Assistant Secretary (A)
On January 6, 2017, Mark Taplin assumed the role of Acting Assistant Secretary for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) at the U.S. Department of State. The Bureau advances U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, and cultural programs that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations. ECA has had over one million program participants to date, including more than 75 Nobel Laureates and nearly 450 current and former heads of state and government.
Prior to his current role, he served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary overseeing the entire ECA portfolio, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, managing the Bureau’s policy, evaluation, innovation and alumni efforts as well as its programs supporting the protection of cultural heritage.
Mr. Taplin joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980 and holds the rank of Minister-Counselor. From 2010-2014, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France in a period of expanding U.S.-French cooperation. Prior to that assignment, Taplin taught and conducted research as the Public Diplomacy Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs. From 2005-2008, he served as Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. During his tenure, he helped promote a close partnership between the U.S. and Romania. From 2002-2004, he was Director for Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus at the Department of State. He has also held a number of overseas public diplomacy assignments. He was Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine (1999-2001). He also completed two tours at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, as well as assignments in Brazil, Haiti, and Mauritius.
Mr. Taplin 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). He is the author of Open Lands: Travels Through Russia’s Once Forbidden Places (Steerforth Press, 1997).
Follow Acting Assistant Secretary Taplin on Twitter, @ECA_AS.