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In the venerable universe of international law, Pieter H.F. Bekker frequently finds himself the only person in an elegant room whose hair has not yet gone silver. “A pity,” said the 38-year-old Bekker, counsel in the international arbitration group at White & Case. “But people of my generation stand ready to take over.” Few young globalists are better prepared or better mentored than the Dutch-born Bekker, a former staff lawyer in the Registry of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, where he was the prot�g� of two American judges: the late Professor Keith Highet and, later, retired White & Case partner Charles N. Brower, a former deputy special counselor to President Ronald Reagan and now a judge of the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal at The Hague. Prior to his own experience at the world court, Bekker practiced civil and common law in the Netherlands. He holds a master’s degree in law from Harvard Law School and a doctorate in international law from Leiden University, Netherlands. At White & Case, Bekker has been involved in 14 cases between sovereign states, including four border disputes, and international pro bono matters involving genocide and human rights. He also has represented corporate clients in cross-border commercial transactions. Besides Dutch and English, he is fluent in French and Spanish. Earlier this week, Bekker returned from Spain, where he was the sole private attorney chosen to participate in a panel during a three-day summit of the Club of Madrid. With this latest credential of acceptance into the powerful circle of former heads of state and his elders in the rarified practice of global law, Bekker turns to the business of preparing for interviews with law students seeking their own place in the international firmament. Bekker and the �minences grises attending the Madrid summit spoke of terorrism in a succession of panel discussions and presentations of scholarly papers. The proceedings concluded last Friday on the first anniversary of 3/11, as the Spanish call it, the day when Al Qaeda bombs planted in Madrid’s Atocha train station slaughtered nearly 200 people. If there is hope of eradicating world terrorism, Bekker believes it lies in forums such as the Club of Madrid, as exasperating and inconclusively talky as they may seem, and as the result of informal chats among political leaders, diplo-mats and international lawyers that accompany such gatherings. “One of the first things recognized by all is the need to give voice to people by democratic means,” said Bekker. “The social and economic aspects behind terrorism must be addressed. While poverty is not a direct cause of terrorism, the impact of rapid economic change in the world today can be exploited by terrorists.” The Madrid agenda, he said, recognizes that a military response to terrorism cannot be the only response. “We call for a comprehensive plan of action. And we focus on underlying risk factors,” said Bekker. “That doesn’t mean that [terrorist] acts are legitimate; it means that we recognize the need of a response.” It also means long-term trade agreements, economic aid and development policies, as well as “help for marginalized groups and new efforts to reduce structural inequalities and group discrimination,” Bekker said. “It means improving educational and economic opportunities for women,” he added. “It means democracy and government transparency and the rule of law.” Such a noble list of goals, Bekker acknowledged, requires all the patience an experienced international lawyer can bring to the negotiating table, for disappointment is always both new and old business — as is a large dose of embarrassment nowadays for American attendees, as the result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. During last week’s gathering in Madrid, for instance, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan launched a fierce attack on Washington for its treatment of terror suspects, claiming in his keynote speech that “compromising human rights facilitates the achievement of the terrorists’ objectives by provoking tension [and] hatred.” Annan’s speech was followed by President George W. Bush nominating the controversial John R. Bolton, under-Secretary of State for arms control and international security, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a body about which Bolton has been very critical. On the other hand, Bekker said, “There is a lot that’s happening behind the scenes that we don’t hear about, and it is there where I believe the U.S. is cooperating with other countries in coordination efforts involving immigration and the [U.S.] Justice Department.” Noting that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was in attendance at Madrid, Bekker said, “An attorney general doesn’t get sent to a meeting like this just to defend U.S. policies.” ‘SEEING ACROSS BORDERS’ In upcoming recruitment interviews for White & Case’s international law group, Bekker said he will be looking for critical thinking in the law students who might become his own prot�g�s. “I get all the r�sum�s in advance, and for the initial 30-minute interview, I usually don’t concentrate on the academic portion,” he said. “I’m looking for whatever element there is that tells me this person has the ability to see across borders, that this person has a true interest in living among foreigners and learning languages.” Bekker said he knows the task is not an easy one for American students. “America is a diverse continent, and there isn’t the same necessity there is among Europeans to search for diversity abroad,” he said. “But we have to engage in dialogue with different peoples, we have to learn from their experiences, and Americans must learn why there is such a strong dislike for their government’s policies. It is, simply, the hope of the world.”

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