Michigan Law 3L student Javier Piñeiro represents U-M at Global Policy Summit

From Michigan Law

With his sights set firmly on a career in international economic development and tax policy, 3L Javier Piñeiro had the rare opportunity to travel to Italy as part of the U7+ delegation to the NEXT Milan Forum earlier this spring. The annual forum drew students from around the globe in the lead-up to the U7+ Alliance of World Universities, composed of university presidents in Group of Seven (G7) countries.

In addition to hearing from speakers including Nobel Peace Prize winner Ouided Bouchamaoui and Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Piñeiro met with other students to work on a set of policy proposals that would inform the U7+ alliance. They discussed the role of universities in increasing global access to higher education, climate change and sustainability, and human-centered artificial intelligence.

“Most of our proposals were focused on global access,” said Piñeiro. “One proposal establishes pipeline programs for future academics from diverse backgrounds, emphasizing gender and racial diversity. We want the U7+ to address the need for increased support within higher education that helps current students who may become professors and instructors in the future.”

The U7+ summit allows universities to weigh in on global challenges in education that leaders of the G7 nations will address when they gather in Milan in June. The students’ proposals will eventually make their way to the G7 meeting.

Piñeiro—who is also earning a master’s degree in public policy—will work in the cross-border tax practice of White & Case when he graduates. He said the forum was an “incredible opportunity,” considering his interest in international law and climate change solutions.

“This being my last semester in the dual-degree program, I also feel like this experience solidified and validated everything I’ve learned here in the past four years,” he said. “I think the impact for my future career, beyond the great network I built at the conference, is having more confidence to represent an institution in an international event of that scale.”

Bringing global experiences to practice

This was not the first time Piñeiro enhanced his educational experience away from Ann Arbor.

As a Dow Sustainability Fellow, he was part of a multidisciplinary team of fellow U-M graduate students who worked with Nascientes Palmichal, an ecotourism project in rural Costa Rica.

The team worked with resident entrepreneurs to develop a sustainable business model that would revitalize Nacientes Palmichal and the neighboring communities.

He also interned with the UN-sponsored International Organization for Migration in Costa Rica and spent a summer at DLA Piper’s office in Santiago, Chile, through Michigan Law’s International Summer Firm Internship program.

In addition, he was a U-M delegate at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) 27 in Egypt in November 2022. He provided updates on his experience via the Climate Blue blog at U-M.

“The highlight was being able to absorb the process through which high-stakes negotiations took place, involving diplomats and ministers from around the world, for critical climate agreements,” said Piñeiro of COP27. “It enriched my understanding of real-world policy generation.”

The University’s Office of the Provost nominated Piñeiro as one of only two U-M students to attend the NEXT Milan Forum; the other was Madelyn Gatchel, a graduate student in computer science and engineering. Piñeiro’s nomination was based on his participation in these other international activities.

“We were delighted to select Javi to represent us at the NEXT Milan Forum,” said Valeria Bertacco, vice provost for engaged learning. “As a dual law and public policy student at U-M, he has interdisciplinary interests and expertise that made him an ideal candidate to engage in important discussions. I was impressed with the work of Javi and other students that was shared with us at the U7+ Presidential Summit held a few weeks later.”

As Piñeiro—who also was a notes editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law—spends his final days as a law student, he plans to use not only the lessons he learned at Michigan Law but also from his experience in Italy as he goes forward into his career.

“There is something particularly powerful in connecting young leaders with shared interests and providing chances to build those relationships,” said Piñeiro.

“Even though we were such a diverse group in terms of backgrounds, fields, and countries, we all have overlapping views and hopes for the future of our generation. That was really inspiring.”

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