Mallika Dutt is founder, president, and CEO of global human rights organization Breakthrough and one of today’s most innovative, admired, and effective leaders in cultural transformation. Dutt has reinvented the delivery of social and behavioral change through a potent mix of stirring multimedia campaigns, cutting-edge pop culture, smart social media and authentic on-the-ground community engagement. Her unique formula has earned her accolades in the global human rights community, the media and entertainment industry, and the technology community.
Dutt’s passionate entrepreneurial style and singular ability to pinpoint the leading edge of the cultural arc has inspired millions to take bold action. Those touched by Breakthrough’s work are motivated to bring the ideals of dignity, equality and justice into their own families and communities — even when doing so requires challenging deeply entrenched norms and attitudes. As a result, Breakthrough lifts the lives of people in the United States, India, and beyond to higher, more just and peaceful, ground. Through Breakthrough, Dutt puts innovative media tools and technology in the hands of people and communities, inspiring them to share their stories of transformation, bringing empowerment, enlightenment and opportunity to a new generation of leaders emerging from the margins.
Breakthrough’s campaigns are as provocative as they are uplifting. In India, Breakthrough’s highly visible television advertisements and deeply transformative community education campaigns on violence against women, sexuality and HIV/AIDS have reached millions and sparked an unprecedented national dialogue on women’s rights. They include What Kind of Man Are You?, a multimedia campaign that held a spotlight to HIV/AIDS transmission within marriage; Is This Justice?, a multimedia campaign that brought public attention to the stigma and discrimination faced by women living with HIV/AIDS; and Bell Bajao, an award-winning multimedia and community education campaign calling on men and boys to bring domestic violence to a halt. Bell Bajao is now going global, with Ba Ki-moon as its first global ambassador.
In the United States, Breakthrough’s innovative campaigns and tools for teaching democracy and justice include America 2049, a transmedia Facebook game that explores assumptions about racial justice, human rights, migration and democracy; I’m Here, an urgent, participatory call to action for the rights of immigrant women; Restore Fairness, a comprehensive multimedia initiative that spotlights the human rights impact of current U.S. policies on immigration, criminal and racial justice and national security and seeks to reframe public dialogue; ICED – I Can End Deportation, the first 3D game for social justice, in this case immigrant rights; and I Am This Land, a youth-focused online space in which teenagers put creative voice to their views on diversity, pluralism, identity, gender and sexuality, immigration, and racial justice.
Dutt holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Mount Holyoke College, and is the recipient of numerous awards. She has also served on several boards, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Human Rights, the Open Society Institute’s U.S. Programs, the Human Rights Watch Women’s Rights Project and WITNESS. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Games for Change Advisory Board, and the Rights Working Group Steering Committee. She is a co-founder of SAKHI for South Asian Women. Dutt began her career as an associate at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. 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.