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Mark S. Ward is a retired foreign service officer who was the Director of the Syria Transition Assistance and Response Team (START), which is based out of U.S. Embassy Ankara and is responsible for coordinating all U.S. assistance to Syria from Turkey. Prior to this role, he served as the Deputy Special Coordinator in the Office of Middle East Transition at the U.S. Department of State, the office that coordinates all civilian assistance to Middle Eastern countries in transition to democracy. Mr. Ward is a Career Minister in the Senior Foreign Service of the United States.

Mr. Ward was also on detail to the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) from September 2011 to February 2012 as Senior Advisor to the head of the UNSMIL on coordination with the international community.

From July 2010 to September 2011, Mr. Ward was Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA) and Acting Director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where he focused on disaster preparedness and response and civil-military cooperation during three notable disasters: the 2010 floods in Pakistan, the 2010-11 cholera outbreak in Haiti, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Before returning to Washington, DC, Mr. Ward was the Special Advisor on Development to the head of the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), based in Kabul, from October 2008 until July 2010. Mr. Ward led UNAMA’s effort to better coordinate donor assistance to Afghanistan behind Government priorities and aid effectiveness principles.

Prior to the position in Kabul, Mr. Ward was Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Asia at USAID, where he had principal responsibility for the USAID programs in South, Central and East Asia. He chaired the Agency's Tsunami, Pakistan Earthquake and Lebanon Reconstruction task forces.

Mr. Ward was the 2006 winner of the Service to America Medal for international affairs for his work on the Tsunami reconstruction effort.

Mr. Ward's most recent overseas post with USAID was in Pakistan as the Mission Director, serving from July 2002 through December 2003. Prior to that, he was the Director of USAID's Office of Procurement in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Ward joined the Foreign Service in 1986 and has served in Pakistan (twice), Egypt, the Philippines, and Russia.

Mark is a native of San Francisco and received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and Juris Doctor from the University of California at Berkeley. He was headmaster of a girl's high school in rural Kenya before law school and practiced law in Washington for four years before joining the Foreign Service.


  • –present
    Lecturer, University of Washington