David Tolbert is the Executive Director of the Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), a public service program of the American Bar Association, with its headquarters in Washington, D.C. CEELI works to promote the Rule of Law throughout Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union and has bolstered legal reform in 28 countries since 1991.
Before becoming CEELI Executive Director in February 2001, Mr. Tolbert served nearly five years at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands. He initially was the Senior Legal Adviser, Registry, where he headed the legal department and also supervised the Victims and Witnesses Section. He later was appointed as Chef de Cabinet to the President of the International Tribunal, during the presidency of Judge Gabrielle Kirk McDonald.
Prior to working at the International Tribunal, Mr. Tolbert served as Chief, General Legal Division for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Vienna, Austria and Gaza. He previously was a Lecturer in International Law at the University of Hull, England, and Visiting Professor at the Universidade Federal Espirto Santo, Vitoria, Brazil. Mr. Tolbert began his legal career as an attorney at Gerdes, Mason, Wilson, Tolbert and Simpson in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Mr. Tolbert holds an LL.M. with distinction from the University of Nottingham, England; a J.D. from the University of North Carolina; and B.A. magna cum laude from Furman University. He speaks German and Portuguese.