Douglas Rutzen

President and CEO
Member Ex-Officio, Board of Directors
Washington, D.C. (ICNL Headquarters)

Douglas Rutzen is President and CEO of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), which has worked in over 100 countries to develop the legal framework for civil society, public participation, and philanthropy.  Doug is also an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches international civil society law. Under Doug’s leadership, ICNL received a 2012 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the organizational analogue to MacArthur’s “genius award” for individuals.

Doug serves on the Community of Democracies’ Working Group on Enabling and Protecting Civil Society, along with government representatives from Botswana, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Mongolia, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, and the United States.  Doug also co-chairs the State Department’s Global Philanthropy Working Group.  In addition, Doug runs training programs for diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute and has spoken at meetings organized by the Brazilian government, Chinese government, Swedish government, Work Bank, USAID, various UN agencies, and scores of civil society organizations.

Doug serves on the advisory boards/steering committees of the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law, Hudson Institute’s Index of Philanthropic Freedom, the Charity and Security Network, and the United States International Grantmaking Project.  From 2004-2010, Doug served as Chair of the East-West Management Institute. 

Doug previously taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Central European University.  In addition, Doug has written a textbook on international civil society law and has published in the Harvard International Review and a number of other prominent publications.  

Upon the country’s transition to democracy, Doug served as Legal Advisor to the Czechoslovak Parliament and taught at Charles Law Faculty in Prague.  Doug was also an associate at Coudert Brothers, where he worked on international law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court litigation.

Doug undertook pioneering work to hold state sponsors of terrorism legally responsible for their actions, serving as co-counsel on the first case against Libya for the destruction of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which resulted in a $2.7 billion settlement.

Doug first began working with civil society in the mid 1980’s, when he served as a consultant to Helen Keller International in Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Doug is a graduate of Yale Law School, with undergraduate studies at Cornell and Oxford (Worcester College).

Return to Staff List