New Baha'i representative to open office in Brussels

October 12, 2007
Sarah Vader is a new representative of the Baha'i International Community for work with the U.N. in Geneva and the European Union in Brussels.

GENEVA, Switzerland — Sarah Vader has joined the Baha'i International Community as a representative to the United Nations.

In addition to working at U.N. offices in Geneva, Ms. Vader will establish an office in Brussels aimed at strengthening the BIC's ties with the European Union. In that role, Ms. Vader will work closely with national-level Baha'i affiliates in the 27 countries that are members of the EU.

"With the integration of Europe moving forward at a fast pace, the Baha'i International Community decided it was time to open an office closer to the institutions of the European Union," said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations.

"In this endeavor, we are pleased to have on board Ms. Vader, who brings a high degree of expertise in dealing at the international level with businesses, civil society, and governments, as well as a comprehensive understanding of European culture and institutions."

In her work in Geneva, Ms. Vader's portfolio of issues will include human rights and the advancement of women. In Brussels, her portfolio will include all areas of concern to the Baha'i International Community and its affiliates in Europe.

Before assuming this position, Ms. Vader was associate director for the Open Forum and Special Projects at the World Economic Forum, where she had worked since 2000.

In that role, she managed the Open Forum, a series of sessions held outside the congress center during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. It brought together global business leaders and representatives of civil society to discuss globalization, poverty, and other international issues.

Her work included developing the global governance portfolio for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in 2004 and 2005 and managing civil society input to the Forum before that.

A native of Switzerland, Ms. Vader, 31, has a degree in international law from the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne. As part of her education, she did internships at the International Committee of the Red Cross and at the Paris branch of the BIC's Office of Public Information.

She has served on the national governing body of the Baha'is of Switzerland since April 2002. She is fluent in English and French and conversant in German, Italian, and Persian.

"I am pleased with this change in my professional path, and look forward to taking on the challenges of working for the Baha'i International Community, a nongovernmental organization that is active across such a wide range of issues at the United Nations and in other international organizations," said Ms. Vader.

"Through my work at the World Economic Forum, I saw the importance of bringing together governments, businesses, and civil society in a multi-stakeholder approach, so it will be of great interest to apply this experience here.

"I look forward, also, to working closely with the 27 national affiliates of the Baha'i International Community in Europe as we seek to bring our concerns to the attention of the European Union," she said.