Mark Kirk

Former U.S. Senator (R-IL)

Mark Kirk represented the State of Illinois in the U.S. Congress. After serving 10 years as a Republican centrist in the U.S. House of Representatives, Senator Kirk brought his coalition-building approach to the U.S. Senate where he rallied consensus on issues ranging from human rights to sanctions against Iran. Having traveled to more than 40 countries, he made foreign policy, national security, defense and international trade the cornerstones of his public service.

Senator Kirk retired from the U.S. Senate in 2017 as the Appropriations’ Subcommittee chairman of Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and as the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Subcommittee chairman of National Security and International Trade and Finance. He also served on the Appropriations’ Subcommittees of Commerce, Justice, and Science and State and Foreign Operations. Recognizing the importance of the U.S.–China relationship, Senator Kirk founded and co-chaired the U.S. China Working Group in the House and Senate.

Senator Kirk earned a B.A. in history from Cornell University. He received a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a law degree from Georgetown University. He served 23 years as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring in 2013 at the rank of commander.

Prior to his service in Congress, Senator Kirk worked at the World Bank and the U.S. State Department, where he served as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere. He also practiced law at Baker & McKenzie before serving as a counsel to the House International Relations Committee.

Senator Kirk is currently a United Nations Foundation Arthur H. Vandenberg distinguished fellow and a Board member of the International Republican Institute, the National Defense University Foundation and the African Middle Eastern Leadership (AMEL) Project.