This week, Geneva Program participants were joined by student counterparts from across the globe, including practitioners seeking further education on issues addressed in the summer course. Together, these groups have begun each morning with a three-hour lecture, followed by afternoon workshops and site visits.
Monday opened with Dr. Manfred Elsig’s lecture “The Politics of the World Trade Organization.” After reviewing International Relations (IR) theories—e.g. Realist, Constructivist, Functionalist—that illuminate varied perspectives on role(s) of international organizations, including the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Elsig raised the question of how to analyze the WTO’s role beyond grand theories—a question made salient by current challenges to the multilateral trading system.
In the afternoon, students visited the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which, through services including granting simultaneous patent protection in multiple countries, distinguishes itself as the only income-generating branch of the United Nations. WIPO representatives briefed us on the WTO-WIPO relationship and reviewed WIPO’s role(s) in sharing information and setting standards for intellectual property (IP) regimes.
Following a brisk walk through the rain back to campus, students were hosted to an “indoor picnic” dinner by the Graduate Institute–replete with live music, delicious grilled foods, and great company!
Tuesday morning featured Dr. Richard Baldwin’s lecture “Political economy of trade liberalization: unilateral, regional and multilateral.” He introduced a framework to help students organize their thinking about trade liberalization since the 1940s. He focused in particular on the political economy of tariffs, the economic effects of which must be understood to translate into policy choices.