Ambassador from Latvia: Who Is Andris Razāns?
As of July 30, 2012, the ambassador from the Baltic nation of Latvia to the United States has been career diplomat Andris Razāns. In a bit of Latvian musical chairs, Razāns succeeds Andrejs Pildegovičs, who is returning to Latvia to succeed Razāns as the political director at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Born February 20, 1967, in Latvia, Razāns studied engineering at Riga Polytechnic Institute and earned an MA in History at Latvian State University in 1993. He was a guest student in 1991 at Stockholm University in Sweden, and a guest researcher in 1994 at Lund University, also in Sweden. In April 1999, Razāns participated in a United State Information Agency’s visitors program for young leaders.
After joining the Latvian Foreign Ministry in 1992, Razāns served as desk officer of the Northern Europe Division from October 1993 to July 1994. His first overseas assignment was to serve as third secretary, and then as second secretary, at the Latvian embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, from July 1994 to August 1997. Back in Riga, Razāns served as head of the EU Policy Division at the Foreign Ministry from August 1997 to January 1998, when he was named diplomatic advisor to the President of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, a post he filled until March 2000.
He served as deputy head of mission at the Latvian embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, from March 2000 to July 2003, followed by short stints as head of the Policy Planning Group at the Foreign Ministry from July 2003 to March 2004 and as diplomatic advisor to the Latvian Prime Minister, Indulis Emsis, from April to December 2004.
Razāns served his first ambassadorship as ambassador to Denmark from December 2004 to July 2009, concurrently accredited to Morocco starting June 25, 2008. He returned to the Ministry Policy Planning Group as ambassador at large from July 2009 to February 2010.
In early 2010, Razāns was nominated to be foreign minister, but withdrew his name in April, the day before Latvia’s parliament was set to approve the appointment, citing “personal family problems.” It was rumored that Latvian President Valdim Zatlers objected to his nomination. Instead, Razāns served as political director and undersecretary of state at the Foreign Affairs Ministry from February 2010 to July 2012.
A bit of a polyglot, in addition to his native Latvian Razāns speaks fluent English, Russian and Swedish, and with less proficiency, German, Danish, Norwegian and French. He and his wife Gunta, an economist, have two children: daughter Zane (1996) and son Herman (2002).
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