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Profile: Richard G. Olson – US ambassador to Pakistan

Published Jul 18, 2012 07:14am


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Richard G. Olson - File photo
Richard G. Olson - File photo

Following the resignation of Cameron Munter from his position as the US ambassador to Pakistan, President Barack Obama has appointed Richard G. Olson to the office.

Before he officially takes over at the office of the ambassador in Pakistan, Olson will need confirmation by the Senate. He would serve in Pakistan as his country prepares to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan in 2014, a transition that also profoundly impacts rocky relations with Pakistan.

Munter, who had been an advocate within the Obama administration for reconciliation with Pakistan, resigned in May after a turbulent tenure in which US forces secretly killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. People close to him said he was frustrated that the CIA and Pentagon took the lead on Pakistan policy, with Munter’s job effectively to contain the fallout.

After a half-year standoff, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month said sorry to Pakistan for the deaths of 24 troops in an air raid near the Afghanistan border, leading Islamabad to reopen key supply routes.

Olson, the nominee to be ambassador to Pakistan, is a veteran of the State Department with 30-year experience, who served as the envoy to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011.

Until last month, Olson served in the US embassy in Kabul as the coordinator for development and economic affairs, a key priority for Washington as the United States prepares to withdraw its forces.

Olson joined the US Department of State in 1982, with an undergraduate degree in law, history and society from Brown University. Besides his recent appointments in the UAE and Afghanistan, Olson has also served tenures in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Iraq.

Olson has also served as the deputy chief of mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato).

In United States he was stationed to work on various assignments including state department operations Nato desk and the office of Iraqi affairs.

Olson received various accolades for his services to the United States. His awards include, Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the State Department’s Superior Honour Award and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award for his services in Iraq.


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Comments (28) Closed

Rauf Jul 18, 2012 10:58am
Looks pleasant personality. Hope for the best. Welcome to Pakistan Mr. Ambassador.
Zero Jul 18, 2012 03:50pm
Obama's 'blue-eyed' boy?!
saythetruth Jul 18, 2012 11:32am
New face but same Master with a total disregard for human rights. Behind the pretty boy face is the same face of America no care for the suffering of Pakistani people.
Easy Jul 18, 2012 01:24pm
Almost all the comments above are full of venom. What do you guys know about Mr. Olson ???
Zavia Jul 18, 2012 10:17am
He looks like Hollywood Director more than the ambassador. Welcome on Board Mr. Ambassador
Rizwan Jul 18, 2012 11:18am
didn't know that Hollywood directors have certain kind of looks that make them stand out among the crowd!
GPM Jul 18, 2012 12:47pm
The surname 'Olson' means he's likely to be a swedish-american. Welcome to the circus.
blum Jul 18, 2012 10:36am
Very true... more like a Hollywood actor or director. Welcome to Pakistan and you better be ready for the most exciting time of your life ;)
Javed Jul 18, 2012 08:02am
A word of advise for Mr. Richard G Olson. He should not indulge in the activities as his predecessor did.
omar Jul 18, 2012 08:05am
A hero of one nation is a terrorist for another nation...What has he done for peace and humanity?
Imran Jul 18, 2012 08:32am
His appointment indicates that Tension between two countries will continue for another 2-3 years.
Fawad Khan Jul 18, 2012 04:59pm
Here we are, as the US puts yet another *puppet in the hands* forward..!! Nothing's gonna change, it's merely a switch of personalities..
Rosen Jul 18, 2012 05:18pm
Thanks for telling the truth !!!
Asim Jul 18, 2012 06:46pm
Looks like from his looks he is determined to double the efforts of his predecessors...if you know what i mean :P welcome to Pakistan Mr. Ambassador, i'm sure this assignment will be different and a life time experience for you. Thanks!
Ahmed Jul 18, 2012 07:10pm
Munter was a good ambassador for Pakistan. He tried to understood the culture and politics of Pakistan better then anyone else. He had to deal with an incompetent governments in pakistan and USA and especially fool of a President.
Razi Khan Jul 18, 2012 08:09pm
The new ambassord will be impleting US policy guidelines, promoting and protecting USA interest in Pakistan. There is nothing wrong in this from US point of view. Personality and looks have nothing to do with this, we Pakistani should have a broader vision.__Razi
Ziarat Jul 18, 2012 08:19pm
Hope Mr. Ambassador will play a more proactive role by helping Pakistan's military establishment to end their Kill and Dump policy in Balochistan and will pursue longstanding project of Quetta, Balochistan Consulate. H
imran Jul 19, 2012 12:09am
why should America care for your suffering ? America has power, what do you have. America has educaton, what do you have? You better leave the world politics to the masters, just focus on how your umma will celebrate eid on the same day.
Imran Siddiqui Jul 19, 2012 12:27am
Has he ever worked for the CIA?
Nasir Haleem Jul 19, 2012 05:00am
Please Analyse the relations of Pak - US right from Pakistan Independence in 1947, and think who suffers more. I hope you will try your level best to provide Pakistan its due share for the loss we suffer of being a US partner. Treat Pakistan a partner not a servant, gain confidence and trust in the minds of Pakistanis specialy Pashtun Belt.
java Jul 19, 2012 05:50am
As long as US posts her civil servants with major defense and military exposure, both countries will create more problems for the world peace. Pakistan should discontinue all military ties with US and only welcome ambassadors with strong human development related backgrounds.
karak_voice Jul 19, 2012 06:27am
We are a nation.USA should have to change the approach earlier they have.We believe on globalization.A Respectful,Equal and Transparent relations are only adorable.No more cheats and short cuts here.Why not have any Pak-Us business venture being so old friends?
Iqbal Jul 19, 2012 07:11am
A suggestion Mr. Ambassador......i am sure that ur department has an option to resign on high moral was done by Munter...I am suggesting this just as an option and u will be a very contended and rerspected man.....cheers and welcome aboard.
SalooBhai Jul 19, 2012 07:47am
Caveat Emptor....His served tenures in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Iraq, UAE and Afghanistan shows that he is coming for final show down.....Watch out Pakistan :)
Pakistani Jul 20, 2012 09:32am
Ambassadors are like DRONES who are fed by their masters and does what they want them to do. They have little or no brain to think on their own.
syed Imtinan Ahmed Jul 21, 2012 06:28am
Ambassador Richard if u have read the comments u will know by now that we in Pakistan care a lot about looks.So u have an upside there in contrast with your predecessor ,who as my fellows put it was not like a "Hollywood director" So go for the Prime time slot with our TV anchors and i assure u will find a lot of fan base among our aunties who are looking for eligible bachelors for their daughters . As for diplomacy i think it will be business as usual; transactional relationship it was and transactional relationship it will be .Welcome to Paksitan
Farooq Jul 23, 2012 03:34am
We as Americans should repect the soverignty of pakistan and look beyond the short term goal and broaden the ties to pakistan in every sector of trade and technology. Pakistan is very very important to world peace and we should recognige that fact and now foige ties long term not short term
Tojo Jul 23, 2012 04:46am
Very shallow comments.