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Forged in Purgatory

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Mark Sidel

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Mark Sidel is an internationally renowned legal scholar. His research focuses on comparative law as well as philanthropy, the nonprofit sector, and civil society in Asia.
University of Wisconsin-Madison, Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs http://www.wisc.edu/

Professor Mark Sidel the Outstanding Academic Award Recipient in the annual Outstanding Nonprofit Lawyer Awards for 2012. The award is given by The Nonprofit Organizations Committee of the American Bar Association, Business Law Section.

At the University of Wisconsin, he is Doyle-Bascom Professor of Law and Public Affairs. Professor Sidel's research and writing focus on the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, Asian law, law and development, comparative law, and human trafficking. Earlier he served in program positions with the Ford Foundation in Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok and New Delhi, focusing on philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, legal reform, and governance.  

Professor Mark Sidel is the son of Doctors Ruth and Victor Sidel, who in 1971 were among the first Americans to visit China after the country's long period of diplomatic isolation.  In an editorial published across China's official State media, one of China's top diplomats, Wu Jianmin, recalls the Sidels' 1971 visit in an article titled, "Relations Between People are the Foundation of Relations Between China and America."

As translated from the original Chinese article: "Relations between peoples are the foundation for relations between countries. China's diplomacy has always attached importance to nongovernmental contact. In 1971, the United States table tennis team visited China, and Premier Zhou Enlai personally met and worked with them. After that, there were a very small number of individual Americans who visited China, and Zhou Enlai received them whenever he could.  Early last year, when I visited the United States, I went to see Dr. and Mrs. Sidel, who visited China in the fall of 1971 and cordially recalled their meeting with Zhou Enlai.  After returning to the U.S. from China, they travelled widely, presenting what they had seen and describing the situation in China, and the response was very good.  Today, nongovernmental contact between China and the United States can barely be compared to 1971. Then the contacts involved a handful of people, while today three million people travel between China and the United States each year.  I believe that those three million are just a start, and that the potential for such exchanges between China and the United States is enormous."

Professor Sidel has published numerous scholarly and policy articles on the nonprofit sector and a number of books, including State, Society and the Market in Contemporary Vietnam: Property, Power and Values (Routledge, forthcoming 2012, ed. with Tai), Regulation of the Voluntary Sector: Freedom and Security in an Age of Uncertainty (Routledge 2010), and Philanthropy and Law in South Asia (APPC 2004, ed. with Iftekhar Zaman, updated ed. 2007)

In addition to his academic work, Professor 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; and Senior Fellow at The Philanthropic Initiative (Boston). 

Professor 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 Asia advisory board of Human Rights Watch; Maxwell School Transnational NGO Initiative at Syracuse University; Kumarian Press; and other organizations. 

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