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EXPERTISE
Diplomacy & International Affairs
History - General
Politics & Current Affairs
Travel & Destinations
PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH:
BIOGRAPHY
Mark Fitzpatrick is a former senior US diplomat who now heads the North American office of one of the world’s premier think tanks. A leading expert on nuclear issues who lectures widely at international conferences, he is a frequent guest on BBC, NPR, CNN and other media outlets, particularly on current issues regarding North Korea, Iran and Pakistan. He is the author or co-author of nine books relating to nuclear dangers.

In his 26-year diplomatic career, Mr. Fitzpatrick served in Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Austria and as deputy assistant secretary for Non-Proliferation at the State Department. As an academic, he spent ten years at the London headquarters of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), heading the Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Policy Programme. In late 2015, he returned to Washington to also run the IISS office there.

Mark has a master’s degree from Harvard in public policy and a BA from the University of Minnesota (his home state) in international relations. Married with two adult children, he has lived in or traveled to over 90 countries.




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PRESENTATIONS
ASIA PACIFIC

"Korean Peninsula Tensions"
North Korea's new ability to hit the US with nuclear-armed missiles raises the stakes and increases prospects for war. What to do about Kim Jong Un?

"Cross-strait crossness: Taiwan’s tense relationship with mainland China."
With Taiwanese seeing themselves as a separate people, there is logic in questioning the “one China” policy. Whether it makes political, security or economic sense is another matter.

"China flexes its muscles, opposing what it sees as American containment"
China seeks regional hegemony, particularly in the maritime regions. Let’s examine China’s rise, its territorial sea claims and the potential for trouble with the United States.

"The WWII Battle of Okinawa and its current role as host to US bases"
America returned Okinawa to Japan in 1972, but US bases remained, comprising 40% of its arable land. Okinawa’s history is tragic and its relations with Tokyo and the US fraught.

"China-Japan frictions"
Memories of wartime occupation, an island dispute and military build-ups spark concerns. Can cultural and economic interdependency overcome political and security animosities?

"Nuclear dominoes in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan?"
They could build nuclear weapons quickly, if needed to balance nuclear-armed antagonists. Yet they have relied instead on US security guarantees, which might now be in question.

"US-Japan relations: From Commodore Perry’s black ships to WWII & post-war allies."
Arriving in Yokohama in 1853, Perry forced Japan to end its isolation. Trade blossomed, but imperial Japan learned the wrong lessons. Once-bitter enemies are now best friends.

Japan-Russian relations
As WWII was ending, Russia double-crossed Japan, declared war and grabbed its northern-most islands. Japan has been trying in vain ever since to get four of them back.


NORTH AMERICA

"Canada Is Not the 51st US State—Exploring Differences.”
Consider what makes Canada distinctive—more than just syrup, pucks and the Quebecois.

"Canada-US Relations—Longest Shared Border, Occasional Friction."
Gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the two countries throughout history.

“Seward's Folly”
Paying Russia 2¢/acre for Alaska in 1867 was probably America's best deal ever, though at the time few thought so. Can one see Russia from Alaska? Let's talk about it.


SOUTH EAST ASIA

"ASEAN: The Ties that (Loosely) Bind the 10 Southeast Asian States"
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations promotes peaceful cooperation. Yet non-conflictual problem solving does not solve all problems and economic integration remains distant

"Sri Lanka Civil War: Causes, Conduct, Conclusion and Incomplete Reconciliation"
The 26-year rebellion by the Tamil Tigers was finally put down in 2009 at a large economic and moral price. Let's also talk about Sri Lanka's positive past and its current role in international affairs

"India’s Foreign Relations: Strategic Autonomy Giving Way to Strategic Partnerships"
The world's most-populous democracy has much in common with the secular West. Colonialism left a long-standing chip on the shoulder, but today India courts one and all

"India-Pakistan Tensions: Might They Erupt in Nuclear War?"
Born from the same womb, Pakistan and India have been at loggerheads ever since partition in 1947, fighting four wars and many skirmishes. The next time will be as nuclear-armed states.

MIDDLE EAST

"Iran: The Nuclear Threat has Receded but Still a Four-Letter Word"
Once America’s best friend in the region, Iran under Islamic rule has been an implacable foe. Its nuclear aspirations are on hold but not its other troublesome policies

"Tensions in the Persian/Arabian Gulf: They Can’t Even Agree on What to Call It"
Saudi Arabia and most of its Gulf Arab partners see Iran as a would-be hegemon, bullying and interfering. The Iranians don’t like the Arabs much either. Whither the mutual animosity?

"Middle East Turmoil"
The troubles seem to be unending: devastating civil wars in Syria and Yemen, terrorism metastasizing even as ISIS loses its caliphate, and unstable governments. What is happening and why?

CUBA

"Cuba: Coming in from the Cold"
Explore why communism in Cuba lasted so long and where the nation’s politics and economy are headed.

"The Cuban Missile Crisis: 13 days in October 1962"
Learn how close the US and USSR came to a nuclear war and what the crisis taught us.

"The thorn in America’s side"
Recall the Bay of Pigs, Che Guevara, the Mariel Boatlift. For a small country, Cuba has been a big headache.

AFRICA

"South Africa’s role in global affairs"
Emergence from apartheid and subsequent reconciliation gave South Africa a high moral standing on the world stage. Let’s talk about the history and how it plays its international role.

