Ambassador from Kazakhstan: Who Is Kairat Umarov?
The central Asian nation of Kazakhstan—the largest of the former soviet republics that gained independence during the dissolution of the old Soviet Union—sent a new ambassador to the U.S. at the beginning of 2013. Kairat Umarov, now serving his third stint in Washington, D.C., presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 14, succeeding ambassador Erlan A. Idrissov, who had served since July 4, 2007.
Born January 12, 1963, in Fergana, Uzbekistan, Kairat Yermekovich Umarov earned his undergraduate degree at the Almaty Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages in 1985, teaching there as well from 1987 to 1988, and a Ph.D. in History at the Kazakh University of History, Archeology and Ethnography in 1989. He was chief editor of the Writers’ Union of Kazakhstan from 1989 to 1991.
After Kazakhstan declared its independence in 1991, Umarov left the academic orbit for public service in the nation’s newly founded Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 1992 to 1994, he served as second secretary, first secretary, and head of section at the Ministry headquarters in the capital city of Almaty.
Umarov’s first foreign posting was to the U.S., as he served as first secretary and counselor at the Kazakh Embassy in Washington, from 1994 to 1996. Back in Almaty, Umarov served as deputy director of the Ministry's European States Department from 1996 to 1997, and as eputy director of its Third Department from 1997 to 1998.
Umarov returned for his second American stint to serve as minister-counselor at the embassy from 1998 to 2003. In 2004, he served as ambassador-at-large and chief inspector of the Foreign Policy Center of the Administration of the President of Kazakhstan.
Later in 2004, Umarov received his first ambassadorship, serving as ambassador to India at the Kazakh embassy in New Delhi from 2004 to 2009, concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka from 2008 to 2009. He then served as deputy foreign minister of Kazakhstan from 2009 to January 2013.
Umarov, speaks Kazakh, Russian, English and French. He and his wife, Galiya, have one son.
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