Collaborative Doers for Humanity

Mark Sidel

Mark Sidel

(CARTHA Board member, September 2006 to August 2008)
Professor of Law
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

AB (History), Princeton University, 1979
MA (History), Yale University, 1982
JD, Columbia Law School, 1985

Research Interests:
Nonprofit and philanthropic organizations in the United States and in comparative perspective
Civil society and the law
Comparative constitutionalism, particularly in China, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia
Human trafficking


Mark Sidel is Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin. He recently completed service as President of the International Society for Third Sector Research (ISTR), the international academic association working to strengthen research on civil society, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.

In addition to his academic work, Sidel currently serves on the Council on Foundations Community Foundations National Standards Board, the national accrediting and standard setting body for American community foundations and trusts; as consultant to the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) for its MacArthur Foundation-funded project to assist in the development of nonprofit law in China; consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on legal and judicial reform and strengthening civil society in Vietnam; Senior Fellow at The Philanthropic Initiative (Boston); and consultant to JP Morgan Chase on philanthropy in the Asia Pacific region.

Professor Sidel has served as Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po, in the "chaire Asie"), Victoria, Vermont and Miami law schools and other institutions, and as W. G. Hart Lecturer in Law at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in the University of London. In 2008 he won the ICNL-Cordaid Civil Liberties Prize for his work on the impact of anti-terrorism law on civil society in comparative perspective. He is a graduate of Princeton University (A.B. in history, 1979), Yale University (M.A. in history, 1982), and Columbia Law School (J.D., 1985).

Professor Sidel's research and writing focus on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy (with a focus on Asia and the United States); Asian law; law and development; comparative law; and human trafficking.

In addition to scholarly and policy articles, his books include:

  • Regulation of the Voluntary Sector: Freedom and Security in an Age of Uncertainty (Routledge 2010)
  • The Constitution of Vietnam: A Contextual Analysis (Hart 2009)
  • Law and Society in Vietnam (Cambridge University Press 2008)
  • Cinema, Law, and the State in Asia (Palgrave MacMillan 2007, ed. with Corey Creekmur)
  • Vietnam's New Order: International Perspectives on the State and Reform (Palgrave Macmillan 2006, ed. with Stephanie Balme)
  • More Secure, Less Free? Antiterrorism Policy and Civil Liberties after September 11 (University of Michigan Press 2004, updated 2nd ed. 2007)
  • Philanthropy and Law in South Asia (APPC 2004, ed. with Iftekhar Zaman, updated ed. 2007
  • Old Hanoi (Oxford University Press, 1998)

Sidel's work has also appeared in Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Michigan Law Review, Michigan Journal of International Law, Pittsburgh Law Review, Texas International Law Journal, Tulane Law Review, UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal, UC Davis Law Review, Chicago-Kent Law Review, Voluntas, China Quarterly, Asian Survey, SAIS Review, Signs, and other academic and professional journals, as well as in edited volumes. He also serves as editor for the Routledge book series on Civil Society in Asia.

Sidel has extensive and senior experience in international philanthropic and funding communities. He first served on the Ford Foundation team that established the Foundation's office in China and as the Foundation's first program officer for law, legal reform, and nonprofit organizations based in China (Beijing). Then, in the early and mid-1990s, he developed and managed all of Ford's programs in Vietnam. Later he developed and managed the regional program on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector for the Ford Foundation in South Asia (New Delhi). Sidel also served on the Ford Foundation's Endowment Working Group and as a drafter of the Foundation's endowment handbook. For the Foundation, he is currently conducting an oral history of the development of Ford's work in China, where the Foundation has been the key foreign philanthropic actor for over 25 years.

Before coming to Wisconsin, Sidel served as Professor of Law, Lauridsen Family Fellow, and Faculty Scholar at the University of Iowa. Sidel also serves on the board of directors of the Crane-Rogers Foundation (Institute of Current World Affairs) and the Society of American Law Teachers (SALT). He serves on the advisory boards of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL); the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Ciyuan Philanthropy Initiative in China; the University of Iowa Press; Maxwell School Transnational NGO Initiative at Syracuse University; Bridge to Asia; Kumarian Press; and YMCA Camp Wapsie (Coggon, Iowa). Sidel is a member of the editorial boards of the Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly; Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations; the Australian Journal of Asian Law (Melbourne); and the Journal of Comparative Law (London).

Professor Sidel has also served as the sole litigative consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice in the largest prosecution of slavery, human trafficking and involuntary servitude since the Civil War, a criminal case involving the servitude of several hundred Vietna-mese and Chinese women garment workers (U.S. v. Kil Soo Lee et al), and has served as a consultant to the U.S. State Department on human trafficking and labor law issues.

Sidel practiced law with Baker & McKenzie in New York, Beijing and Hong Kong and is a non-active member of the New York bar. He speaks and reads Chinese and reads Vietnamese.

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