Graduating senior wins Fulbright

Posted on May 27th, 2005 by

Aaron Flohrs, a 2005 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, has won a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship.

Aaron Flohrs, a 2005 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, has won a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship.

Aaron Flohrs, a 2005 graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College from Ormsby, Minn., has won a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in Switzerland on the World Trade Organization (WTO). His fellowship, which is for one year starting in August 2005, was announced by the J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board in May.

Flohrs, an international management and political science double major at Gustavus who graduates summa cum laude on May 29, intends to examine whether bias toward the WTO’s most dominant and influential members exists in the organization’s dispute settlement mechanism. “The current round of trade talks within the WTO has been dubbed a ‘development’ round,” he says, “promising to focus on issues relevant to the economic development of the majority of the world’s nations. Yet even with this new WTO focus, there are many different aspects of economic development that represent challenges to these nations.”

Critics of the WTO’s current push toward development assert that the organization itself is biased in favor of economically developed nations, he notes, “not in terms of votes within the system but in access to resources, negotiating power, and specifically in the deliberations of the WTO’s dispute settlement body.”

Can the WTO shift its focus toward economic development when its dealings continue to be dominated by its most influential members? Is there a bias toward developed nations in terms of dispute settlement that renders developing nations’ proposals ineffective at the highest levels of trade negotiations? Flohrs’ research proposal is aimed at answering these questions and determining what methods might be available for developing nations to increase their influence and bargaining power within the WTO’s dispute settlement body.

Flohrs’ research topic had its genesis in a study-abroad program he undertook in Geneva, Switzerland, during the spring of his junior year. “The Fulbright is a perfect way to gain experience in an area I really want to explore,” he says. He plans to attend law school following his Fulbright year and eventually work in international trade, whether with the WTO or the U.S. government.

Flohrs is a 2001 graduate of Martin Luther High School in Northrop, and the son of Steven and Connie Flohrs of rural Ormsby, Minn.

The Fulbright program is the flagship international educational program sponsored by the U.S. government. It was established by Congress in 1946 to “increase mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries.” The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board supervises the program and selects students, scholars, teachers, and trainees to participate in several educational exchange programs.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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