Mark L. Schneider

Sr. Advisor, CSIS, Advisor To Our Documentary

“90% of the cocaine coming from Colombia into the US comes through Central America, increasingly through Guatemala. A couple of hundred billion dollars’ worth of cocaine comes through the country.”

Senior Adviser, America Program and Human Rights Initiative, Center for Strategic & International Studies. His expertise includes Americas, Caribbean, Civil Society, Governance and Rule of Law, Human Rights, Human Security, International Development, North America, South America, Transitional Justice, U.S. Development Policy.

Mark L. Schneider has had a public service career spanning government, international organizations, civil society, and academia, and his areas of expertise include post-conflict reconstruction and nation building, U.S. foreign policy in the twenty-first century, human rights, and Latin American and Caribbean issues. He served as senior vice president and senior adviser of the International Crisis Group (ICG) from 2001 until March 2017. With ICG, he traveled multiple times to Afghanistan and Pakistan; Nigeria, Guinea, and Liberia; Kenya, Somaliland, and Ethiopia; the Balkans; Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Haiti. He has testified frequently before Congress on conflict issues.

Schneider was a Peace Corps Volunteer and served as director of the Peace Corps from 1999 to 2001. He joined the Peace Corps and served in El Salvador with his wife, Susan, then married for one year, they helped build a bridge across a ravine and introduced a school milk program. As Peace Corps Director, Schneider revisited his old site on an official visit to El Salvador in 1999. The bridge Schneider helped build is still standing and has been named after him.

Schneider called his Peace Corps service “the most illuminating, rewarding and exhausting period of my life. I saw the constant struggle to survive in the developing world — children without enough to eat, mothers without access to health care, fathers unable to find work to earn the income to care for their families.”

He went on to become an assistant administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development for Latin America and the Caribbean from 1993 to 1999. From 1981 to 1993, he was chief of the Office of Analysis and Strategic Planning at the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization. He was principal deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs from 1977 to 1979 and a foreign policy adviser to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA) from 1970 to 1976. Schneider received his B.A. in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley, his M.A. in political science from San Jose State University, and an honorary doctor of laws degree from American University. He received the Bernardo O’Higgins Medal for human rights work from the government of Chile in 1993; the Gran Cruz, Orden al Merito, from the government of Chile in 2000; and the George W. Eastman Medal for Public Service from the University of Rochester in 2000. He has lectured at various universities; had articles and essays published in academic journals, newspapers, and magazines; and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, and numerous other radio and television networks. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of American University for 10 years.