After infancy in Korea, Natasha Wauthion lands in a French-speaking Belgian family. Thus, she passes her youth and schooling in Belgium, from where she completes, at the conclusion of five years of study (1983-1988), her master’s degree in law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (U.L.B.), with a major in public & commercial law. For her extra-curricular activity, from secondary school, she is active within Amnesty International to fight cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatments, and to promote the release of prisoners of opinion.
At the end of her Belgian studies, she chooses to leave for Japan, initially to learn Japanese for two years, then to work in the French business law firm, Gide Loyrette Nouel, for another three years, where she plays the role of interface between the French firm and the Japanese law partner, dealing with the Japanese side in company law and contract law.
After five years of gaining experience in Japan (1989-1993), she decides to return to Belgium to pass the bar training at the Brussels Bar and to obtain the Bar License (C.A.P.A.). Throughout her training (1994-1997), she simultaneously deals with files of foreign investments as attorney associate in the Belgian business law firm Dewit & Associés, where she is in charge of the China Section. In addition, she handles lawsuits in criminal, civil, or family matters as attorney trainee at the Brussels Court of Justice within the framework of legal aid (pro bono).
In parallel, she sets up the Korea Belgium Association (Kobel), assuming the presidency during two years (1996-1997). She must build the structure : to incorporate the statutes and the social objectives, to recruit the directors, to chair the meetings of the board, to create the monthly review (Kobel News), to organize the database of the members, to conceive activities such as the monthly Kobel Meeting or the annual ‘parrainage’, to organize large-scale events such as music concerts and the first Korean Movie Festival in Belgium, to find sponsorship and do fundraising, to set up public relations arrangements with Belgian & Korean officials, and to do the networking for the promotion of Kobel. These are only the most significant tasks.
At the end of her Bar training, she turns to the area of international legal and judicial co-operation. She succeeds in being hired by the United Nations, via its Centre for Human Rights, to be sent to Cambodia, in order to open a new office in a remote province (Prey Veng). Her broadly-based mandate ranges from investigations over violations of human rights to the diplomatic negotiations with local authorities (provincial governor, military commander, police commissioner); also involved was training of soldiers and police officers connected with human rights. As well, she was busy with coaching of some Cambodian judges & lawyers and, in addition, with the administrative and financial management of a new office and of its personnel.
In October 1998, Natasha Wauthion is invited by the first Korean democratically-elected President, Kim Dae-Jung, to join a delegation of thirty young Koreans selected from all over the world, playing a prominent role in the civil society. She is the only representative of French-speaking Europe. By this historical gesture, President Kim Dae-Jung wants to mark the opening of Korea to the world and to note the recognition of the Korean diaspora by the young nation.
At the conclusion of this rich but intense Cambodian experience (1998), she returns to Belgium where she again takes service with the law firm Dewit (1999). She is then recruited in 2000 by the Belgian Ministry for the Interior, inside the Immigration Office, where she is assigned to the Political Asylum Section. Initially, she is in charge of interviewing the convention refugees’ applicants and gathering the pieces of evidence regarding their eligibility. Very quickly, however, she is promoted and invited, in her capacity as human rights lawyer, to take part in the process of analysis and of decision-making regarding the refugees’ applications.
At the same time, in 2000, she follows a training course in positive conflict management, obtaining her certificate from the University of Peace in Belgium. The themes of nonviolent communication and respectful listening are very important in her professional development, as well as in her daily life. They are applicable in a general way, because they reflect her vision of the way interactions with other should be proceeded.
Recommended by her former boss, Mr. Bernard Dewit, she is selected by the European Union, among forty other successful applicants, to profit from the grant EU-China Junior Managers Training Program (intake 2000-2001). Thus, as the representative of Belgium, she leaves for China, initially to study Chinese at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (B.F.S.U. – ‘Beiwai’), then to be trained to do business with the Chinese. Within the framework of this European program, she participates in an internship, later transformed into a foreign expert contract, with the German project of intergovernmental co-operation, G.T.Z. Advisory Services to the Legal Reform in China. She is in charge of organizing advanced trainings in comparative economic law for the benefit of the Chinese civil servants of MOFTEC (Ministry of Foreign Trade & Economic Development). She also conceives the China Law Digest, a bilingual collection of Chinese economic laws.
In 2003, she helps a new American organization to set up in China. International Bridges to Justice (I.B.J.) operates in the field of defense rights, the criminal side of human rights. In this project, the Chinese partner is the Ministry of Justice, via its National Legal Aid Centre (N.L.A.C.), as well as its network of 2,500 local centres spread in the various Chinese provinces. As the China representative of IBJ, she holds many responsibilities : in particular, negotiating with the Chinese authorities, representing IBJ in the media, organizing seminars and workshops for the Chinese judges and lawyers, playing the role of interface between Chinese experts and American specialists, coordinating and supervising a Chinese-English bilingual handbook of procedure regarding criminal representation and defense.
After a personal visit, immersing herself in meeting her Korean birth family, and after having explored most of the underdeveloped rural China, she leaves the Far East in 2006 permanently to go to live on a third continent, North America.
Since August 2006, Natasha Wauthion is settled in Canada. She has been devoting herself in many community projects related to mental health, palliative care, support to the seniors, French literacy and supervised visits between non-custodial parents and their children in highly sensitive family cases. She has also been trained in mental health, in palliative care and in symptom management.
Natasha Wauthion is a member of the Association of French-Speaking Lawyers of Ontario (AJEFO).
Ms. Natasha Wauthion
1252 Ilona Park Road
Telephone 1 : 647-523-0080
Email : Natasha@inbox.com
Last Update : 2011-04-07