Mark Taplin is a former U.S. diplomat and retired Foreign Service officer who held a number of senior positions during his 37-year career. From 2015 to 2017, Taplin served in a series of leadership roles in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) including as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and as Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs. As Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, he oversaw the Bureau’s policy, evaluation, innovation, alumni and cultural heritage efforts.
From 2010 to 2014, Taplin was Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, during a period of expanding U.S.-French cooperation. From 2005 to 2008, he served as Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania where he helped promote a close partnership between the U.S. and Romania. From 2002 to 2004, he was Director for Ukraine, Moldova, and Belarus at the Department of State. Prior to serving as Deputy Director for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs from 2001 to 2002, Taplin held a series of overseas public diplomacy positions, including in Ukraine, Russia, Brazil, Haiti, and Mauritius. From 2008 to 2010, he taught, organized events, and conducted research as the Public Diplomacy Fellow at The George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. In 2018, following his retirement from the State Department, he was named the inaugural recipient of the Lois Roth Foundation Emeritus Award for Cultural Diplomacy.
Taplin is the author of the 1997 book Open Lands: Travels Through Russia’s Once Forbidden Places, which Kirkus Reviews labeled “an extraordinary and beautifully written chronicle that combines the best of different genres: travel writing, journalism, and history.” He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities and International Affairs from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and a Master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the University College of Wales (Aberystwyth).