international level. Istanbul BILGI University is one of the largest universities in Turkey with a strong focus on research, training and education, including full-time and distance learning programmes. It has numerous research centres and institutes and a very large number of researchers.
The WTO Chair Holder position that will be held by Asst. Prof. Pınar Artıran from İstanbul BİLGİ University Faculty of Law, aims at supporting and promoting trade-related academic activities by universities and research institutions in developing and least-developed countries. The project of İstanbul BİLGİ University Faculty of Law that was awarded the WTO Chair entails establishing an operational Research Centre on International Trade Law and Arbitration from 2015 onwards. The establishment of the Research Center was approved by Turkish Council of High Education and the approval decision was published at the Turkish Official Gazette on 28th of September 2015.
Award of the Chair title, is a proof of İstanbul BILGI University’s international success and its competence in international trade law. Through projected activities of our research centre, BİLGİ is planning to help shaping an efficient and sustainable international trade policy on matters related to international trade law, arbitration and WTO in Turkey and in its immediate region in broader sense. In this context, it shall collaborate with other academic and research institutions, chambers of commerce, consultancy firms which are active in the area of the international trade and thus are stakeholders. WTO Chair title is a very important and precious achievement not only for İstanbul BILGI University but also for Turkey with the leading position that it assumes in its region.
The new Research Centre on International Trade Law and Arbitration will organize training programs within and outside the university, and trade and arbitration related research will be undertaken. By signing bilateral exchange and cooperation agreements with the other six WTO Chair Holder universities of the second phase, the international exchange of information will be encouraged. This project will thus further strengthen Turkey’s leading position in its region.
WTO Chairs Programme at İstanbul Bilgi University was officially launched and the Chair title was awarded by theWTO Deputy Director-General Xiazhoun YI on behalf of the WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo on 12th February 2015.