President's Page.

AuthorBeebe, Mark R.

The Rule of Law Is Fundamental

"It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws."

Aristotle, Politics 3.16

This October, the IADC hosted its thirteenth International Corporate Counsel College (ICCC). Vienna served as this year's ICCC venue, and it was the third time that the IADC hosted a meeting in this city so captivatingly beautiful, remarkably historical, and culturally advanced. Anne and I marveled over Vienna's Schonbrunn and Belvedere Palaces. We were engrossed by the city's distinguished history, dating back to 500 B.C.E. and including playing a significant role later in the Habsburg Dynasty and the Holy Roman Empire. And, of course, we were moved by Vienna's artists including the genius of Mozart and Johann Strauss I and II and the extraordinary paintings of Gustav Klimt.

Yet, a pall dimmed Vienna's remarkableness. Certainly the persistence of COVID, the nettlesome resurgence of Nationalism, and the political divisiveness threatening the rule of law not only in the United States, but in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey are most concerning. However, it was the war in Ukraine that cast the darkest shadow. Knowing that Ukraine's border was only 650 miles from Vienna--about the same distance between Atlanta and Washington D.C.--made the hostilities much more concrete than the "war news" that we read in our daily feeds. But, it was the ICCC's keynote presentation by Ukrainian IADC member Maria Orlyk, who evacuated from Kyiv to Vienna in February 2022, that made the war palpable and much more real than was comfortable. While Maria's war story was surreal and frightening, it was an even greater reflection of her spirit and the spirit of Ukraine--courage, resilience, hope.

Maria relayed how she was awakened in the middle of night by calls from family and friends that told her that the war had begun and she needed to leave Kyiv. But, like any of us, Maria thought the possibility of bombs falling on her home was inconceivable. Maria did not pack her possessions, hoping that she would soon return. After getting her mother, Maria left Ukraine taking to the roads and headed west to safety. After several days, Maria and her mother arrived in Vienna, and found refuge with IADC friends, who provided her and her mother an apartment in...

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