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Last modified: Monday, March 8, 2004

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia to visit Bloomington

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Richard Miles, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Georgia and an Indiana University alumnus, will return to the Bloomington campus to give a lecture on Friday (March 5) and accept IU's Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Miles will present a talk, "Recent and Prospective Changes in the Republic of Georgia," at 3 p.m. in the Walnut Room of the Indiana Memorial Union. He also will participate in a job fair for students in Slavic studies and will receive the DASA award on Thursday. The honor is IU's highest award that can only be given to an alumna or alumnus.

He earned a master's degree in political science from IU in 1964. In 1975, when he was working for the State Department in the Office of Soviet Affairs, he earned a graduate certificate from IU's highly-regarded Russian and East European Institute.

Miles' studies at IU directly contributed to his preparation for a career in the Foreign Service, where he has employed his knowledge in Russian and East European studies and government.

A native of Arkansas, Miles grew up on farms and in small towns in south central Indiana. At age 17, he enlisted in the Marines. After his discharge, he continued his education in California and came to IU for graduate school.

At IU in 1963, he became active in the civil rights movement. After his graduation in 1964, he joined his wife, Sharon, in South Carolina and became a field director of the South Carolina Voter Education Project, where he worked to build an influential statewide political organization of black voters, conducted leadership training programs, and led efforts to increase voter registration among blacks.

He entered the Foreign Service in 1967 and served in a variety of posts in Oslo, Moscow, Belgrade and elsewhere. He was principal officer of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin and U.S. Consul General in Leningrad. He served as ambassador to Azerbaijan from 1992 to 1993, as chief of mission in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, from 1996 to 1999, and as ambassador to Bulgaria from 1999 to 2001. He currently occupies the position of ambassador to the Republic of Georgia, a former republic of the Soviet Union that occupies a strategic position in the war on terrorism.

Miles is a recipient of the State Department's Meritorious Honor Award and a two-time recipient of the Group Superior Honor Award. In 1992, he received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award.