Erika Olson is the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus. She previously served as Director for Regional Political Military Affairs in Europe guiding U.S. participation at NATO and the OSCE. From 2019-2021 she directed the Office of Northern Europe, the Baltics, and Arctic Security.
While serving as Economic Counselor for the United States Mission in Turkey from 2016-2019, she won the Department’s Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance. Overseas she has also served as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia; Deputy Political Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia; Political Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and Consul and Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. In Washington she was Senior Advisor and Acting Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom and a Watch Officer/ Senior Watch Officer in the Secretary of State’s Operation Center. She entered the State Department as a Presidential Management Fellow in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Ms. Olson worked alongside Ambassador Robert Oakley at the National Defense University on conflict and resilience. She advised the Director General of the Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Department of Commerce, and worked for Microsoft and the Mitsui Corporation.
Erika holds a M.A. in Foreign Affairs with a concentration in international economic policy from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs and a B.A. with Honors in psychology and Japanese studies from Whitman College. She studied at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan. She speaks Turkish and Russian, and has studied Japanese, Georgian, and Slovak.