8 Dec 2022
MILE Alumni Profile: Sebastián Gómez Fiedler
Today we meet Sebastián Gómez Fiedler, MILE 15 alumnus. He is currently Director-General for Bilateral Economic Affairs of the Undersecretariat of International Economic Relations (SUBREI) at Chile's Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Hello Sebastián! Thank you for being with us today. Tell us about the work you are currently doing?
I am currently Director-General for Bilateral Economic Affairs of the Undersecretariat of International Economic Relations (SUBREI) at Chile's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
As SUBREI's Bilateral Director-General, I lead nine divisions, comprising around sixty fully committed persons, that help me every day to move forward most of the bilateral trade negotiations of Chile. In addition, we work closely with the Directorate-General for Multilateral Economic Affairs and with other teams, within and outside the Undersecretariat, to reach mutually acceptable outcomes for Chile and our counterparts. My current role also involves being Chile’s Chief Negotiator for different trade negotiations. Among other tasks, we also contribute to coordinating the implementation of our trade agreements and addressing trade barriers daily.
What did you do before the MILE, and what was your career path after you graduated?
Before MILE 15 - and I take this opportunity to send warm regards to all my classmates and WTI staff - I was a corporate lawyer at an important Chilean wine group. While working there, drafting contracts and negotiating legal clauses for the company, I was also studying an LLM in International Law offered by the Universities of Chile and Heidelberg.
My career path changed drastically after the MILE programme, as I was able to do an internship - and later worked on a short-term contract - at the WTO. When I returned to Chile, I began working at SUBREI in 2016. I was a part of the International Law Division team for three years. Then, I moved internally to the Services, Investment and Digital Economy Division, where I worked as a legal advisor and negotiator for two years. Later, after another internal recruitment, I was Head of the Responsible Business Conduct Division at the Multilateral Directorate-General, my previous position before assuming my current one.
How do you think the MILE helped you in your career?
Tremendously. I acquired so many insights, experiences, knowledge and friendships back in Bern - and Geneva - during my MILE days that it is difficult to sum up here. The MILE is one of the best programmes in its field. I enjoyed the academic challenge it presented to us as MILE students. I have fond memories of the lectures we were deeply thankful to receive in Hallerstrasse and how all the staff and professors supported our development as students, young professionals and persons. The atmosphere at the WTI is unique. It not only stimulates critical thinking and gaining a more profound, multidisciplinary understanding of international law, economics and international relations, but also collaboration and companionship.
The MILE also opened the world for me. It sounds grandiloquent, but for me, getting to know and experience the MILE journey with classmates from all over the globe and the excellent lectures experienced professors gave us during the programme did just that. Moreover, it would be challenging to think that I could have reached this stage in my career without the MILE.
Any advice for current students?
I would say that each student has different motivations and reasons for pursuing the MILE. However, companionship is vital. Take every opportunity you get to bond and teamwork. Life is much easier when you collaborate with others. Listen carefully to the lectures and do your readings, as having a whole year to study at such a dedicated level is a blessing. Enjoy the city. Bern is a beautiful place. Lastly, I would suggest students think outside the box and take all the advice they can get from the different people they meet in their respective journeys.