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International mediator encourages global citizenship

Story by Elizabeth Robinson

Students and mediators from around the world gathered at the Drake University Legal Clinic to take part in the International Academy of Dispute Resolution’s Mediation World Congress last weekend.

Ana Virginia Bauder, one of the conference’s many presenters and attendees, took time out of her weekend to meet with Drake professors and speak with administrators to provide insight into what mediation is and her experiences as they relate to globalization.

Originally from Venezuela, Bauder is a practicing mediator, conciliator and adjudicator who works on commercial and consumer disputes in London.

She also deals with intellectual property, renewable energy, neighborhood disputes and more.

In 2007, Bauder qualified as a lawyer in Venezuela, and she holds an master of laws degree from The London School of Economics and Political Science focused on alternative dispute resolution.

“I was thinking bringing her to campus would be a way for students to gain some insight into a different perspective from her experiences, particularly with different countries,” said Marsha Ternus, director of the recently founded Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement at Drake.

Although neither Drake nor the Harkin Institute was Bauder’s sole reason for coming to Des Moines, Ternus said she felt that speaking with her was too much of an opportunity to pass up.

“My view is that when I come across opportunities, if I think it can be useful or add to or enrich the student experience, I try to facilitate that,” Ternus said.

Mediation, Bauder said, has come a long way in recent years and is becoming a more accepted way of resolving disputes between parties.

“Twenty years ago, people would feel very skeptical of this process that can actually give you the power to reach a decision that you think is fair, not leave it up to someone else to decide who’s right and wrong,” Bauder said. “I think globalization has helped a lot, and with the use of technology and so on, to increase the amount of mediations that are taking place.”

At Drake, increased awareness of globalization and responsible global citizenship are reinforced among students, faculty and staff.

Matthew Mitchell, a professor of international business at Drake, spoke with Bauder on the importance of globalization and how her experiences relate to what his students are learning in the classroom.

“I think the CPBA [College of Professional Business Administration] takes it a step further and we talk about our mission and promise statement to bring the world into the classroom and take the classroom into the world, and this is just a perfect example of bringing the world into the classroom,” Mitchell said.

Bauder’s experience with international dispute resolution, he said, is a perfect way to show students an experience related to globalization outside of the classroom.

“I think it’s fascinating to know how people solve the same problems differently, “ he said. “So globalization, I think, is kind of a sense of a growing interconnection between the people of the world that we sometimes define as a process through which the different tribes of the world come into closer contact.”

Mitchell spoke with Bauder regarding how globalization impacts her in her current role, how legal systems impact conducting business across borders and advice to students wishing to pursue global careers.

Bauder said that people across the world are all different, they’re supposed to be different, and it’s seeing the beauty in those differences that makes living together in one world possible.

“I think nowadays it’s more and more essential to be a responsible global citizen where you are sensitive to the realities that are happening around the world and that you’re considerate toward their reality and their understanding and trying to understand and respect their differences,” she said.

Mitchell plans to use the recordings from his interview with Bauder in his classes later this semester.

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