4 Mar 2014

Former WTI research fellow honoured for doctoral thesis

Marina Foltea, a former MILE student who went on to do her PhD under Professor Thomas Cottier, recently won a Swiss academic prize for her doctoral thesis. In this interview, the former trade lawyer with the government of Moldova talks about her research at WTI, the book she has published and her current role.

Tell us about your doctoral thesis and the prize you have just won for it.
My thesis on “International Organisations in the WTO Dispute Settlement: how much institutional sensitivity?” culminated in a book published by Cambridge University Press in 2012. The book analyses the role of international organisations in WTO dispute settlement arising from a number of WTO disputes. In particular, the roles of the IMF, WIPO, the WCO and WHO are addressed.

Following the publication of my book, I received an invitation from Walther Hug Foundation in St. Gallen to submit my book for review and compete for the Walther Hug Prize. The prize was inaugurated by Prof. Walther Hug, a Swiss professor who dedicated his life to the advancement of legal studies. Following the review by a selection committee composed of renowned professors of law in Switzerland, I was awarded the prize for the best legal dissertation accepted by the Swiss universities in 2010-2011.

When and for how long were you at WTI?
I started at WTI in 2004 where I enrolled as a MILE student. While on the way back to my home country, I learned about a vacancy in a Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO/WTI project relating to non-tariff barriers in South Eastern Europe. Following my selection, I returned to Bern to work as an expert on this project. In 2007, I was awarded a long awaited grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation for research on my doctoral thesis under the supervision of Prof. Thomas Cottier, to whom I am enormously indebted.

My research at WTI mainly focused on the role of international organisations in the WTO dispute settlement but I also conducted research in the field of intellectual property rights under NCCR Trade Regulation.

Do you maintain close links with WTI?
Yes. While many PhD students have completed their dissertations and have left Bern to pursue their careers, I fortunately still have a good number of contacts at WTI and NCCR Trade.

Where are you working now and what is your role?
I am working in a multinational company in Geneva, as International Trade Manager. Eastern Europe is one of the regions I deal with the most.

What are your career ambitions?
I have been in my current role for just two years. The future is full of surprises, but I would be happy to continue working in my current role and apply my international trade knowledge to real world practical situations.