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Robie Marcus Hooker (Mark) Palmer (born 1941) is a former United States Ambassador to Hungary (1986-90). He is a member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Committee on the Present Danger, Vice Chairman of Freedom House and the Council for a Community of Democracies. He is also the co-founder of the National Endowment for Democracy.

He served in policy positions in the State Departmentmarker 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 Unionmarker, Yugoslavia, and Hungarymarker 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 Chinamarker and the Middle East, 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.

From his days in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, through demonstrating in the streets of Budapestmarker as ambassador, to marching with the students in Belgrademarker against Slobodan 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 Republicmarker, Slovakiamarker, Sloveniamarker, Romaniamarker, and Ukrainemarker with more than $600 million in investment.

A recognized writer and advocate, Palmer has 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 Belarusmarker and Cubamarker.

Palmer is currently a joint founder and Chairman of a Dubai media corporation, SignalOneTV, which plans to broadcast commercial youth-targeted Western TV in Iranmarker, Iraqmarker, and Saudi Arabiamarker.

Palmer's 2003 book, , argued for a revamping of American foreign policy to make the worldwide promotion of democracy its foremost goal.


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