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Biography

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Mark Robert Parris
U.S. Ambassador to Turkey

Mark Robert Parris, was nominated by President Clinton to be the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey on August 29, 1997. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on October 29, 1997 and sworn in on November 10, 1997.

Ambassador Parris previously served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council.

The Ambassador's career has focused on the Middle East and the former Soviet Union. He served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs before joining the NSC staff. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel from 1989 to 1992, a period that included the Gulf War and intense U.S. diplomatic efforts leading to the Madrid Peace conference. He has also served as Director of the Office of Soviet Union Affairs from 1985 to 1988, playing a key role in the organization of President Reagan's four summit meetings with Mikhail Gorbachev. As Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1982 to 1985, Ambassador Parris covered the Soviet leadership transition that brought Mr. Gorbachev to power.

Ambassador Parris entered the Foreign Service in 1972. His first overseas assignments were in the Azores and at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon from 1973-77. He subsequently held a number of positions in the Bureau of European Affairs, including that of Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary. In 1988-89, the Ambassador participated in the Department of State's most prestigious training program, the Senior Seminar.

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, Ambassador Parris was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 22, 1950. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in 1972. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Ambassador Parris has served on the policy boards of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation and of the US-Israel Education Foundation. He speaks Russian, Portuguese, French, and has studied Turkish and Hebrew. Ambassador Parris has twice received the Department of State's Superior Honor Award and has received the Presidential Meritorious Honor Award on three occasions.

Ambassador Parris is married to the former Joan Elizabeth Gardner. They have two children.

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