Mark Vlasic

CEFP Board of Advisors


Mark V. Vlasic has served as a soldier, a lawyer, a prosecutor, a professor, a producer, and a diplomat, and has worked for the White House, the Pentagon, the World Bank, the United Nations, and a large international law firm. He is currently a senior fellow and adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University and a principal at Madison Law & Strategy Group pllc, where he heads the firm’s international practice, and provides legal and strategic advice to clients on international affairs, international trade, cross-border transactions and general public policy matters. Focused on issues related to international law, private/corporate diplomacy, public-private partnerships, human rights, social responsibility/impact, strategic philanthropy, stakeholder/community engagement and asset recovery-related matters, Professor Vlasic helps clients identify key stakeholders from the political, regulatory and NGO sectors, and works with clients to develop and execute strategies to achieve sustainable results. Professor Vlasic also serves as an outside pro bono ITAC advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and is an executive producer for the action-adventure social impact television series BLOOD & Treasure with CBS Television Studios and Propagate Content in Hollywood.

Sharing his time between California and Washington, DC, Professor Vlasic’s private practice background includes: working with international organizations, sovereign governments, foundations, family offices, multinational corporations and NGOs regarding complex international law, trade, human rights, public policy and strategy matters, including World Bank/IFC/United Nations collaboration/procurement/sustainability/clean energy/land development issues, electronic/green currencies, stolen antiquities, state succession/boundary issues, sovereign property matters, human rights/prison abuse investigations, combating politically motivated prosecutions and INTERPOL “red notice” arrest warrant abuse issues, international land development/architectural projects (including an “tech city” in Kenya, an “innovation hub” in Botswana and a “sustainable city” in South Africa), and social responsibility/strategic philanthropy issues; providing advice regarding private diplomacy and international corporate diplomacy/international business development, defense/security matters, public-private partnerships, international banking/project finance, and international arbitration/litigation issues (including at the European Court of Human Rights); participating in asset recovery, cartel, foreign corruption, and securities fraud investigations/matters around the world (including the Charles Taylor/Liberia and Muammar Gaddafi/Libya asset recovery cases); and, advising clients on the application and enforcement of U.S. economic sanctions and embargoes, export controls, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, including regarding projects in, and engagement with, Cuba. Professor Vlasic has also worked on rule of law/transitional justice/anti-corruption/constitutional law matters in Bosnia, Brazil, Georgia, Iraq, Montenegro, Libya, Rwanda and Serbia, and advised companies subject to investigations and enforcement actions by the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Justice, and Treasury, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Prior to his return to academia and private practice, Professor Vlasic was a public sector specialist at the World Bank Group, where he served as the first head of operations of the Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative, launched by President Robert Zoellick and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to help developing countries recover stolen assets from past dictators and grand corruption cases. A member of StAR’s management team, Professor Vlasic was responsible for country engagements on four continents, furthered bilateral relations with major financial centers, foreign governments and civil society organizations, and worked on the Sani Abacha/Nigeria, Jean-Claude Duvalier/Haiti cases, among others.

Before joining the Bank, Professor Vlasic was competitively selected and appointed by the President to serve as a White House Fellow. He served as a special assistant to the Secretary of Defense (focused on foreign policy issues and bilateral relations) and advisor to the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan. In recognition of his contributions to the Department, including being a “valuable member of Secretary of Defense’s official delegations to Europe, Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East, and to NATO Defense Ministerial meetings,” Professor Vlasic was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service by Secretary Robert M. Gates.

Prior to his government service, Professor Vlasic practiced law in the litigation, public policy, banking, and international trade practice groups at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, and served as a prosecution attorney at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, where he was a member of the Slobodan Milosevic and General Radislav Krstic (Srebrenica) trial and investigative teams, and focused on mass executions and genocide in Bosnia. As a U.S. Army officer, he has been attached to units on Capitol Hill and at the Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Professor Vlasic has also served in the Executive Office of the President, Office of the United States Trade Representative, where he worked on WTO Ministerial issues.

An adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center and senior fellow at Georgetown’s Institute for Law, Science & Global Security, and the Institute of International Economic Law, Professor Vlasic is a faculty member with the Georgetown Environment Initiative and Georgetown’s Center on National Security & the Law. He has served on the UN Special Rapporteur for Culture’s Expert Group, and has lectured at numerous institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, including British Parliament, Oxford University, Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the NATO School, the U.S. Military Academy, The Hague Academy of International Law, the Baltic Defense College, the Danish Center for Human Rights, and the University of Michigan, where he delivered a Commencement Address. Professor Vlasic served on the U.S. Delegation to the Pan Am 103 “Lockerbie” (Libyan) terrorist bombing trial in the Netherlands, and in 2005, he was part of a select team of international experts that helped train the Iraqi judges that tried Saddam Hussein. He is a collaborator with the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network and has briefed the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Anti-Terrorism & Proliferation Financing.

