U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
Home Issues & Press Travel & Business Countries Youth & Education Careers About State Video
 You are in: Bureaus/Offices Reporting Directly to the Secretary > Policy Planning Staff > Secretary's Open Forum > Forum Calendar

Biography: Ambassador Mark Palmer

Active on the front lines of the struggle to help oppressed people achieve democracy in the Middle East, China, North Korea and beyond, Ambassador Mark Palmer brings an unusual set of skills, experiences, and passions to the task. Through the years of the Cold War and up to the present, he is one of the most respected foreign policy innovators inside and outside the U.S. Government. He served in policy positions in the State Department in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, and first Bush administrations, including launching the National Endowment for Democracy. From the outside, he has worked with both the Clinton and present Bush Administrations, helping persuade them to initiate new democracy policies, including the Community of Democracies and abolishing the so-called Arab exception, for the first time promoting democracy in the Arab world.

He has practical experience inside dictatorships, working directly with dictators, and helping to oust them without a shot being fired. He lived for 11 years in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and Hungary under the communists as a student and diplomat. He organized and participated in the first Reagan-Gorbachev summit as the State Department's top "Kremlinologist," and as the U.S. Ambassador to Hungary helped persuade its last dictator to leave power. He has been active on China and the Middle East, recently, for example, as the founding board member of an organization to support the largest movement for change in China, and working to support the emergence of politically independent commercial television stations throughout the Arab world, including addressing a meeting on media and democracy for the region which was held in Qatar in April 2003.

From his days in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, through demonstrating in the streets of Budapest as ambassador, to marching with the students in Belgrade against Milosevic in 1996, he has witnessed and practiced the power of organized nonviolent force in achieving freedom and justice. As a successful venture capitalist and investor from 1990 to the present, and president of his own company, he also has realized the potential of business in the transition to democracy. He co-founded Central European Media Enterprises, which financed and launched the first national independent television stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Ukraine with more than $600 million in investment. Finally, he is a recognized writer and advocate, having written speeches for six Secretaries of State and three Presidents, including as principal speechwriter for Henry Kissinger and co-author of Ronald Reagan's favorite speech, and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Freedom House, a frequent contributor to published appeals and policy statements, and participant in democracy programs in the United States and across the arc of dictatorships stretching from China, through the Middle East and Africa, on to Belarus and Cuba.


  Back to top

U.S. Department of State
USA.govU.S. Department of StateUpdates  |   Frequent Questions  |   Contact Us  |   Email this Page  |   Subject Index  |   Search
The Office of Electronic Information, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department. External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.
About state.gov  |   Privacy Notice  |   FOIA  |   Copyright Information  |   Other U.S. Government Information

Published by the U.S. Department of State Website at http://www.state.gov maintained by the Bureau of Public Affairs.