Mallika Dutt is founder, president, and CEO. More than a decade ago, Dutt, a longtime attorney and distinguished human rights advocate, resolved to bring the values of human rights out of ivory towers and policy papers and into the lives and actions of real people. Result: a reinvented delivery of social and culture change, a space for human rights in the public dialogue, and millions of inspired individuals that are challenging the deeply entrenched norms and attitudes that fuel discrimination against women and girls.

Prior to founding Breakthrough, Mallika served as Program Officer for Human Rights and Social Justice at the Ford Foundation’s New Delhi Office. There, she initiated the Foundation’s work on police reform and forged unique partnerships among police, NGOs, and civil society groups. Mallika acted as Associate Director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, working at the forefront of the global movement for recognizing women’s rights as human rights. She also served as the director of the Norman Foundation, where she supported civil rights, economic justice, and environmental justice programs across the United States.

Dutt has served on numerous boards and committees, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Human Rights and India, the Open Society Institute’s U.S. Programs, Human Rights Watch Asia, Sister Fund, Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and WITNESS. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Games for Change Advisory Board, and the Board of Public Interest Projects. She is a co-founder of SAKHI for South Asian Women.

Dutt is frequently interviewed on national and international media and has received multiple awards. She began her career as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. She graduated from NYU Law School, received a Masters in International Affairs and South Asian Studies from Columbia University, and an A.B. in International Affairs from Mount Holyoke College. Most recently, Dutt received an honorary doctorate from Mount Holyoke College in recognition of her pioneering accomplishments.


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