On Friday, March 7, Thomson Reuters will be the title sponsor of a panel discussion on the global rule of law as part of the Nobel Peace Prize Forum 2014 “Law and Business Day.”

Global rule of law is foundational for economic and social development in emerging countries. It is crucial in building the integrity of a judicial system, delivering justice by providing due process and equal protection, and fostering economic opportunity by ensuring the legitimacy and enforceability of judgments and contracts. In developing countries, many of which are being integrated into the world economy, the transition to a market economy has been a major factor in a move toward the rule of law.

The following panelists will discuss the global rule of law and how our legal system differs from other legal systems around the world.

Professor Jothie Rajah will speak on the rule of law in Singapore and the complicated nature of understanding the rule of law from different cultures. Rajah is a full-time member of the American Bar Foundation faculty, and was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne. She also holds a degree from the Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore. Rajah has taught legal writing and research skills, Hindu legal traditions and English, and has worked with the United Nations Development Project to create official translations of Lao laws.

Judge John R. Tunheim will speak from the perspective of an American jurist with broad international experience. Judge Tunheim is a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Minnesota. He has been on the federal bench since first nominated by President Clinton in 1995. Prior to his work as a judge, Judge Tunheim clerked for Judge Earl Larson; worked for Oppenheimer, Wolff and Donnelly; and served as the Minnesota Solicitor General and the Minnesota Chief Deputy Attorney General.

Justice Wilhelmina M. Wright will provide a perspective from the bench. A member of the Minnesota Supreme Court, Justice Wright has served as an associate justice since 2012. She has also served as a judge on the Minnesota Court of Appeals for 10 years and, prior to that, as a trial judge in Ramsey County District Court. Before she was a judge, Justice Wright served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota and worked in private practice with Hogan & Hartson, LLP.

Keith Nelsen will offer insight into the inner workings of international business transactions and operations that help create a stable legal system. Nelsen is general counsel for Best Buy, joining the company in 2005. He previously served as senior vice president and general counsel for Best Buy International. Nelsen also has worked at Danka Business Systems PLC, Nordic Track, Inc., and Best and Flanagan, LLP.

Sharon Sayles Belton (moderator) is the vice president of Community Relations and Government Affairs for Thomson Reuters. After college,  Sayles Belton began her career at the Minnesota Department of Corrections as a parole officer and later as the assistant director of the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault. She soon turned to politics, however, when she was elected to represent the Eighth Ward on the Minneapolis City Council in 1983; seven years later she became the city council president. She then served as the first African-American and first female mayor of Minneapolis from 1994 until 2001.

The 26th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum will take place on March 1, and March 7-9 in Minneapolis, on the campuses of Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota. This event is open to the public, and tickets can be purchased at http://nobelpeaceprizeforum.org/.

The Global Rule of Law Panel will take place on March 7, 2014, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. at the University of Minnesota’s Cowles Auditorium at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, 130 Humphrey School, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55455. This program has been approved for 1.5 standard Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits in Minnesota.

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