Eric N. Richardson is a 20-year veteran of the Foreign Service and an attorney who has spent much of the past 15 years working to improve human rights around the world. He is currently the Political-Economic Counselor at the U.S. Embassy for Libya, based in Tunis, Tunisia. For the previous three years, he served as the deputy to the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, for which he was nominated for this award. Prior to that, Richardson served in Washington in the Office of the Legal Adviser, in the Office of Undersecretary for Civilian Security Maria Otero, as North Korea Chief, and as a Foreign Policy Fellow for House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Tom Lantos. While on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Richardson worked on legislation involving internet freedom and Burma sanctions and assisted with investigations of Yahoo!'s role in the jailing of Chinese Internet dissidents. Overseas, his assignments have included embassies in Tel Aviv, Wellington, New Zealand and Beijing, where he served as human rights officer and was named the State Department's 2005 Human Rights Officer of the Year. He speaks Mandarin Chinese, French, Hebrew and German and is currently studying Arabic.
Prior to joining the State Department, Richardson practiced administrative law at the Washington, DC office of Morrison & Foerster. He holds a bachelor's degree in International Relations from Stanford University, a master's degree in Law and World Politics from the University of Michigan, and law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He has lectured on China and on human rights issues at both Stanford and Michigan, and is an adjunct faculty member teaching on human rights and negotiation theory at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. He has lectured at conferences on topics ranging from atrocity prevention to Internet Freedom and is the editor of "Calming AIDS Phobia" 28 U MICH J LAW REFORM 733 (1995).
Richardson is married to Maureen Murphy Richardson, an Africa specialist at the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS in Geneva Switzerland and the proud father of Siena, a senior majoring in drama at NYU, Maya, a freshman at UCLA, and Zac, a high school guitarist in Geneva.