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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Illicit Trade

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Money laundering. Terrorist financing. Drug trafficking. Arms smuggling. Illicit trafficking of wildlife, human body parts, and ancient historical artifacts. Tax havens. Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Oil bunkering. Human smuggling and the modern-day slave trade. Conflict minerals and blood diamonds. These are not just abstract terms, but billion-dollar globalized industries that are part of the world’s globally interconnected economy and which overlap with and exacerbate terrorism, wars and conflicts, corruption, authoritarianism, the decline of the natural environment and other contemporary security threats.

With these considerations in mind, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the University of Groningen (UG) organize the third edition of the Summer School on Illicit Trade, which will be delivered online, from 4 to 8 July 2022.

The Summer School pierces the veil of secrecy around issues related to the dark side of globalization and teaches participants about illicit financing and trading. This exciting course, being offered on a twice-yearly basis for a number of years  now, is the first of its kind in teaching illicit trade in a holistic and practically useful way. Participants will learn how criminals set up offshore companies and bank accounts; how they obscure the beneficial ownership of assets; how they exploit the loop-holes of dual-use goods legal systems, and identify vulnerabilities in particular institutions, countries, and jurisdictions. Also, participants will learn how to investigate these criminal enterprises and networks using open source intelligence techniques. The Summer School includes academic and practical learning about illicit finance, trafficking, and trade, and expert examination into strategies and practices about how to combat illicit trade.

More specifically, the course curriculum will include the following topics:

  • Illicit trade: relevant definitions, types and actors involved
  • The global governance of illicit trade
  • Features and consequences of illicit trade
  • Illicit trade in illegal goods, with case examples of trafficking in humans, narcotics, and endangered wildlife
  • Export control and dual-use goods
  • Terrorist financing, illicit finance, offshore finance, and money laundering
  • Ethical, political, legal and practical challenges in dealing with illicit trade
  • The role of the Darknet and the Internet
  • Open source intelligence techniques (OSINT): from the surface to the deep and dark web
  • Techniques of investigation and network analysis of illicit trade

The Summer School offers professional, legal, social, scientific and academic perspectives through live webinars, group discussions, dynamic case studies, individual readings, and practical exercises. The faculty is composed of leading scholars and academics from the University of Groningen and other universities, as well as international legal experts from the United Nations system, international and non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

Through a dedicated online platform, participants will have the opportunity to interact with internationally recognized experts and peers from all over the world, so as to build lasting professional relationships. This experience fosters intercultural dialogue and promotes a deeper understanding of the most salient issues faced by the international community related to illicit trade.

Practical information

Dates 4 - 8 July 2022
Location Online
(including digital course materials)

€ 600


All (Final Year BA/MA/PhD/Postdoc/Practitioners)

Academic coordinators Dr. Francesco Giumelli
Dr. Tim Wittig
Dr. Pim Geelhoed

illicittrade - Please indicate “Illicit Trade Summer School” in the subject of the email
Tel: +31 50 363 3666


The Summer School is designed for students in their final year in the undergraduate studies, masters students, PhD students in Law, Political Science, International Relations, Economics, Social Science and other relevant disciplines, who are interested in learning more about illicit trade. It is also addressed to professionals working in governmental institutions, local authorities, international and non-governmental organizations seeking to deepen their understanding of current illicit trade issues.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language that allows them to participate actively in the discussions and present their own work.

Learning outcomes & workload
Certificate of participation

Upon attendance of all live webinars and completion of the course activities and assignments, participants will receive a United Nations and University of Groningen certificate of participation.

ECTS equivalence

Upon successful completion of the programme, participants can apply for recognition of 3 ECTS to the relevant authorities in their home institutions, therefore the final decision on awarding credits is at the discretion of their home institutions. Participants who wish to fulfil the equivalent work of 5 ECTS will need to deliver a written assignment to the University of Groningen within one month after the end of the Summer School. More detailed information can be requested at illicittrade

Course methodology

This course is delivered online. It combines live webinars in our virtual classroom, led by subject matter experts, with self-paced activities and interactive group discussions. The live webinars are from 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm CET time (9:00 am – 1:00 pm EST), from Monday to Thursday. This is to facilitate participants from different time-zones to plan their workload to a time that is most suitable, and interact with other participants to complete the assignments.

The live webinars are conducted on a dedicated online platform. Please use a Gmail account whenever possible, or alternatively please use a mail account that is compatible with Google online platforms.

Participants need a computer (recommended) or a mobile device with microphone, audio and video capabilities, as well as a reliable internet connection. We recommend accessing audio through the computer. No special software is required. Upon acceptance to the course, participants will be provided with the information to access the platform.

Satellite options

For those students in the Groningen (the Netherlands) area, the Illicit Trade Group will offer the option to follow the online lectures together in a classroom at the University of Groningen.

Application procedure

Applications are going to be evaluated on a rolling basis until the 30 available spots are filled. Therefore we advise you to apply as soon as possible.

  • Deadline for application: please complete the application form by 19 June 2022 at the latest.
  • Confirmation of acceptance: the results of the selection process will be communicated via email, within 5 working days following receipt of the application, and no later than the 21 June 2022.
  • Payment deadline: Payment deadline: full payment has to be finalized within 1 week following confirmation of acceptance, and no later than 24 June 2022. Contact for the payment will go via the Office of the University of Groningen. For any questions on payments and for proof of payment, please email
Cancellation and refunds

As per our general policy, in the case of cancellation of your participation, registration fees will not be refunded for any reason.

Given the current exceptional circumstances, however, full refund of the registration fees will be guaranteed should the cancellation be linked to the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. health problems of the participant or spouse/registered partner/children or parents). Evidence of such ground should be provided when requesting the refund.

Last modified:22 June 2022 11.43 a.m.