About us

Meet our team:

Pablo Das

Pablo Das is the World Trade Institute’s current Head of Communications. Pablo holds a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and Literature in English with a Minor in Political Science from the University of Bern, Switzerland and a Master’s degree in the same fields of study. His main interests lie in language change as result of globalisation as well as in international politics and diplomacy. During his Undergraduate studies, Pablo did an exchange term at University College London where he was an active member of several student societies, e.g. UCL Japan Society and UCL International Relations Society. From July until December 2019, Pablo interned in the diplomatic section of the Swiss Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam. Pablo is a Certified Project Management Associate (IPMA Level D) and is currently also a Fellow of Asia Society Switzerland’s Generation Asia 2021 Programme.

Manfred Elsig

Manfred Elsig is full professor of International Relations and Deputy Managing Director of the World Trade Institute, University of Bern. He holds a PhD from the University of Zurich in political science. He is co-editor of World Trade Review, an interdisciplinary journal of Cambridge University Press. He has been teaching in different teaching programmes in Vietnam, Chile, Peru and has been engaged in numerous technical assistance programs on trade and investment. He is currently also a Research Professor at the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies at the National University of Malaysia.

Roberto Echandi

Roberto Echandi was a Trade and Investment Negotiator for the Costa Rican Government from 1998 to 2010 and served as Special Adjunct Ambassador for U.S. Trade Affairs between 2003-2005 and Chief Negotiator and Ambassador of Costa Rica to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg 2007-2010. He is currently Lead Trade Specialist at the Trade and Regional Integration Unit of the World Bank in Washington D.C. He is member of the Advisory Board and non-resident Fellow of the World Trade Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and Editor of the Journal of World Investment and Trade. During 1997-1998, he was Legal Affairs Officer at the Appellate Body Secretariat. He has been lecturer and visiting professor at Georgetown University, the Academy of International Economic Law and Policy (AIELPO), the Universities of Barcelona, Bern, National University of Malaysia and the Central American Institute for Business Administration (INCAE). He studied law at the University of Costa Rica (Lic), the University of Michigan (LLM), University of Oxford (M.Phil) and the University of Bern, Switzerland (Ph.D).

Kholofelo Kugler

Kholofelo Kugler is Counsel at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law in Geneva, Switzerland where she litigates and provides legal advice and training on WTO law. She is also a visiting Research Fellow at the law school of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa. She previously worked at WTI Advisors in Geneva and was a Research Assistant for Prof. Markus Krajewski at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. Kholofelo started her legal career in private commercial practice in Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Politics (UNISA), an LLB degree, cum laude (Wits), and a master’s degree in International Law and Economics, summa cum laude (University of Bern). Kholofelo was called to the bar in her native South Africa in August 2013.

Peter Van den Bossche

Peter Van den Bossche was a Member of the Appellate Body of the WTO from 2009 to 2019 and served as its Chair in 2015. He is currently Director of Studies and Professor of International Economic Law at World Trade Institute of the University of Bern, Switzerland. He is a visiting professor at the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium; Maastricht University, the Netherlands; the LUISS Guido Carli University, Rome; and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador. He is President of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL) and Editor of the World Trade Review. From 1997 to 2001, he was Counsellor at the Appellate Body Secretariat, and in 2001 served as Acting Director of the Secretariat. In the early 1990s, he worked as référendaire at the European Court of Justice. He studied law at the University of Antwerp (Lic. jur.), the University of Michigan (LLM) and the European University Institute, Florence (PhD).

Werner Zdouc

Werner Zdouc was Director of the WTO Appellate Body Secretariat from 2006 to 2020. He is currently Director of the Knowlegde and Information Management, Academic Outreach and WTO Chairs Programme Division of the WTO. He obtained a law degree from the University of Graz in Austria and then went on to earn an LLM from the University of Michigan and a PhD from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland. Dr Zdouc joined the WTO Legal Affairs Division in 1995 and the Appellate Body Secretariat in 2001. In 2008 to 2009, he chaired the WTO Joint Advisory Committee to the Director-General. He has been a lecturer and visiting professor at Vienna Economic University, the Universities of St Gallen, Zurich, Barcelona, Seoul, and Shanghai and the Geneva Graduate Institute. From 1987 to 1989, he worked for governmental and non-governmental development aid organisations in Austria and Latin America.

Margrit Vetter

In January 2002, Margrit Vetter was appointed to the position of Director of Administration as well as of Programme Administrator to the Advanced Master Programmes of the WTI. From September 2005 to 2017, she was additionally responsible for oversight of the administrative function in the WTI’s National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR). She is a native of Bern and has lived in the USA. After obtaining formal qualifications as an executive assistant, she worked as marketing and sales assistant for an international company. For many years she also taught information technology and German correspondence at the Commercial School (WKS) in Bern.

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