Innovation in Human Rights

Mallika Dutt is the President and CEO of Breakthrough, a global human rights organization that uses the power of media, pop culture and community mobilization to inspire people to take bold action for dignity, equality and justice. Through award-winning initiatives in India and the United States, Breakthrough addresses critical global issues including violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS, racial justice, and immigrant rights.

As the President of Breakthrough, Mallika has spearheaded the use of art and culture as an essential strategy for mainstreaming the global dialogue on human rights. She has conceived and led Breakthrough's award-winning campaigns on violence against women and immigration reform that have reached millions. She has amplified the project of bringing human rights home through groundbreaking and unlikely partnerships ranging from grass-roots community organizations to the entertainment industry. Mallika has overseen Breakthrough's evolution from a single campaign to a global leader in advancing human rights through cutting edge multimedia and pop culture tools.

Prior to founding Breakthrough, Mallika served as Program Officer for Human Rights at the Ford Foundation's New Delhi Office where she initiated the Foundation's work in police reform and forged unique partnerships between police, NGOs, and civil society groups. Mallika also acted as the Associate Director of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, and was at the forefront of the global movement for gaining recognition for women's rights as human rights.

Mallika is a co-founder of SAKHI for South Asian Women and has served on several boards and committees, including WITNESS, the Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project and Asia Watch, The Sister Fund, Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and the US NGO Coordinating Committee for the UN World Conference Against Racism. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and currently serves on Boards of the Open Society Institute US Programs, and Games for Change, and on the Rights Working Group Steering Committee.

The recipient of several awards, Mallika began her career as an Associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. She graduated from NYU Law School in 1989, received a Masters in International Affairs and South Asian Studies from Columbia University in 1996, and an A.B. in International Affairs from Mt. Holyoke College in 1983.

Mallika has authored several influential articles and essays including the widely referenced "With Liberty and Justice for All: Women's Human Rights in the United States." She was also the co-author of the globally utilized manual, "Local Action Global Change: Learning About the Human Rights of Women and Girls,"which has been translated into more than ten languages.

Mallika is frequently interviewed in the national and international media including BBC, The New York Times, India Today, FOX News, and Verve. She is also a member of She Source, a media organization that connects journalists and women policy shapers to enrich the public discourse on critical issues.