After graduating at the University of Ljubljana in 1982 Dr Marjan Cencen started his career as a high school teacher and academic researcher and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992 as Counsellor in the Department for Africa, Asia and Latin America and later in the Department for Multilateral Relations. His first posting from 1995 to 2000 was as Deputy Head of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Beijing. From 2000 to 2003 he was a State Undersecretary and Deputy Head of Department for North America. From 2003 to 2005 he served as Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Moscow and from 2005 to 2009 as Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to the People’s Republic of China, also accredited to Vietnam, Mongolia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Thailand .
In 2009 he was appointed Coordinator for European Parliament, Chair of WG for Integrity at the MFA in EU Policies Department. In February 2012 he was appointed Director General for Bilateral Relations and in August 2013 as Head of Department for Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania. From 2014 to 2018 he was Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Canada, also accredited to the Republic of Cuba. After returning in 2018 he was a Special coordinator for NATO membership anniversary. In November 2019 he was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia to Republic of India.
Dr Cencen defended his PhD thesis on international relations in 2004. Before that he did a field research in Nepal in 1988, studying the impact of population growth on the environment and successfully defended his Master thesis in 1989. He is also author of several scientific articles about Asia and Africa, he shot documentary films in India, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda for a private TV station and is author of a book on Chinese foreign policy as well as co-author of a book on Afghanistan.
He is married to Lilijana Cencen Pogorevčnik and has two daughters: Veronika and Eva