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The Vance Center

The Vance Center strengthens democratic transition by engaging lawyers across borders to advance fundamental justice in countries undertaking legal and institutional reform. 


The Vance Center is constituted by practicing lawyers committed to providing and promoting pro bono legal service to support civil society and social justice. The Center collaborates with the committees of the New York City Bar Association, law firms, NGO's, law schools and lawyers' organizations throughout the world.


The Vance Center premises its engagement on the unique role of lawyers as agents of good governance and the public interest: independent intermediaries implementing the procedures and principles comprising rule of law and advocating for the equality and rights of individuals.


The Vance Center employs the approach to international justice developed and practiced by the late Cyrus R. Vance, prominent private lawyer and former US Secretary of State: collaborative, pragmatic conflict resolution based on ironclad adherence to honest dealing and basic human rights. 

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January 2013
 Vance Center eNotes
Welcome to the Vance Center eNotes, where you can read about our organization's latest news and developments.
Vance Center Becomes ILAC's Newest Council Member Organization


At its last meeting, the Council of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) decided unanimously to include the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice as a member of its legal services consortium. Member organizations regularly convene to recommend ways to improve the international community's approach to post-conflict justice and to judicial rehabilitation during a post-conflict period. ILAC coordinates with its member organizations to develop post-conflict assessments of what is needed to rebuild workable justice systems. A few examples of their work include:     

  • In January 2013, a delegation composed of experts selected from ILAC's member organizations visited Libya to examine the needs of the justice sector, the demands likely to be imposed on it in the context of Libya's ongoing transition to democracy, and ways in which support might be provided in overcoming these challenges.       
  • A November 2011 joint fact-finding and training mission to Libya with the Arab Organisation for Human Rights (AOHR) and Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) to engage the Libyan legal community concerning rule of law development and reform priorities.   

The Vance Center's membership to ILAC signals a valuable partnership with an international network of human rights institutions, NGOs, and bar associations to help find sustainable solutions for democratic transitions.   

Media Freedom


Media freedom remains tenuous in some parts of the world, even while ownership concentration raises concerns in the United States.  The Vance Center considers free speech, press and information to be a cornerstone of its programmatic work. For this reason, it has embarked on a broad effort of pro bono legal assistance to the African Media Initiative (AMI). 


The African Media Initiative is a pan-African organization headquartered in Kenya. AMI's aim is to strengthen the media sector, from an owner and operator perspective, so that it plays its full role in promoting social development, economic growth and in empowering citizens to hold governments and other institutions to account. AMI's core pillars focuses on technological innovation and adaptation, building an ethical leadership cadre within African media houses, developing the necessary financing mechanisms for media sustainability and conducting market intelligence.  


The Vance Center has enlisted five international law firms in assisting AMI in a range of projects. These include: analysis of media regulations in countries where AMI is most active in supporting its members to develop and manage independent media businesses; analysis of the challenges to media regulation arising from the digital transformation in media; and advice with respect to codes of conduct for media businesses.


In this initiative, the Vance Center is collaborating with the Communications and Media Law Committee of the City Bar, which in turn has a established an expert working group focusing particularly on the analysis of how the digital transformation is challenging media regulation.  Six members of the Committee, from corporate law departments and law firms, form the working group, which includes Vance Center Committee member David McCraw of the New York Times Company.

In addition to AMI, the Vance Center currently is assisting Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF) to explore additional models for sourcing funding for its mission-driven investment program, which supports independent news outlets in countries with a history of media oppression. MDIF provides low-cost capital and technical know-how to help journalists in challenging environments build sustainable businesses around professional, responsible, quality journalism. The Vance Center has enlisted a team of specialists at an international firm to advise MDIF in developing an innovative funding and investment structure.

The Vance Center Welcomes New Committee Members


The Vance Center welcomes two new members of the Vance Center Committee. The Committee, which is composed of senior partners from international law firms, senior counsel at corporate legal departments, and public servants, supports the Vance Center staff on program strategy, development, and implementation.




Marcelo A. Mottesi 

Kenneth Rivlin 

Marcelo A. Mottesi
is a partner in the New York office of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.  Mr. Mottesi is head of the firm's Global Securities Group and a member of Milbank's Latin America Practice Group. A partner since 1999, Mr. Mottesi's practice centers on capital markets, finance and corporate matters. His clients include US and foreign banks and underwriting firms, as well as domestic and foreign companies.  He has extensive experience across a broad range of industries, including energy, telecommunications, financial services, forestry/agriculture, technology, manufacturing, real estate, entertainment and retail.

Kenneth Rivlin is head of Allen & Overy's Global Environmental Law Group, U.S. Environmental and Regulatory Law Group and U.S. Pro Bono Program. He and his team advise on environmental and regulatory risk in M&A, projects, capital markets, lending and real estate transactions, compliance with U.S. and EU environmental requirements, emissions trading and climate change, environmental disputes, toxic tort risk, SEC disclosure requirements and corporate governance issues. Ken also advises on the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, dealings with countries sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Exon-Florio and similar matters.

Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice | |
Phone: (212) 382-6680. Address: 42 West 44th Street, New York, NY 10036