Hello to all, and welcome to my blog as President of UIA (Union Internationale des Avocats) – the International Lawyers’ Association.
UIA is the world’s oldest, most multi-cultural, multi-lingual international law association. Founded in Belgium in 1927 in the wake of World War I, and now based in Paris, France, UIA has a long and distinguished history providing a forum for the world’s lawyers to exchange information and ideas, network, and join together to defend the independence of the bar and of the judiciary and protect lawyers who protect others, especially in the area of human rights. With 1000s of members around the world and hundreds of bar association members which represent millions of lawyers more, UIA continues to play an ever more critical role in ensuring that lawyers from every corner of the globe have the opportunity to learn from one another and to help our profession flourish.
I am extremely honored to have been elected as first Vice President, then President Elect and now as President of UIA. My term as President starts on November 9 at the Closing Ceremony of our 2019 Annual Congress in Luxembourg. This will be an exciting year as I travel around the globe representing UIA at bar association meetings, international conferences and seminars, and leadership gatherings, on every continent – culminating in our next Congress in October 2020 in magnificent Guadalajara, Mexico.
I plan to use this blog to share impressions of my travels during the year as well as information learned from the many lawyers I will be meeting around the world. I will also be writing about some of the main themes of my presidency, including:
– the role of the lawyer in a world where the rule of law is under assault as many governments tend towards nationalism, populism, and attacks on the judicial branch, and where so many communities are facing social unrest and sometimes even violent protests.
– the essential right to vote and participate in government, in the face of attempts at voter suppression and exclusion, gerrymandering, disenfranchisement, distortion of the electoral process through social media, and interference and manipulation by foreign governments.
– increasing diversity in the legal profession and in UIA membership and leadership, including not only geographical diversity but also women, LGBT lawyers and lawyers with disabilities.
I hope you’ll join me on my travels as I promote these ideas and represent UIA around the world this year!