Richard Murphy

Richard W. Murphy has followed Near Eastern developments for over 40 years, 34 of which were spent as a career foreign service officer. He holds A.B. degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University. After service in the U.S. Army he joined the foreign service of the State Department and from 1955-68 served in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); Beirut Lebanon; Aleppo, Syria; Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; and Amman, Jordan. He spent 1968-71 in Washington, D.C., as County Director for the Arabian Peninsula and Director of Personnel for the Near Eastern Bureau. In 1971, President Nixon nominated him as Ambassador to Mauritania and in 1974 he became Ambassador to Syria. He then served as Ambassador to the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. From 1983-1989, he served as Assistant Security of State for Near East and South Asian Affairs under President Reagan. During that period he was particularly active in the Israeli-Arab peace process. Richard Murphy has received the President's Distinguished Service Award three times and the State Department's Superior Honor Award twice. In 1985 he was named Career Ambassador, a title held by only five officers serving at any given time. Retiring from government service in 1989, Mr. Murphy joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for the Middle East and has continued to visit that region several times a year.