Mark Ballard was Scottish Green MSP for Lothians Region from 2003-2007 and was Rector of Edinburgh University from 2006-2009. He is married with two sons and lives in North Edinburgh. He currently works as Assistant Director (policy and influencing) at Barnardo's Scotland .
Mark was born on the 27th June 1971. He went to school at Lawnswood Comprehensive in Leeds from 1985 to 1989 and graduated Master of Arts in with Honours in Economic and Social History, from the University of Edinburgh having studied there from 1990 to 1994. Mark lived in Punjab, India from 1973-5 and in Islamabad, Pakistan from 1984-85 while his mother was doing a PhD comparing Asian women's access to healthcare in the UK and Pakistan. Later Mark worked in Amsterdam from 1994-1995, for European Youth Forest Action.
Between December 1994 and August 1998 Mark worked for European Youth Forest Action in various roles in Edinburgh and Amsterdam, then from September 1998 to December 2001 as Editor of the Journal, Reforesting Scotland. Mark established and ran an environmental communications consultancy company from January 2002 to April 2003.
His parents were involved in the Anti-Nazi league and the peace movement, so he got used to going on demos from a young age. He got involved in Youth CND and the youth wing of the labour party when he was fifteen. He was very active in the Labour Party, which lead to him getting involved in various issues such as campaigning against the Poll tax.
He left the labour party in 1991, resigning as secretary of Edinburgh University Labour club. He then became increasing involved in environmental campaigning and green politics. He helped to found the Scottish Green Student Network and was one of the national co-ordinators of the UK Green Student network in 1992-3. This drew him into contact with the Scottish Green Party. Mark was a Scottish Green Party candidate in the 1995 Council elections, 1999 Scottish elections and a council by-election in Edinburgh in 2001.
He was Green party spokesperson on International development in 1999-2000, Convenor of National Council 2000-2002 and National Secretary from 2002 to 2004. he is currently Co-Convenor of the Edinburgh Branch