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Motto: " It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations".
--- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Main focus of the Department of Economics and Development is not only to conduct research in the fields of agriculture and household economics or institutional strengthening in tropical areas and developing regions, but also to educate in this respect high-skilled professionals who would be able to compete at the globalized labour market.
The structure of the courses taught at our department primarily focuses on the ability of students to better understand the details of foreign trade, marketing tropical products, agrarian policy and project activities in countries that are currently classified as developing ones, but which are de facto the main driving force of the world economy today. Our graduates would effectively contribute to the Czech Republic desire to actively support the development process in poor regions as well as to benefit more from positive effects that globalization process brings. On the other hand, department focuses on leading their students to understand also negative sides of globalized economy on the environment, migration, expansion of poverty and often problematic and unequal access to basic needs or rights of individuals of the contemporary world.
Research objectives are largely consistent with the pedagogical aims. Department is currently involved in six major research streams dealing with international trade and institutions, economy and standard of living farming households, access to finance and operation of micro- markets, information systems for the development of value chains, marketing tropical products and last but not least, economic and technological aspects of food security.
Typical examples of the research outcomes are studies aimed at monitoring social demand in European countries for alternative products that are imported from tropical countries, the attitudes and opinions of the population with new trends such as microfinance or fair redistribution within the value chains (so-called Fair Trade) etc. Also they refer to the institutional and economic issues of introduction of new farming systems and technologies or the protection of biological and cultural diversity as well as traditional knowledge in remote and underdeveloped regions.
The Department is committed to fulfilling of Millennium Development Goals of the UN, to advocating the principles of fair trade (see the above Fair Trade) and to protect the cultural and natural heritage of the planet. In the Czech Republic are the closest partner organizations, faculty and department of Life Sciences in Prague , research institutes , especially the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information (IAEI), and NGOs such as People in Need, ADRA etc.
The department has a total of seven academic staff (1 associated professor and 6 professor assistants) and 27 PhD students.