WITA Academy

Fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive trade community

The mission of the WITA Academy™ is to make trade education and career opportunities in international trade accessible to communities in the United States and around the world, and to make the trade community itself more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The WITA Academy works with trade leaders in businesses, law, academia, NGOs, embassies and the U.S. Government to help stakeholders, students, and others to better understand and navigate the U.S. and global trade policy apparatus.

The WITA Academy™ is a program of the Washington International Trade Foundation. Through the work of the WITA Academy, the Foundation will expand what the term “inclusive” means to WITA and the trade community at large. Having diverse points of view on trade means one thing but having a diverse and inclusive trade community means another.

Pillars of the WITA Academy

Pathways to Opportunity

The WITA Academy seeks to expand diversity, equity and inclusion in international trade by educating students and others about careers in international trade.

The WITA Academy, through our vast network of trade professionals in the United States and around the world, will highlight different pathways to a future job in international trade. Working directly with universities and local communities, the WITA Academy will help empower individuals to overcome obstacles that might otherwise keep them from accessing career opportunities in international trade. 

The work of the WITA Academy will foster a sustainable pipeline for the international trade community to bring the best and brightest, next generation workforce into the trade policy community – diversifying its network of professionals with new talent that may not have previously sought careers in international trade. 

Trade Education, Capacity Building & Workforce Development

For more than a decade, WITA’s Intensive Trade Seminar (ITS) has educated government officials, the private sector and the public to better navigate the Washington and international trade policy landscape.

Building on this successful model, the WITA Academy will expand the ITS around the world. These International Intensive Trade Seminars will build capacity in trade policy for government officials, the private sector and the public to better navigate the Washington and international trade policy landscape.

The curriculum for the International ITS can be tailored to address the needs and priorities of individuals, governments, and firms from around the world. In the U.S., the Intensive Trade Seminar series will expand to Capitol Hill to better educate the Congressional staff on current trade issues. We can also bring the ITS to communities across the United States to help foster increased participation in international trade.

Initiatives of the WITA Academy

Pathways to Opportunity: The WITA Academy’s Pathways to Opportunity™ program will increase diversity and inclusion in the trade community by partnering with universities to educate students on jobs and career opportunities in international trade.

Beginning in the Fall of 2022, WITA Academy will partner with colleges and universities to host a pilot program for students interested in a career in international trade. When fully funded, the Academy hopes to expand the Pathways to Opportunity program to underrepresented communities around the United States. In the future, Pathways to Opportunity can undertake sector-specific sessions to highlight trade-related career opportunities in fields such as agriculture, technology, textiles and apparel, and international finance, among other sectors.

Intensive Trade Seminar (ITS): Since 2008, WITA has hosted its signature Intensive Trade Seminar™ in conjunction with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

The four-part Intensive Trade Seminar (ITS) teaches how trade policy is made in Washington, DC. Participants typically include those in business, law, academia, NGOs, embassies and the U.S. Government. The ITS curriculum helps attendees broaden their understanding of trade policy making. The ITS is geared toward individuals seeking a career in trade policy; to people new to the field of trade policy, and those in the business of international trade.

WITA’s International Intensive Trade Seminars: Building off WITA’s successful Intensive Trade Seminar model, the WITA Academy will create bespoke International Intensive Trade Seminars in partnership with Embassies and Ministries around the world.  These sessions can provide short and intensive training sessions on increasingly complex international trade, tax and investment rules and negotiations. 

The International ITS can be conducted virtually or in-person, drawing on WITA’s vast global network of trade professionals to teach the sessions.

Trade on the Hill: In partnership with Young Trade Professionals™, the WITA Academy will relaunch its “Trade on the Hill” series. These briefings for Congressional staff provide updates on trade issues facing their constituencies and the country. Sessions will feature experts who can teach Congressional staff about issues such as Trade Promotion Authority, Tariff Policy, Trade Law, Free Trade Agreements & Negotiations, etc.

WITA Internship Program: Over the past 10 years, WITA has hosted over 300 students and recent grads as part of the WITA Internship Program. WITA interns learn about the global trade community, the Washington political environment, and the substance of international trade. They also learn valuable office skills, and about event management, professional networking, and careers in international trade.  With support, the Academy will be able to make this Washington experience more accessible to applicants from diverse backgrounds.

WITA Fellowship: The Foundation will fund a one-year paid Fellowship within WITA to build skills and develop management experience. The WITA Fellow will help guide and lead the work of WITA interns, with the guidance of the WITA leadership.  Fellows will also have the opportunity to serve in a leadership role with WITA’s Young Trade Professionals affiliate.

About WITA and WITF

The Washington International Trade Association (WITA) is a 501c6 Membership Association (EIN# is 52-1462468). WITA is proud to have the support of its corporate sponsors and WITA’s sister organization, the Washington International Trade Foundation (WITF), a 501c3 Educational Organization dedicated to supporting WITA’s mission of educating the trade community and the general public on trade and related issues. WITF is a separate entity with its own EIN # 52-1907420.

Combo Sponsorship Packages can be tailored to include support for the WITA Academy along with sponsorships of the WITA/WITF Annual Dinner and Washington International Trade Conference.

For more information about Funding the WITA Academy, please contact Diego Añez at danez@wita.org