U.S. Ambassador to Suriname: Who Is Edwin Richard Nolan Jr.?

Sunday, October 25, 2015
Edwin Nolan

Edwin Richard “Ned” Nolan Jr., a career member of the Foreign Service, is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next ambassador to Suriname, according to a May 6, 2015, announcement. If he’s confirmed by the Senate, it will be the first such post for Nolan.


Nolan is from Massachusetts, graduating from Melrose High School in Melrose in 1973. He attended nearby Boston College, graduating in 1977 with a BA in history and political science. He also did graduate work at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.


Nolan joined the Foreign Service in 1981. His early assignments included being a rotational officer at the embassy in Ottawa, Canada; political officer in the Office of Strategic Technology Affairs; a member of the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Confidence and Security Building Measures and Disarmament in Europe; political-military officer in the office of North Atlantic Treaty Organization Affairs; and political-military officer at the embassy in Oslo, Norway. Nolan has continued with his work in arms control and military issues to this day.


In 1992, he was named desk officer for Italy, the Vatican and Malta in the State Department’s Office of Western European Affairs. Nolan was sent as an exchange officer to the Department of Defense in 1994 as the DoD’s country director for Nordics. He returned to the State Department in 1996 as deputy director and political officer in the Office of Policy, Planning and Coordination in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs.


Nolan was sent to Ireland as chief of the political/economic section in the embassy in Dublin in 1998. In 2002, he was made Deputy Chief of Mission in Nicosia, Cyprus. He was in charge of the embassy when the State Department issued a negative report on Cyprus’ human rights record. Nolan was forced to bear the brunt of the Cypriot government’s anger at the report.


He returned to Washington in 2005 as deputy director in the Office of United Kingdom, Benelux, and Ireland in the Bureau of European Affairs and in 2007 was named political officer in the Office of European Affairs. In 2008, he was named Director of the Office of Canadian Affairs.


Nolan went overseas again in 2010 as Deputy Chief of Mission, and for a time Chargé d’Affaires, at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague. He returned to Ottawa in 2013 in the rank of minister-counselor for political affairs at the embassy there.


Nolan and his wife, Tricia, have two children. He speaks Spanish, Norwegian, and German.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Announcement

Report for the Committee on Foreign Relations


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