My international vocation first took shape while at University – it was during this time that I decided to make it my life. The combination of law and economic studies convinced me that our generation was to be more affected by international than domestic dimensions. I decided to focus primarily on European and global issues along with the political divisions of Belgium. Overtime, my expertise has expanded to a global level that spans more than five continents with a focus on North America, Asia and Europe.
International experience is a source of transformation of character and personality. I have seen people reconstituting their home life style abroad and making sure that they feel at home. The most impressive example is the US Army. Any camp looks the same. The same services are available and contacts with local population is limited. It is one of the reasons why US foreign policy has such a limited understanding of cultural differences.
We Belgians, are such a small country that we never imagine we could live abroad like we live at home. Actually we like local experiences. We blend into the landscape and develop an adaptability to different cultures that smaller countries share and we make local friends easily. Some might think that it is because we have a small national one. It is not the case. Anybody who follows sports knows how ardent we are in supporting our national teams.
Peace remains a challenge, and often enough business is the cement of relationships that limit the risks of war and conflicts. This, however, requires a key value: equity. In a world without equity, conflicts and wars will continue their ugly and destructive task of antagonizing people, religions and countries. Globalization cannot be an excuse to widen the gap between rich and poor. It should be the reverse. Too often we see horrible practices such as the treatment of workers by Qatar for the Olympics or the slavery of Chinese workers orchestrated by Apple remind us that the world is not converging but diverging.
Being an internationalist is not considering that globalization is absolute. It is, on the contrary, promoting relationships inter nationes.