Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs
Richard G. Olson
Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs (CDDEA)
Term of Appointment: June 2011 to present
Ambassador Richard Olson is the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs, U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, effective June 2011.
He previously 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.
Mr. 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 at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi and as U.S. Consul General in Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq. Immediately prior to returning to the UAE he served as 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 an A.B. in Law and Society (Honors) and History.
Mr. Olson has been awarded the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, 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 is avid bicyclist, and competed in the March 2011 Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (sprint).