Professor Vlasic has provided legal commentary to BBC, BBC World, CNN, CNN International, CBS, FOX News, NPR, CTV, CBC News, Bloomberg News, Al Jazeera English,, the World Economic Forum, Voice of America, the History News Network, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, the Wall Street Journal, TIME, the Washington Post, The Times of London, the Christian Science Monitor, the Guardian, Correio Braziliense, El País, De Groene Amsterdammer, and USA Today, and been published by The New York Times, The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, The Atlantic, the Washington Times, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The Agenda by the World Economic Forum, the University of Oxford’s Journal of International Criminal Justice, the Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights, the Georgetown Journal of International Law, the Durham Law Review, the American University International Law Review, the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, the Yale Journal of International Affairs, the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, The Tax Lawyer, the Miami Herald, USA Today, The World Post/Huffington Post, the Guardian, the Toronto Star, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation, The National Post,, the Cayman Financial Review, Legal Times, India Times, Arab News, Americas Quarterly, the Ventura County Star, Al Jazeera Online, and the Sudan Tribune. He has also contributed to seven books: The Palgrave Handbook of Criminal and Terrorism Financing Law (Palgrave); The Responsibility to Protect: the promise of stopping mass atrocities in our time (Oxford), Prosecuting Maritime Piracy (Cambridge), International Conflicts & Mediation (DGP/CNPq/UNFA), The Business Case for Sustainable Finance (Routledge), Responsibility to Protect in Theory and Practice (GV Zalozba), and The Encyclopedia of Transnational Crime and Justice (Sage).

In 2010, the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce appointed Mark to serve on their Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Services & Finance Industries, as was he selected to serve as a designated representative to the Secretary of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council. Invited to serve on the board of directors, advisory boards and advisory groups of numerous institutions and non-profits, his current and past board-related work includes service with: Kinecta Financial Management Company, LLC; Kinecta Federal Credit Union (Supervisory Committee); the NCAC Fulbright Association; Humanity in Action, Inc.; the White House Fellows Foundation; Atlas Service Corps; the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology; Young Professionals in Foreign Policy; the Public International Law & Policy Group; the American Slovenian Education Foundation; Ladies America; FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power; the Syria Justice & Accountability Centre; the Global Teacher Prize; the Heritage in War Project (Stockholm University/Open University); the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award (awarded by the UN Secretary-General);, Open Screenplay and AnchorFree Inc.

In 2013, the World Economic Forum in Davos honored Professor Vlasic as a Young Global Leader. He now co-chairs its YGL SDG Advisory Council. He is also a Fellow in the UN Alliance of Civilizations, the British American Project, the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program, the U.S.-Spain Council’s and the American Swiss Foundation’s Young Leaders Programs, and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations’ and the Council for the United States & Italy’s Young Leaders Forums, and serves as a member of the Vatican’s Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation, the Asset Recovery Experts Network, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in San Remo, Italy, and the Atlantik-Brucke’s German-American Young Leaders Program. He is listed in Who’s Who in the World and Who’s Who in International Humanitarian Law/International Criminal Law, was profiled as an “International Lawyer” in Esquire and as an “International Crusader” in Washington Life, and was honored by the BMW Foundation as a “Responsible Leader” and by the Development Executive Group (DEVEX) as an “international development renaissance man” and “Top 40 Under 40” in international development. Professor Vlasic was awarded the inaugural Frank Wheat Award (Gibson Dunn’s pro bono lawyer of the year award) for his assistance to the Iraqi judiciary and the Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship, and has worked, studied and traveled in over 99 countries.

After attending public schools and UCLA in California, Professor Vlasic studied business, theology and government at Georgetown University while on an Army ROTC scholarship, received his Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center, and was awarded Certificates in Public and Private International Law from The Hague Academy of International Law. Professor Vlasic conducted his post-doctorate research at Universiteit Leiden as a NAF-Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands, and his executive leadership training with the World Economic Forum’s programs at Oxford University’s Said Business School and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Professor Vlasic is a member of the Bars of California, the District of Columbia, and the Supreme Court of the United States, and is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Full Bio see latest analysis