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BC Law Students to Participate in Innovative United Nations Project

2013 news archive


Newton, MA—Boston College Law School is one of three American universities among 19 worldwide invited to participate next semester in an experiential learning project with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) analyzing bilateral investment treaties.

The UNCTAD initiative, now in its second year, sets out to create a comprehensive database of International Investment Agreements (IIA) across more than 150 variations of IIA provisions. The database will help development policy makers understand trends in IIA drafting over time and will contribute to UNCTAD’s ongoing policy analysis and policy recommendations. The project builds on UNCTAD’s recently launched Investment Policy Framework for Sustainable Development (IPFSD), which offers a wide range of policy options, supporting IIA policy makers in the negotiation of sustainable development friendly IIAs. 

BC Law’s efforts will take the form of an innovate course offered during the Spring 2014 semester. The two-credit course, taught by Associate Dean for Global Initiatives Frank Garcia, directly involves students in the work of the UN Committee.

“Our students will learn a great deal about the treaty framework that governs international investment and will contribute in a meaningful and real way to the ongoing work of UNCTAD,” Garcia said. “Two of our students participating in our London Program will also participate in Kings College's UNCTAD mapping team, making it an interesting transnational partnership and shared experiential learning effort. “

Students enrolled in the course will work closely with their peers at other partner universities, as each student is assigned three different mapping partners from different universities over the course of the project. In addition to the mapping project itself, students will be expected to complete a ten to fifteen page research paper on some aspect of contemporary foreign investment law.

“Our students will do the same work from right here at the Law School that they would be doing if they were sitting in Geneva, and they will get to interact closely with UNCTAD staff,” said Garcia. “It’s a very interesting hybrid approach and one we will be looking at as a model for other such opportunities–those that can be done remotely and yet involve legal work for global institutions or NGOs.”

The first iteration of the Mapping Project was completed in 2013.  Law students in this second year are from the following universities:

  • Bond University (Australia)
  • Boston College (United States)
  • Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies (Switzerland)
  • Hacettepe University Law School, Ankara (Turkey)
  • Kings College, School of Law (United Kingdom)
  • Korea University, School of Law (South Korea)
  • NALSAR, University of Law (India)
  • National Law University of Jodhpur (India)
  • National Research University (Russia)
  • National University of La Plata (Argentina)
  • University of Buenos Aires (Argentina)
  • University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)
  • University of Evry Val d’Essonne (France)
  • University of Hawaii Richardson School of Law (United States)
  • University of Michigan Law School (United States)
  • University of Ottawa (Canada)
  • University of Pretoria (South Africa)
  • University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)
  • Xiamen University (China)

Boston College Law School has been expanding its experiential and global opportunities recently with the announcement of its new Center for Experiential Learning (opening Fall 2014) and its new Global Practice Program and Sorbonne J.D./LL.M. Program in Paris.