Michael C. Polt

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Ambassador Michael C. Polt

Michael Christian Polt (born 1954 in Austria) is a United States diplomat. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia from 2009 to 2012. Currently he is a Senior Director at the McCain Institute.


Ambassador Polt assumed his position as a Senior Director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership on October 1, 2012, after concluding his 35-year diplomatic career and following his last assignment as Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia. Mr. Polt also served previously as U.S. Ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro. Prior to his ambassadorial missions, the Ambassador was Principal Deputy and Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs in the Powell and Clinton State Departments.

During his three decades as a career diplomat, Mr. Polt served as U.S. Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, Germany and Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’ Affaires of the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland. He has also served as Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Foreign Service for Management Reform and was a key member of the Senior Management Steering Board directing the State Department’s 2003-2005 multi-million dollar reinvention of its Diplomatic Communications System.

Ambassador Polt has held other senior positions in the Department of State, as Deputy Director for European Security and Arms Control issues, and in Panama City as Political Counselor of the U.S. Embassy during the time leading up to the U.S. military action against the Noriega regime in 1989. During his earlier career, Mr. Polt was assigned to Embassies in Bonn, Mexico City, and Copenhagen, as well as the U.S. Consulate in Bremen, Germany.

Mr. Polt has been the repeated recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and numerous Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards for Outstanding Policy Leadership, Management, Crisis Performance, and Political Analysis. He has been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Award for Service to U.S. Citizens Overseas by American Citizens Abroad. He is a member of the Board of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation and a Director on the Board of Enefit American Oil.

Ambassador Polt was born in Austria. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and an Honorary Doctorate from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Tennessee. He and his wife Hallie live in suburban northern Virginia. They have two grown children, Nicholas and Lindsay. The Polts enjoy sailing and skiing for relaxation and a good cup of coffee with time to savor it.


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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Stanley Davis Phillips
United States Ambassador to Estonia
Succeeded by
Jeffrey D. Levine