What matters to you.

Donald Ferencz

executive director and co-founder, The Planethood Foundation

Donald M. Ferencz is an attorney and the Executive Director of The Planethood Foundation, a small private foundation “educating to replace the law of force with the force of law.” He was born in 1952 in Nuremberg, Germany, where his father, Ben Ferencz, had served as the Chief Prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen Trial as part of the Subsequent Proceedings at Nuremberg. After studying at the Canadian Peace Research Institute and graduating Colgate University with a B.A. in Peace Studies, Don Ferencz pursued a Master’s Degree in Education, thereafter teaching elementary school for five years before going on to obtain both J.D. and M.B.A. degrees at Pace University in New York. While in law school, he interned at both the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Enforcement Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, assisting in the prosecution of “white collar” criminals. But Mr. Ferencz saw the other side of the coin as well: incident to his work as a student editor on the Law Review, he played a critical role in obtaining dismissal by the New York Court of Appeals of a criminal conviction, which dismissal was premised on a legal theory he developed himself based on original research which had been previously overlooked by defense counsel in the case. Upon completing his legal studies, Mr. Ferencz pursued a commercial career for over two decades, working as a senior tax executive at a number of U.S.-based multinational public companies, and taught briefly as an adjunct professor of law at Pace Law School, where he later helped to initiate an international ICC Moot Court Competition. In 1996, he and his father established The Planethood Foundation, for which he now works on a full-time basis, helping to educate around the need for strengthening the rule of law in international relations. In addition, Don Ferencz participated directly as part of the NGO delegation to the ICC Assembly of States Parties Working Group on the Crime of Aggression (including attending the recent ICC review conference in Kampala, Uganda), and has written and lectured on the need to help deter aggression through the rule of law. He currently resides in the U.K.