White House Fellow, Department of Defense
After attending the Academy of Achievement Summit in 2007, Mark Vlasic returned to work for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Mark describes Secretary Gates as an “outstanding public servant,” and he noted that the highlights of his time in the SECDEF’s office included helping to get agricultural advisers to serve with Provincial Reconstruction Teams, assisting with bilateral and multilateral meetings throughout the world, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as having the opportunity to fly an F-16 fighter jet, his “childhood dream job.” Mark’s service as a White House Fellow also included providing assistance to the President’s Special Envoy to Sudan, where he worked on Darfur-related issues while on mission with the Special Envoy in Africa and Europe.
After completing his appointment at the White House and the Pentagon, Mark took time to backpack through Patagonia and Colombia, before transitioning to serve as the head of operations of the joint UN-World Bank Stolen Asset Recovery (StAR) Initiative. Established by President Robert Zoellick as his first initiative at the Bank, StAR serves to assist developing countries in recovering stolen assets from past grand corruption cases. While helping manage the StAR Secretariat’s casework, Mark worked with “dedicated and hard working” officials in Haiti and Switzerland, as well as with colleagues at the UN and the Bank, to help obtain a Swiss order to return millions of dollars plundered by Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier to Haiti.
Mark recently left the World Bank in order to split time between a Washington, DC law firm practice (www.wardlawdc.com), where he is focused on international law, international trade, asset recovery, and business diplomacy issues, and Georgetown University, where he serves as a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Law, Science and Global Security. In addition to his teaching, writing and legal practice, Mark is looking forward to reading “The Other Wes Moore,” written by his White House Fellow classmate, Wes Moore.