Mark V. Vlasic


Senior Fellow, Institute for Law, Science & Global Security, Georgetown; Senior Fellow, Institute of International Economic Law, Georgetown; Principal, Madison Law & Strategy Group PLLC, Adjunct Professor of Law

B.S., J.D., Georgetown; NAF-Fulbright Scholar, Leiden University; Certificate in Private and Public International Law, The Hague Academy of International Law

Mark V. Vlasic has served as a soldier, a lawyer, a prosecutor, a professor, and a diplomat, and has worked for the White House, the...

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Mark V. Vlasic has served as a soldier, a lawyer, a prosecutor, a professor, 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, trade and general public policy matters. Focused on issues related to international law, business diplomacy, public-private partnerships, human rights, social responsibility, stakeholder engagement, non-profit, and stolen asset recovery-related matters, Mark 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. Mark also serves as an expert advisor to the European Centre for Dispute Resolution and as counselor to the Antiquities Coalition.

Mark's private practice background includes: working with international organizations, sovereign governments, foundations, multinational corporations and NGOs regarding complex international law, trade, human rights, public policy and strategy matters, including World Bank/International Finance Corporation/United Nations collaboration/procurement/sustainability/clean energy 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 and an “innovation hub” in Botswana), and social responsibility issues; providing advice regarding business diplomacy, 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 embargos, export controls, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mark has also worked on rule of law/transitional justice/anti-corruption/constitutional law matters in Bosnia, Brazil, Georgia, Iraq, Libya 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, Mark 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, Mark 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, Mark was competitively selected and appointed by the President to serve as a White House Fellow. Mark 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,” Mark was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service by Secretary Robert M. Gates, the highest non-career public service award in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Prior to his government service, Mark 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. Mark 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, Mark has lectured at numerous institutions on both sides of the Atlantic, including British Parliament, Oxford University, Yale Law School, the NATO School, the U.S. Military Academy, Moscow State University, the Hague Academy of International Law, the Baltic Defense College, and the Danish Center for Human Rights. Mark 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.

Mark has provided legal commentary to BBC, BBC World, CNN, CNN International, CBS, FOX News, NPR, CTV, CBC News, Bloomberg News, Al Jazeera English, bloggingheads.tv, 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 International Herald Tribune, The Atlantic, the Washington Times, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The Nation, CNN.com, 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 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 four books: The Responsibility to Protect: the promise of stopping mass atrocities in our time (Oxford), 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. He serves on the Board of Directors of the NCAC Fulbright Association and Humanity in Action, Inc., and recently completed his second term as Secretary of the White House Fellows Foundation. He also serves on the Senior Advisory Board of Atlas Service Corps, the International Advisory Council of the Fulbright Academy of Science & Technology, the Board of Counselors for Young Professionals in Foreign Policy, the Advisory Council and the High Level Piracy Working Group of the Public International Law & Policy Group, and the Advisory Boards of the American Slovenian Education Foundation, the Ladies International Foundation, the Syria Justice & Accountability Centre, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Disability Rights Award, which is awarded by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

In 2013, the World Economic Forum in Davos honored Mark as a Young Global Leader. Mark is a Fellow in the United Nations 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 Asset Recovery Experts Network, 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. Mark 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 90 countries.

After attending public schools and UCLA in California, Mark 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. Mark conducted his post-doctorate research at Universiteit Leiden as a NAF-Fulbright Scholar to the Netherlands, and recently completed the World Economic Forum’s leadership course at Oxford University’s Said Business School. Mark 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.

In the News

Where culture meets terrorism: art and the ongoing fight to save history,” a piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, in The Huffington Post, May 12, 2016.

"How can we stop ISIS and the trafficking of our cultural heritage?," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00, in the World Economic Forum, August 31, 2015.

"The Senseless Death of Mr. Palmyra," Foreign Policy, August 20, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00

"West Seeks Tighter Curbs on Trade in Antiquities Looted by Islamic State," Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00.

The Tomb Raiders of Mesopotamia: Fighting ISIL, terrorism financing and saving our cultural heritage,” a piece in the Huffington Post, March 24, 2015, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, L'00.

View all News

All News

Where culture meets terrorism: art and the ongoing fight to save history,” a piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, in The Huffington Post, May 12, 2016.

