Karen Mills has practiced in Indonesia for almost 25 years and is one of the founders of the KarimSyah law firm in Jakarta. Ms. Mills is a Chartered Arbitrator, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”) and of the Singapore and Hong Kong Institutes, and founder and Co-chair of the Indonesian Chapter of CIArb. Ms. Mills is on the panel of arbitrators of most arbitral institutions in the region, including those of China, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, New Zealand and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia; and also serves as a Domain Name panelist under ADNDRC, Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul.
Everywhere we look we read or hear about Globalisation. But what exactly does it mean in our daily lives? For some businesspersons, it means the opening of international markets for goods, services, and operations. For the western labor force it often means export of jobs. For lawyers it means more cross-border transactions and disputes. For arbitrators and mediators it means more cultural variety in the disputes we seek to resolve. But for all of us it means, or should, nay MUST, mean the necessity to understand and accommodate diverse cultures and all their ramifications.
In this 21st Century we are encountering cultural diversity at every stage of our business and personal lives, particularly when any cross-border aspect is involved. For the dispute resolution practitioner, it pervades all negotiations, mediations and arbitrations. Perhaps above all other players in the world economy, it is incumbent upon us, as arbitrators and mediators, to be the most sensitive to these cultural nuances, as our mission to resolve disputes can succeed or fail according to how well we can understand and accommodate them. Thus keeping this kind of diversity in mind should become automatic and all pervasive in the international dispute resolution arena.