Richard L. Morningstar is the United States Ambassador to the Republic of Azerbaijan. Appointed by President Obama, he was sworn in by Secretary of State Clinton on July 20, 2012.
Prior to his appointment, since April 2009, he was the Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy. Prior to that, Ambassador Morningstar lectured at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and Stanford Law School. He has also taught at Brown University and Boston College Law School.
From June 1999 to September 2001, he served as United States Ambassador to the European Union. Prior to this, Ambassador Morningstar served as Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, where he was responsible for assuring maximum coordination within the Executive Branch and with other governments and international organizations to promote United States policies on Caspian Basin energy development and transportation. From April 1995 to July 1998, he served as Ambassador and Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance for the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union where he oversaw all U.S. bilateral assistance and trade investment activities in the NIS. From 1993 to 1995, he served as Senior Vice President of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).
Ambassador Morningstar also served as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of the Costar Corporation from 1990 to 1993 and as President and Chief Executive Officer from 1981 to 1990. He was an attorney with Peabody and Brown (now Nixon and Peabody) in Boston from 1970 to 1981, where he became a Partner in 1977.
Ambassador Morningstar served as a Commissioner of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (1989 – 1993). Prior to returning to the Government in 2009, he served as Director of the American Councils for International Education, a Trustee of the Kosovo-America Educational Foundation, and a Trustee of the Eurasia Foundation. He is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ambassador Morningstar is the author of numerous articles on foreign policy, including “The FSC Challenge”, “The Three-Dimensional Practice of Law in the International Arena,” “Unilateralism, Multilateralism and the National Interest” (co-authored with Coit Blacker), “The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan Pipeline: A Retrospective and a Look at the Future,” and “The Great Game: An Opportunity for Transatlantic Cooperation.”
Ambassador Morningstar was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1945. He received his B.A. from Harvard in 1967 and J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1970.