Mark E. Dillen, head of Dillen Associates LLC, is a leading authority on international media and cross-cultural communication, specializing in international business development.
In 2013, Mark led the start-up communications effort for a new White House initiative, Power Africa, designed to dramatically increase the availability of electrical power in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2010-11, Mark headed the U.S. Agency for International Development's communications operation in Kabul, Afghanistan.
In 2007-8, after founding Dillen Associates, and while representing a leading U.S. energy company, Covanta, Mark helped develop a proposal to address one of Croatia's main environmental and energy challenges: the lack of adequate waste management facilities in the capital city of Zagreb. Working closely with city administrators, Mark arranged a key fact-finding mission for the Mayor of Zagreb to the United States.
In 2012, with a downturn in US-Russian relations looming, Dillen Associates helped a local foundation at Fort Ross, California, site of a early 19th Century Russian trading post, to broaden and diversify its support. Rechristened The Fort Ross Conservancy, the NGO went on to draw significant media attention for events that marked the fort's bicentennial.
Mark has written several blogs on U.S. politics and foreign policy for the Foreign Policy Association in New York and the Center on Public Diplomacy at the University of South California’s Annenberg School for Communications.
During a career with the US State Department, Mark managed media and cultural relations for US embassies in Rome, Berlin, Moscow, Sofia and Belgrade. He was also Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy in Rome. From 2000-2001, he was an adviser to the State Department’s office handling assistance programs in the former Soviet Union.
In 2001-2002, he was senior media and political adviser to the US Agency for International Development in Moscow.
Also, during 2001-2002, he twice served as election observer and organizer for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) during elections in Belarus and Kosovo. In 2014, he returned to OSCE to assist in monitoring the Presidential elections in Ukraine.
In government and private sector work, Mark has supervised budgets up to $10 million and a staff of 20 professionals. He has led crisis management teams, developed new business, and taught media and public relations seminars.
Mark’s first trip to the then-USSR was in 1971 as an undergraduate Russian-language student at the University of Michigan. Since then he has traveled extensively in Russia, the countries of the former USSR, and throughout Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe.
He has a Master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University, where he was an International Fellow. He has been a Diplomat-in-Residence at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies of Johns Hopkins University and attended the program for Senior Managers in Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
Mark is a member of the German American Business Association in San Francisco and was an adviser to the Center for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin. He has lectured at Berlin’s Freie Universitaet, the University of Southern California and many universities in Eastern Europe. He frequently addresses groups of international visitors at San Francisco's Institute for International Education.
In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia for his contribution to post-Communist educational development. While in government service, he helped set up the first international gathering of civic education specialists, held in Prague in 1994.
While in Rome, he led the US Embassy’s organization of a five-nation summit for President Clinton, Gerhard Schroeder and other world leaders.
Before founding Dillen Associates, Mark was a senior member of The PBN Company in Moscow, where he was responsible for the firm’s largest account, the U.S. Treasury Department, and represented PBN in its dealings with the European Roundtable of Industrialists, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and many other clients.
Prior to joining PBN, Dillen conducted research analysis for the leading Italian concern, Alenia Aerospazio. He also provided pro bono assistance to the Pushkin Charitable Foundation, which assists hospitals in St. Petersburg and offers scholarship support to young Russian artists, and to Transparency International, the anti-corruption watchdog.
Mark speaks Russian, German, Italian, Croatian, Serbian and Bulgarian.
Anne Chermak Dillen brings a wealth of international public affairs and strategic communications experience to Dillen Associates. As a career Foreign Service Officer with the State Department and U.S. Information Agency, she served six presidents, attaining the rank of Minister Counselor, the civilian equivalent of two- star general.
Anne was honored with the Secretary of State’s Career Achievement Award, “in recognition of her distinguished diplomatic service to the U.S. Government in Moscow, Berlin, Belgrade, Rome, Madrid, Sofia, Bonn and Washington and with appreciation for her outstanding efforts in promoting U.S. national interests from 1975 to 2008.”
Representing Dillen Associates, Anne has been a keynote speaker at the BledCom International Public Relations Symposium, held annually on Lake Bled in Slovenia. She has conducted workshops on public diplomacy for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Rome and had speaking engagements at Enel, Italy’s largest power company, and the Italian Federation of Public Relations (FERPI), in Rome.
In 2012, Anne was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Women’s Forum, Northern California, advancing leadership across careers, cultures and communities by connecting preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement, and linking to the greater IWF network of over 5,500 women leaders across six continents and 33 nations.
In May of 2014, she was invited to join the Organization for Security and Cooperation’s (OSCE) Mission to observe the presidential elections in Ukraine.
As Minister Counselor for Public Affairs in Moscow, she directed the State Department's largest overseas exchange program with a budget of $40 million, promoting democratic development in Russia through academic and professional exchanges for 5,000 persons annually and the establishment of multiple small U.S. information centers, called American Corners, throughout the country. Her advocacy and promotion of this innovative, low-cost public diplomacy platform contributed to its successful implementation by U.S. embassies around the world.
During her tenure as Public Affairs Minister Counselor for the U.S. Mission to Germany, encompassing Embassy Berlin and five consulates, Ms. Chermak significantly expanded the Mission’s engagement with Muslim minorities, the use of new information technologies, and media outreach.
In Washington, Ms. Chermak was Deputy Director of the Office of the President's East European Initiative, playing a key role in shaping new programs to promote democracy and free markets in Central and Eastern Europe after the collapse of communist regimes in the region. She organized a White House conference that brought together heads of Fortune 500 companies and presidents of top American universities with East European leaders to explore new opportunities for cooperation.
Anne shaped public affairs strategies advocating NATO enlargement, and was key liaison with the White House in organizing press and public affairs support for numerous Presidential visits overseas, including President Reagan’s historic first visit to Moscow for the summit with Gorbachev, and numerous G-7 and G-8 summits. In Italy, she brought together disparate groups of educators and government officials with U.S. experts to devise a successful program to combat drug abuse in schools.
Anne Chermak was the first U.S. diplomat to serve as visiting professor at Russia’s leading university in the field: the Moscow State Institute for International Affairs (MGIMO). In 2007, she was selected by the State Department’s Director General to serve as visiting professor at the University of Southern California’s Center on Public Diplomacy at the Annenberg School, where she created and taught courses in the first of its kind Master’s in Public Diplomacy degree program and advised the Center.
Anne’s foreign languages include Russian, Italian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Serbian, German and Spanish.
Ms. Chermak received a B.A. degree with honors in History and Russian Language and Literature from the University of Michigan and has participated in executive leadership seminars conducted by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.