"How can we stop ISIS and the trafficking of our cultural heritage?," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00, in the World Economic Forum, August 31, 2015.

"The Senseless Death of Mr. Palmyra," Foreign Policy, August 20, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00

"West Seeks Tighter Curbs on Trade in Antiquities Looted by Islamic State," Wall Street Journal, March 30, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00.

The Tomb Raiders of Mesopotamia: Fighting ISIL, terrorism financing and saving our cultural heritage,” a piece in the Huffington Post, March 24, 2015, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, L'00.

"ISIS’ war on Mideast culture," coverage in The Post and Courier, March 17, 2015, featuring Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00.

ISIS’ Destruction of Antiques at Mosul, Nimrud Hides Sinister Moneymaking Scheme,” coverage in U.S. News & World Report, March 9, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, L'00.

Calculating the Revenue From Antiquities to Islamic State,” coverage in The Wall Street Journal, February 11, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

Culture Brigade: Syrian ‘Monuments Men’ Race to Protect Antiquities as Looting Bankrolls Terror,” coverage in The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2015, quoting Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

"Myanmar and the Dodd-Frank Whistleblower “Bounty”: The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Curbing Grand Corruption Through Innovative Action," an article by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, in The American University International Law Review, December 2014.

"Congressional Monuments Men? The Role of Congress in Fighting Terrorist Financing, While Preserving Our Cultural Heritage," an opinion piece in The World Post by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, December 6, 2014.

"The plunder of antiquities funding Isil," an opinion piece in gulfnews.com, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, September 16, 2014.

"Islamic State sells ‘blood antiquities’ from Iraq and Syria to raise money," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, in The Washington Post, September 14, 2014.

"World Cup fever hits diplomatic Washington," coverage in The Washington Post, June 13, 2014, featuring Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic.

"Tomb Raiders and Returns: Recovering Cambodian Antiquities and Our Collective Culture," an opinion piece in The Huffington Post, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, May 23, 2014.

"An Allied Effort to Save History," an opinion piece in The Huffington Post, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, March 23, 2014.

“Bosnia: The European unrest we should be talking about,” coverage in Salon, February 24, 2014, featuring Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

"The End of Dayton? With Bosnia on Fire, What Comes Next," an opinion piece in The Huffington Post, by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, February 21, 2014.

"Why Should We Care about Saving Syria's Antiquities?," an opinion piece in The Record, by Professor Mark Vlasic, December 16, 2013.

"Guatemala's Rios Montt and an end to impunity," Miami Herald, May 22, 2013, an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

"FCPA "bounties" and democratising the global fight against corruption," UNCAC, May 21, 2013, an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

"When Museums Do the Right Thing," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, and Tess Davis in the New York Times, May 17, 2013.

"When Museums Do the Right Thing," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, and Tess Davis in the New York Times, May 17, 2013.

"A President's Legal Legacy: Stolen Asset Recovery and the Rule for All," Diplomatic Courier, January 30, 2013, an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic.

"What a Bosnian Mass Grave Can Teach Us about Syria's Civil War," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, in The Atlantic, December 18, 2012.

"What a Bosnian Mass Grave Can Teach Us about Syria's Civil War," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, in The Atlantic, December 18, 2012.

"How the World Took a Step Closer to Ending Impunity," a blog post by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, B'96, L'00, on CNN, July 13, 2012.

"Should Cambodian 'Blood Antiquities' Be Returned?," an opinion piece by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00, and Tess Davis on CNN.com, June 7, 2012.

"International Stolen Asset Recovery As a Development Issue - A World Bank President's Legacy?," a piece by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, B'96, L'00, in the Huffington Post, April 21, 2012.

"Gaddafi's Mission: An 'Arab Spring' Example of Asset Recovery," a piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, in the Huffington Post, March 30, 2012.

"Fighting Pirates with Paper: How the Law of the Sea Is Important in the Fight Against Piracy," a piece by Adjunct Professor Mark V. Vlasic, B'96, L'00, in the Huffington Post, March 1, 2012.

"Getting Back the Bad Guy's Loot," an op-ed by Adjunct Professor Mark Vlasic, L'00, in the New York Times, January 19, 2012.

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