Richard Olson became US Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates on September 23, 2008. A graduate of Brown University in 1981, where he received an AB in Law and Society (Honors) and History, Olson joined the Foreign Service in 1982.
He has served overseas in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia (as the US Embassy’s liaison officer to General Schwarzkopf during the 1991 Gulf War), Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates, where he served both at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi (1999-2001) and as US Consul General in Dubai (2001-2003), and in Najaf, Iraq. He volunteered to work with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) as Governorate Coordinator for the province of Najaf.
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 (NEA/I), including as director.
He most recently served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Mission to NATO from 2006-2008.
Olson is married to Foreign Service Officer Deborah Jones, currently the US Ambassador to Kuwait. They have two daughters.