Mark Fitzpatrick is a former US diplomat and scholar. In his 26 years in the US Foreign Service he first focused on East Asia and the Pacific, with postings in South Korea, Japan (twice), and New Zealand, as well as a stint in Washington as the North Korea desk officer. He then acquired a functional expertise in arms control, serving as liaison to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, as director of an office that focused on nuclear and missile proliferation in South Asia, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation (acting). During his time in government, he received six individual Superior Honor Awards and two Meritorious Honor Awards.
Fitzpatrick left the Foreign Service in 2005 to join the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, where he headed the nonproliferation program for ten years. In late 2015, he returned to Washington to also head the IISS office there, representing the institute throughout the Western Hemisphere. He has produced ten books on nuclear dangers and related issues and has written over two hundred journal articles and blog postings. He lectures at conferences and universities throughout the world and is a frequent media commentator on BBC and other global outlets. Although he retired from full-time work at the end of 2018, he remains engaged as an associate fellow at IISS, contributing articles and media commentary.
In his third career, Fitzpatrick became a cruise ship lecturer, traveling the world in a new guise, educating and entertaining audiences through historical and political stories about cruise destinations. When the coronavirus pandemic curtailed international travel in spring 2020, he turned his attention to local matters by exploring and writing about his neighborhood.
Born and raised in Minnesota, Fitzpatrick obtained a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He later attended a post-graduate study program (1990–1991) at the Japanese National Institute of Defense, where his dissertation on Korean unification was published in journals in Japan and South Korea. He and his wife, Kyoko, have two adult sons and two toddler grandsons. For the latter, a swing and rope ladder adorn the front yard of their grandparents’ house in Tenleytown/American University Park.