Educators play a key role in shaping the next generation of leaders. How trade is taught in the classroom will directly influence the way students think and understand trade and what it means to trade sustainably. Therefore, the Hinrich Foundation in partnership with the IMD World Competitiveness Center curated a forum specially for educators to show how the STI may supplement their academic materials and lead students in discussions on the economic, social, legal, historic, and geopolitical dynamics driving global trade.
Christos Cabolis, Chief Economist, IMD World Competitiveness Center presented an overview of the index, its three pillars – Economic, Societal, and Environmental – and how the 30 economies measured were chosen. He shared that the interactive file that is freely available for download is excellent for stimulating discussions as the data reveals the complex nuances in international trade. Classroom discussions can also be led thematically and the STI is a powerful tool to guide discussions. The STI is kept current by ensuring indicators reflect the realities of the world today, and the Tariff and Non-tariff barrier indicator is an example of the need to account for geopolitical risks.
Stephen Olson, Senior Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation shared interesting insights on countries that over and underperformed. An example was the United States which is a noteworthy underperformer largely due to the number of tariff and non-tariff barriers it has in place. Contrastingly, the Philippines did exceedingly well under the environmental pillar due to its high environmental standards and implementation of international agreements. Stephen also shared a classroom exercise that he had developed which could be conducted both virtually and in-person. The highly engaging exercise require students to take on the role of consultants analyzing different countries and identifying the challenges, opportunities, and recommendations based on the STI. This gives students an opportunity to transition into the professional world, exploring complexities and trade-offs.
The session was moderated by Chuin Wei Yap, Program Director, International Trade Research, Hinrich Foundation. He shared that the index, on a very broad scale, tells us that for economies to succeed, they need to have policies in place that supports social mobility, respect international agreements, and prioritize societal development. The session concluded with Chuin Wei reiterating that trade is a manifestation of trust, and importantly, trust in the world.
The Trade Educators Centre is an open and accessible resource curated by The Hinrich Foundation to support all educators teaching trade courses and researching trade issues.
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