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Man smiling for picture. (Photo Credit: State Dept.)

Richard Olson presented credentials as U.S. Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to President Asif Ali Zardari at the Governor’s House in Karachi on October 31, 2012.

Previously, he served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2011 to 2012. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011. He is a member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister Counselor.

Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He has served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, (where he served both in Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

His Washington assignments include:

  • State Department Operations Center (twice),
  • NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and
  • The Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director.

He graduated from Brown University in 1981, receiving a B.A. in Law and Society (Honors) and History.

Olson has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Award for Public Outreach, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq).

He is the father of two daughters. In his spare time, Olson enjoys cycling and hiking.