Thomas Walde.

Author:Alford, Roger
Position:International arbitrator - Testimonial

For any of you that are in the International Arbitration Community, the news of Thomas Walde's untimely death on October 11, 2008, was truly a shock. It was a tragic accident that occurred at his retreat in the south of France. Generally, when the news came through the listservs and the emails and the like, there was just a sense of genuine shock. And hundreds of emails filled the inbox of every member who subscribed to Thomas Walde's arbitration listserv, known as "OGEMID." Rather than just offer my own personal reflections, because there were so many interesting, and thoughtful, and reflective comments in those emails, I wanted to pick out a few of those comments and read them to you to get a sense of the degree of respect and honor that Walde generated throughout the world.

So, I'll just read a few of them. From Jacques Werner:

"Fatal accidents are quite often caused by stupid reasons, and the present one is no exception. How to accept that a broken ladder put an end to such a rich and useful life? It will take time for all of us to make sense of Thomas' passing."

From Judge Rosalyn Higgins:

"He was a giant in his field. As an academic, a practitioner, an administrator, he was exceptional. This remarkable man with his unique and strong personality was also very tender with persons facing problems. He was an extraordinary person who did so much for his chosen field of endeavor. I also know how much trouble he took over the interest of his students. This is a terribly sad day."

From Nigel Blackaby:

"We lose a truly unique human being who blew away the cobwebs and the preconceptions. Nothing was accepted as a given; every accepted truth was to be challenged. Thomas helped us to understand what we do in the context far wider than we ever imagined. Our minds were broadened by him in the debates he opened to everyone, irrespective of age, status, or origin ... May his spirit live on and continue to break down barriers."

And there are many, many others I could have read; those are just a few short selections.

So, for those of you that don't know Thomas Walde, he was truly a cosmopolitan--an exceptional--figure in the world of international arbitration. He studied in Heidelberg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Lausanne, and Harvard; he was fluent in German, French...

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