Mark Palmer, 1959

Global accomplishments and work for freedom.
For his global accomplishments and work for freedom, Vermont Academy honors Mark Palmer, a 1959 graduate, with the Florence Sabin Distinguished Alumni Award.

Palmer attended Yale University where he majored in Soviet Studies and graduated Magna cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He joined the Foreign Service in 1964, entering a world consumed by international conflict and nuclear threat. Rising through the ranks of the State Department, he moved from India to Russia to Yugoslavia. Palmer served as principal speechwriter for Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, and as Director of the Office of Arms Control.

In 1980 he was awarded the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his negotiations on security matters with the Soviet Union. Palmer became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and played a pivotal role in the success of the Reagan/Gorbachev summit in Geneva. For his democracy initiatives, Palmer received special commendations from President Reagan. Named US Ambassador to Hungary in 1986, he helped facilitate the dissolution of the Iron Curtain, and worked for the institution of a democratic and market-based society. He entered the private sector in 1990 and is a major venture capitalist in the newly liberated countries of Eastern Europe. He has also an investor, building up poor parts of Washington, DC.
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