Michael Castle Miller
Michael is a legal and policy consultant who has helped develop special economic zone (SEZ) programs in over eighteen countries in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Over the course of his career, governments and private companies have relied on him to draft regulations, establish administrative agencies, introduce investment climate reforms, structure public-private partnerships, and promote socially and environmentally responsible development projects. In addition to serving as CEO of Politas, he is also the Founder and Executive Director of Refugee Cities, an NGO applying SEZ frameworks to expand opportunities for migrants.
Michael's professional experience ranges from legal and policy consulting to real estate negotiation, and from organizational management to community engagement. Michael has served as the Managing Director of Locus Economica, a boutique SEZ consulting firm advising on numerous World Bank, UNIDO, and direct-government projects. He has also been a consultant with the World Bank, Legal Vice Presidency, specializing in urban law and development issues. Before that, he worked for the Public International Law and Policy Group, where he provided legal assistance to the governments of South Sudan, Georgia, and Yemen on a variety of matters.
Michael earned a J.D., summa cum laude, from American University, Washington College of Law and an M.A. in International Politics from American University, School of International Service. His publications in legal journals cover the political economy of international trade and investment, comparative local government, “Charter Cities,” U.S. immigration law, and expropriation jurisprudence. He regularly gives talks and participates in panel discussions on SEZs and refugee cities at conferences internationally.
Michael is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy and a Senior Program Officer of WEPZA, a trade association of SEZ practitioners. He is also an active member of the New York State Bar Association and licensed to practice law in New York.
Areas of Expertise: special economic zones, economic development, public international law, public-private partnerships, international investment, comparative constitutional law, international tax, investor-state arbitration, international trade, project finance, space law, urban planning and land use regulation, immigration and asylum, environmental law, labor, administrative law, decentralization and local government, and post-conflict transition.
Organizations Assisted: World Bank; Banobras (Gov’t of Mexico); United Nations Industrial Development Organization; USAid; Chancellor of Austria; UNHABITAT; Rwanda Development Board; United States Courts; IDOM; BuroHappold; private zone developers
Countries Assisted: Latin America – Mexico, Chile, Peru, Honduras; Middle East / North Africa – Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen; Sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Madagascar, South Sudan, Senegal, Lesotho; South Asia – Afghanistan, Pakistan, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh; Europe – Georgia
Previous / Other Positions: Executive Director, Politas Labs and Refugee Cities; Managing Director, Locus Economica; Consultant, World Bank; Research Associate, Public International Law and Policy Group
Education: J.D., American University, Washington College of Law (JD, summa cum laude); MA, American University, School of International Service (international politics / international development)
Qualifications: Admitted to the New York Bar (Attorney)
Publications: 6 publications in peer-reviewed legal journals