Richard Verma

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Richard Verma
Richard Verma.jpg
United States Ambassador to India
In office
January 16, 2015 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
DeputyMaryKay L. Carlson
Preceded byKathleen Stephens (Acting)
Succeeded byKenneth I. Juster
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
In office
April 6, 2009 – March 14, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byMatthew Reynolds
Succeeded byJoseph Macmanus (Acting)
Personal details
Richard Rahul Verma

(1968-11-27) November 27, 1968 (age 50)
Edmonton, Canada
Spouse(s)Melineh Verma
Alma materLehigh University (BS)
American University (JD)
Georgetown University (LLM)

Richard Rahul Verma (born November 27, 1968) is an American lawyer and the former United States Ambassador to India from 2015 to 2017.[1] Verma was previously nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, a position he held until March 2011.[2]

Verma currently serves as Vice Chairman of The Asia Group.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Verma’s parents were born in India and lived through the Partition of India. Verma’s father became a professor of English, specializing in Indian Literature,[4] at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown for 40 years and his late mother, Savitri, was a special needs school teacher. Richard, the youngest of their five children growing up in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, attended public school in the Westmont Hilltop School District.[5] Verma graduated from Lehigh University (BS, Industrial Engineering), American University Washington College of Law (JD), and Georgetown University (LLM). At Lehigh, Verma was in ROTC, a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and his senior class president.


Barack Obama with Richard Verma
Barack Obama with Richard Verma, December 2014
Richard Verma with India's then Revenue Secretary, Shaktikanta Das at the signing of FATCA.

Verma began his career in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Force judge advocate. Verma subsequently worked as a lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson until he became a senior adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid from 2002 to 2007.[6] In 2007, he was named by the organization "India Abroad" as one of the 50 most influential Indian-Americans.[7] In 2008, he was a member of the Commission on the Prevention of WMD proliferation and terrorism, and co-authored World at Risk (2008).[8]

After the inauguration of President Barack Obama, he joined the State Department in 2009 as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs under Secretary Hillary Clinton, replacing Matthew A. Reynolds.[9]

After leaving the State Department in 2011, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of Steptoe & Johnson as a senior counselor.[10] He also served as a member of the Secretary of State's Foreign Affairs Policy Board.[11]

US Ambassador to India[edit]

In September 2014 Obama nominated Verma as the next U.S. Ambassador to India.[12][13] On December 4, 2014, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations voted to forward Verma's nomination to the full Senate. On December 9, 2014, Verma was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate[14][15] Verma presented his credentials to President Pranab Mukherjee at a ceremony in Rashtrapati Bhavan on January 16, 2015.[16]

Verma was the first person of Indian descent to hold the position.[17]

Post Ambassadorship[edit]

Verma stepped down from his post as Ambassador on January 20, 2017 following the inauguration of President Donald Trump.[18][19]

Verma currently serves as Vice Chairman of The Asia Group.[3] He is also the Centennial Fellow at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service,[20] and he co-chairs the Center for American Progress’ U.S.-India Task Force.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Secretary of State John Kerry greets members of Verma's family in New Delhi.

Verma is married to Melineh Verma, an attorney. Prior to relocating to New Delhi, both lived in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. They have two twins and an older daughter.[5]


  1. ^ Revesz, Rachel (January 20, 2017). "Donald Trump has fired all foreign US ambassadors with nobody to replace them". The Independent. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  2. ^ "Verma, Richard R". 2009-04-06. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  3. ^ a b Haniffa, Aziz. "Former envoy Verma joins The Asia Group". Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  4. ^ The Indian Imagination: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English, K.D. Verma, Palgrave Macmillan, Jun 3, 2000
  5. ^ a b Obama names Richard Verma as new US envoy to India on rediff
  6. ^ "Decision Makers - Richard Verma - National Journal Online". Archived from the original on August 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  7. ^ Pfitzer, Kurt (December 23, 2014). "A NEW U.S. AMBASSADOR TO INDIA".
  8. ^ Verma, Richard; Graham, Bob; Talent, Jim; Allison, Graham; Roemer, Tim; Sherman, Wendy (December 3, 2008). World at Risk: The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism (2008 ed.). Vintage. p. 132. ISBN 0307473260. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Obama names envoys to Afghanistan, Iraq". The Daily Herald. 12 Mar 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  10. ^ Profile at Steptoe & Johnson
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  12. ^ "Obama nominates Indian-American as ambassador to India". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-09-19.
  13. ^ Harris, Gardiner (19 September 2014). "Lawyer Nominated as Ambassador to India". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  14. ^ Desai, Ronak D. (2014-12-12). "Understanding Richard Verma's Swift Senate Confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to India". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Rich Verma confirmed as US ambassador to India". Hindustan Times. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  18. ^ Desai, Ronak D. "U.S. Ambassador To India Richard Verma Leaves A Lasting Legacy To Follow". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  19. ^ a b Reporter, SUNITA SOHRABJI, India-West Staff. "Rich Verma, Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Joins USISPF Board". India West. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
  20. ^ "Former U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, Joins SFS as a Centennial Fellow - School of Foreign Service - Georgetown University". School of Foreign Service - Georgetown University. 2017-03-24. Retrieved 2017-11-19.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Reynolds
Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs
Succeeded by
Joseph Macmanus
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Kathleen Stephens
United States Ambassador to India
Succeeded by
Kenneth I. Juster