Richard B. Norland was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Georgia. He was sworn-in on July 26, 2012, and took up his duties upon presenting his credentials to President Saakashvili after his arrival in Georgia on September 5, 2012.
Ambassador Norland most recently was International Affairs Advisor/Deputy Commandant at the National War College. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan from September 2007 to July 2010. Prior to his tour as Ambassador, he served for two years as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission in Riga, Latvia, and served in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan as a diplomat with the U.S. Army Civil Affairs team promoting political and economic reconstruction.
Ambassador Norland was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council for two years during the Clinton and Bush administrations, focusing in particular on the Northern Ireland peace process, as well as on the Baltic States, OSCE, and a number of key European partners. He served as Political Counselor at the American Embassy in Dublin, Ireland during the negotiation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.
Ambassador Norland served from 1988-1990 as Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, USSR during President Gorbachev's tenure and the period of glasnost and perestroika. He was detailed to the Pentagon's Office of the Secretary of Defense, where he worked on policy issues following the break-up of the Soviet Union. He served in 1993 as the U.S. representative and acting mission head on the CSCE Mission to Georgia, addressing conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and later visited Chechnya in a similar capacity.
Earlier in his career Ambassador Norland served in the United States' northernmost diplomatic office, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, as Chief of the U.S. Information Office in Tromso, Norway. He later served as Senior Arctic Official coordinating the U.S. chairmanship of the Arctic Council. He was also a Special Assistant (for African Affairs) to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He served as Norway-Denmark desk officer, and as assistant desk officer for South Africa. His first tour was in Manama, Bahrain.
The son of an American diplomat, Ambassador Norland was born in Morocco and grew up in Africa and Europe as well as the United States. Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1980 Ambassador Norland worked as a legislative analyst in the Iowa House of Representatives. He graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1977. He has Masters' Degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and the National War College. Ambassador Norland is a recipient of the 2010 Presidential Distinguished Service Award and a Department of State Superior Honor Award for his work in Georgia in 1993. He speaks Russian, French, and Norwegian.