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On Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, LexisNexis CEO Mike Walsh was honored by the United Nations Foundation with a Global Leadership Award in recognition for the company's work in advancing the Rule of Law around the globe. Previous honorees have included Malala Yousafzai, Desmond Tutu, Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says, "Mike is a leader who understands that societies without a predictable legal framework are societies where people do not invest in their future, or the future of their country, and that businesses do better when the world does better. He’s shaped a powerful mission for LexisNexis to advance the rule of law for a better future and to support peace and progress as a result."
Presented below are Mike's remarks to the UN Foundation's We The People' Dinner in New York:
Thank you, Carmen.
Madame Deputy Secretary-General, Kathy Calvin, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’m deeply honored to accept this Global Leadership Award.
We’re joined by my wife Sheila, my kids Deven and Sophie, my mom and dad, making this occasion even more special.
LexisNexis has been strongly committed to advancing the rule of law for many years. Rule of law has four main components…
We work to advance each of these…
When the most vulnerable citizens of a country can’t afford to go to court, we bring court to them and provide access to legal remedy.
This past April, our Malaysian team ventured into the jungles of Borneo as part of a mobile court. They slept in tents by night and ran the court by day, which handled 220 cases.
One young girl, Rosnah, born in 2004, received her birth certificate during that trip. She had attended local school classes but could not take exams because she couldn’t prove her identity. Her life changed that day with a basic legal document most of us take for granted.
We work to support equality for all under the law and have focused on human rights.
LexisNexis joined with the International Bar Association to launch the eyeWitness to Atrocities App, now available in 130 countries. It’s the first app that documents and safeguards images so that they can be used in a court of law. Last year, 92 photos captured with the app helped convict two military commanders of murder and torture. Photos included images of mass graves and survivors. Showing these in court was the turning point. All 100 victims were awarded significant reparations.
We also know that 25 million people are trapped in various forms of modern slavery. Anyone who has looked into the eyes of one of these survivors can only imagine the horrors that this criminal enterprise inflicts upon those caught in its web. In the U.S., we’ve focused our efforts on improving human trafficking laws and now, 45 out of 50 state laws are ranked as excellent according to Polaris, up from 11 states in 2011.
In Sierra Leonne, this year, we found legal aid workers could only access one set of law books, which were being sent back and forth across the country.
So, we digitized and provided 24/7 access to those laws. Now, with access to digital laws, they’ve been able to triple their case load, and dramatically expand access to justice across the country.
LexisNexis databases provide transparency into the law in more than 130 countries reaching billions.
We will continue to expand these resources rapidly until all the world’s laws are visible and accessible to its citizens.
We’ve seen partisan conflict increase significantly in recent years.
Independent courts are critical to resolving these conflicts in an orderly fashion. We provide training, information, and infrastructure to courts across the globe to help them function effectively.
Our team did some analysis correlating rule of law country rankings with economic and social indicator data, and there were some fascinating insights:
If rule of law strengthens by 10% around the world…
We think this is a future worth our focus.
5 billion people in the world today live outside the umbrella protection of the rule of law…
Our mission…as a company…is to bring this number down to zero.
The Legal industry globally is going through a profound transformation underpinned by developments in Artificial Intelligence. LexisNexis is using advanced technologies to materially lower the cost of legal services and expand access to justice on a global basis.
It’s not a foregone conclusion that rule of law institutions will function well. If justice is out of reach, citizens suffer, and we are all at risk. Rule of law is a bedrock of freedom.
Our 10,000 colleagues at LexisNexis have tremendous pride in our work to advance the rule of law, which is vital for building peace and prosperity.
And it is why I am so honored this evening to accept the Global Leadership Award from the United Nations Foundation.
Mike Walsh with UN Foundation CEO, Kathy Calvin, and fellow UN Foundation honorees Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author and feminist leader, Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, founder of EAT Forum, and several United Nations Heroes.
Carmen Pombo Morales, chief executive of the Fernando Pombo Foundation, introduced Mike and presented him with the award.
To learn more about the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, visit our website: https://www.lexisnexisrolfoundation.org/