"Namibia: History and environment"
South Africa, and previously Germany, ruled this sparsely-populated, dry land until 1990. We will explore that, and the Cuban connection, as well as the role of nature.

"Africa and its largest trade partner: China"
In its quest to secure natural resources, China plays an anti-colonial card and non-interference policy to corner African markets. Many like it, but there is a darker side

"Britain’s overseas territories: remnants of colonialism"
Saint Helena is Britain's second-oldest remaining overseas territory. Formerly called crown colonies, these territories are not formally part of the United Kingdom. So what are they?

"West African history: empires, slavery, colonialism, jihads, freedom and civil wars."
Senegal is the westernmost of the 18 countries in what the UN calls West Africa. Once the realm of flourishing empires, the region has since been beset by trouble, yet its culture and reputation for hospitality remain strong.

"Morocco, As time goes by: History and modernity"
America’s oldest friendship treaty is with Morocco. Its name means “The Western Kingdom, but it’s considered a Middle East country.” How did it survive the Arab Spring?

EUROPE

"Spanish history: legacy of the Visogoths, Moors, Catholic kings and Franco."
It is a rich and complex story, shaped by geography, religion, human inspiration and human frailties. We will hit the highlights, not ignoring current issues of secessionism.

"Differences between the United Kingdom and United States"
Think the two nations are separated just by a common language? There are also cultural distinctions.

"What’s so special about the US-UK “Special Relationship'?"
Bound together by history, culture, tongue and kinship, the UK and US as allies cement world order.

Why and wither Brexit? What does it mean for Scotland and Ireland?
Explore why UK voters decided to leave the EU and what it means for UK unity and global role.

"Ireland’s independent foreign policy"
Wonder why Ireland is neutral and pushes disarmament? Its colonial history for sure, but there’s more.

CENTRAL AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

"Costa Rica – living out its name as a rich coast"
Home to many expats, CR is among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. With no army, no hunting and an environmental consciousness, is it some hippy haven?

"A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!"
Jimmy Carter wasn’t the man in the palindrome, but his plan for the canal for Panama did have an exclamation mark. Looking back, was it right to give it back? Let’s also talk about the canal history.

"Oh Colombia, the gem of the continent"
Guess which South American country supported the US-led Iraq war of 2003, proposed to send troops to Afghanistan and wants to join the NATO alliance? There is a lot to like about Colombia.

"The symbiotic US-Mexico relationship"
President Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall and to tear apart the NAFTA trade agreement created a diplomatic crisis, but the two nations will continue to rely on each other.

"Mexico’s drug war and America’s role, for better or worse"
The US has been assisting Mexico in its war on drugs – and real war it is. The narco cartels are vicious and seemingly unstoppable. There would not be a supply, however, if there wasn’t a demand,

"Colonial remnants: The Commonwealth and the overseas territories"
Visiting Commonwealth nations plus British and French territories, let’s explore these designations.

"Puerto Rico: Part of the United States of America, but not fully"
Debating Puerto Rico’s status as an “unincorporated territory” is a contentious political pastime.

"The Caribbean as an “American lake”: Great power competition."
Played as pawns in past European power struggles, Caribbean islands are now heavily US influenced.

SOUTH AMERICA

"History and politics of South America"
Having started off as republican dictatorships, many of the 12 states of South America drifted leftward earlier this century. It is a region much of the world tends to overlook.

"Chile: history and hysterics of a skinny state"
Having endured decades of left-right polarization (recall Allende and Pinochet), Chile today is stable and prosperous. Geography, demographics, ideology and economy influenced its past and present.

"Latin America led the way in banning nuclear weapons"
In 1967, South and Central American states declared their region free of nuclear weapons. Similar zones now encompass the entire southern hemisphere. Are they meaningful?

"Patagonia: Encounters with humankind"
Humans have lived in Latin America’s southernmost region for 10,000 years, but never too many of them. They came by foot and later by sea. Some explorers just sailed by, although not easily.

"Falklands War: Causes and consequences of La Guerra del Atlántico Sur"
Margaret Thatcher and the UK decisively won the 1982 conflict, while the Argentine military government that had sought to demonstrate sovereignty over the islands fell. Let’s explore what happened.

"Argentina: Crying no more for Evita"
The caudillo repression of Juan Peron is long gone, but it took decades for Argentina to overcome political instability and economic crises. Let's also look at Uruguay.

"Uncle Sam in South America: Protector and partner or hegemon and rival?"
Washington’s “Big Brother” policies have not been universally welcomed in the southern half of the Americas, but relations today are generally cordial. Let’s view things from both perspectives.

ANTARCTICA

"Antarctica in international relations"
The 1959 Antarctic Treaty did not settle competing land claims but it set aside the continent for peaceful pursuits. It was the first arms control agreement during the Cold War.
CRUISE HISTORY / EXPERIENCE
I have received very positive feedback and high marks for lectures on Seabourn (Hong Kong to Kobe; and Singapore to Dubai) and Viking (Montreal to New York) the past year.
ADDITIONAL RELEVANT INFORMATION
Mark Fitzpatrick is well versed on global security issues and international relations in East and South Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and Europe. He also has experience in Latin America and Africa and can prepare intriguing lectures about the history, politics and diplomacy of nearly any destination, employing humor and humility with his fact-rich analysis. He quickly gets to know his audience on a first-name basis and is praised for his engaging Q&A.