The International Bar Association (IBA) Annual Conference is the leading conference for legal professionals worldwide to meet, share knowledge, build contacts and develop business.
It serves to advance the development of international law and its role in business and society to provide members with world-class professional development opportunities to enable them to deliver outstanding legal services.
Welcome Address By IBA President Sternford Moyo
I greet you all in the spirit of friendship, solidarity and collegiality, which lies at the heart of the relationships within our great association and trust that I find you well in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic emphasises the importance of positive human relationships and the need for us all to discharge our responsibility to care for one another and treat all with whom we interact, with dignity, fairness and equality.
Among the main objects of our Association is the creation and fostering of positive relationships and exchanges among lawyers, law societies and bar associations, in order to strengthen our capacity as a profession to promote and protect the rule of law, human rights and an effective administration of justice. We furthermore endeavour to build the capacity of our national bar associations and embark on profession development programmes, to enable us to collectively and effectively promote and protect core values of our profession.
The rule of law has been challenged in many parts of the world, including in those nations traditionally considered to be developed democracies. The situation has been exacerbated by failure by governments in many parts of the world to respond to national emergencies, such as the health emergency that we face within the framework of the rule of law and observance of human rights.
Consequently, it has become important for us to implement and maintain active and extensive programmes highlighting the importance of the rule of law and capacitate national bars, particularly developing bars, to respond appropriately to these challenges.
It is refreshing to witness, across all nations and cultures, an encouraging rejection of all forms of discrimination, the embracing of equality in relation to gender, ethnicity, beliefs, disability and others. In many parts of the world, we have witnessed demonstrations which are a manifestation of impatience with inequality and injustice, and a quest for a better world.
Working through our Rule of Law Forum, the Human Rights Institute and across our great association geographically and thematically, we propose to deepen our commitment to promote the positive values we have always promoted and reject all forms of discrimination and unfairness in the practice of law and the administration of justice.
Diversity, in all its forms, is a value which we ought to pursue vigorously. Law, a field of human endeavour based on a philosophy of even handedness, should really be the first place where all forms of discrimination and inequality ought to be eliminated.
Many of our committees work within commercial law specialisations, helping to share knowledge across peer groups and across borders, and creating precedents, standards and guidelines to make international transactions more efficient.
This is often achieved by recommending potential cross-border harmonisations, or by proposing model contracts to balance diverse interests, such as the right to have safe and secure investments working in harmony with the rights of the communities where the investment takes place. By helping to develop and promote such ideas and models, the spirit of justice and the rule of law is served, as well as providing more secure pathways to stability and prosperity.
In addition to hosting events, developing projects, and leading campaigns, the Association produces extensive digital content – whether film, audio or the written word – providing insight on issues of specialist areas of law, and on the legal and ethical aspects of wider global issues that shape current international decision-making, in diverse fields such as technologies, poverty, the environment, geopolitics, mass migration, corruption, protectionism, or numerous others. We aim to help equip and empower our members and all others who use these resources to engage more fully with the defining challenges of our time.
I invite you to learn more about our Association by reading this brochure, and by engaging with the wide range of content on our website. If you would like to join us as a member and take part in our activities, you would be especially welcome. We would love to have your voice added to ours.
Lionel Barber delivered the keynote speech at this the 2022 IBA Annual Conference in Miami.
Lionel Barber was the Editor of the Financial Times (2005-2020) and is a writer, broadcaster, popular keynote speaker.
Barber offers his vision of what the future holds for liberal democracies and how they must adapt to face future challenges.