Palmer Prize

Ambassador Mark Palmer was a creative and brave U.S. diplomat who passionately believed in public service. He strongly supported the democratic Hungarian activists prior to the fall of Communism and played a key role in conceiving the Community of Democracies as well as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


The Mark Palmer Prize is awarded to diplomats who have taken extraordinary action to support civil society and made a significant contribution in the effort to strengthen democracy, particularly in transitioning countries. The Palmer Prize is administered by the Community’s Civil Society Pillar through Freedom House.

In 2017 the Palmer Prize was awarded to Ambassador Maria Leissner, former Secretary General of the Community of Democracies, in recognition of her inspiring work to advance democracy and human rights.

In 2015, the Palmer Prize was awarded to:

  • Petras Vaitiekūnas, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania and Ambassador to both Latvia and Belarus in 2010;
  • Robert S. Ford, former U.S. diplomat who served as U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 2010-2014 and to Algeria from 2006-2008;
  • Charlotta Sparre, the current Ambassador of Sweden in Egypt, formerly Ambassador of Sweden in Jordan.