Travel and its impact on his career and life
Professor Arthur Appleton has a long and impressive academic background, but he describes his time at Exeter University as responsible for everything positive that has happened in his life. A summer of travel in Europe opened his eyes to the world, cultivating his interest in language, culture, politics and especially food, and educated him on respecting different views and customs. This experience, coupled with his studies in Geneva, can be said to have molded his desire to pursue a career in international law.
Professor Appleton’s career choice has permitted him to serve as a consultant on trade and investment issues for many international and regional organizations including the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, UNCTAD, UNEP, the ITC, the EU, the International Law Institute, the Asian Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank, to name just a few. He has worked in more than 60 countries throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America, and has successfully set up his own law practice with offices in more than six countries.
Each country Arthur has visited has equipped him with knowledge and understanding of people and politics that has proved important in his daily life. So much travel, some of it in rather remote places, has taught him many things—perhaps most importantly, “Stay calm, taste everything, and try to learn from everyone and everything around you.”
He was first inspired to teach when, early in his career, he came into contact with many prominent academics. He was soon invited to teach various courses, first at the World Trade Institute in Bern, then later in Geneva, Barcelona, in Bologna at Johns Hopkins (SAIS), and now at IE University in Madrid, teaching the Executive Master in International Trade. He has added teaching to his list of passions, and it has led to many wonderful experiences, including training high court judges from China, the East African Community, and Sri Lanka; US diplomats in Japan, Uganda and the States; and government officials in many parts of the world, including Vietnam, Brazil and the Middle East. Arthur credits this success to his leadership and organizational skills and his time spent as counsel and arbitrator in international arbitrations.
Arthur describes his affiliation with IE University as a particularly rewarding experience, as he has had the opportunity to teach non-lawyers. In contrast to teaching attorneys, where one focuses on the black letter law, teaching non-lawyers is far more interesting. One focuses on the policies behind the law, and the implications for law on people, businesses, and civil society. His experience in teaching has taught him that one should not endeavor to teach international students without a good understanding of their culture.
With such a busy career, Arthur tries his best to find time for family, reading and writing. He would like to recommend two books in particular to prospective IE students which have had a great influence on his thinking; The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan and Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. In his words; “They will alter the way you perceive the world.”
“Stay calm, taste everything, and try to learn from everyone and everything around you.”