Ambassador Mark Pekala joined the War College faculty in 2016. Previously, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Latvia and, from 2014-2016, Dean of the School of Professional and Area Studies at the Foreign Service Institute. He has served as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) in Paris, DCM in Tallinn, Deputy Assistant Secretary (DAS) in the State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, and Senior Director for Russian Affairs on the National Security Council staff. From 1998 to 1999, Ambassador Pekala was a Rusk Fellow at Georgetown University, teaching graduate seminars on U.S.-Russian Relations and European Security. Ambassador Pekala has received nine State Department Superior Honor Awards (six for individual achievements and three for group accomplishments), seven senior performance awards, two Meritorious Honor Awards, the W. Averell Harriman Award, and the Matilda W. Sinclaire Language Award. From the Government of Estonia, he received the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana, Third Class, and he received Latvia’s highest state decoration, the Order of the Three Stars. He is an alumnus of the University of Michigan. From Columbia University he received the Master of International Affairs degree, the Certificate from the W. Averell Harriman Institute, and the Master of Philosophy degree in Political Science (all with a specialization in Soviet foreign and defense policy). Ambassador Pekala speaks Estonian, French, Polish, and Russian, and a little Latvian. He is married, has two daughters, and is an avid photographer.
FUNCTIONAL EXPERTISE: Interagency coordination, NATO, NATO-Russia relations, the EU
REGIONAL EXPERTISE: Russia, Eastern and Central Europe