Andris Razans became ambassador of Latvia to the United States on July 30, 2012.
Ambassador Razans previously served as political director/undersecretary of state at the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2010-12), where he also held posts as ambassador at large of the ministry’s Policy Planning Group (2009-10); counselor and head of the Policy Planning Group (2003-04); head of the EU Policy Division (1997-98); and desk officer of the Northern Europe Division (1993-94). In addition, he was Latvia’s ambassador to Denmark (2004-09), diplomatic advisor to the Latvian prime minister (2004), and deputy head of mission of the Latvian Embassy in Sweden (2000-03). Ambassador Razans was also diplomatic advisor to the Latvian president (1998-2000), as well as second secretary and third secretary at the Latvian Embassy in Denmark (1994-97).
Ambassador Razans holds a master’s degree in history from Latvian State University and has studied at Sweden’s Stockholm University and Lund University, where he was a guest researcher, as well as the London School of Economics and USIA Visitors program for young leaders.
He speaks Latvian, English, Russian and Swedish as well as some German, Danish, Norwegian and French.
Joseph Cole became ambassador of Malta to the United States on July 30, 2012.
Ambassador Cole previously served as director-general of European and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2009-12); chairman of the Malta Sanctions Monitoring Board (2009-12); a member of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (2009-10); and director of global issues at the ministry (2006-09). He was also vice chairman of the National UNESCO Commission (2006-09), deputy high commissioner in London (1998-2001), and consul general for Malta in New South Wales, Australia (1983-85). In addition, Ambassador Cole served as assistant to the director-general in the Ministry of Finance and Commerce (1996-97) and head of unit in the Enforcement Division of the Inland Revenue Department (1987-96).
Ambassador Cole specialized in science and technology at the Malta College of Arts and is married to the former Bernadette Bunce and has a daughter named Christine.
Rudolf Simon Bekink became ambassador of the Netherlands to the United States on July 30, 2012 having most recently served as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (2008-12), following stints as the Dutch ambassador to Belgium (2004-08) and Sweden (2000-04).
Ambassador Bekink served in Washington, D.C., on a prior occasion, as first secretary to the embassy’s political department from 1982 to 1986, covering Africa, Latin America, Europe and protocol. In addition, he was director of protocol for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2000, during which time he directed state visits to the Netherlands, as well as deputy head of mission with the Dutch Permanent Representation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris (1992-97). Ambassador Bekink also held posts in the Personnel Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1990-92) and was deputy head of division at the Ministry of Economic Affairs (1989-90), as well as chargé d’affaires to Ghana (1986-89). He began working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1976, serving in Greece, Angola and the East Asia Division of the Foreign Ministry.
Ambassador Bekink was born on Sept. 30, 1950, in Assen, a town of about 67,000 people in the northeastern part of the Netherlands, and earned a master’s degree in economy from the University of Groningen.
He married businesswoman Gabrielle de Kuyper of Austin, Texas, in August 2011, and he has three grown sons. He can be followed on Twitter at @RBekink.
Ashok Kumar Mirpuri became ambassador of Singapore to the United States on July 30, 2102 having most recently served as Singapore’s ambassador to Indonesia since July 2006.
Ambassador Mirpuri was also Singapore’s high commissioner to Malaysia (2002-06) and high commissioner to Australia (2000-02). Ambassador Mirpuri joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1984, serving as first secretary (political) at the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta (1987-91) and as director of the ministry’s Policy Planning & Analysis Directorate I, specializing in Southeast Asia (1994-97). In 1997, Ambassador Mirpuri was seconded to Shell International Ltd. in the United Kingdom as corporate advisor (Asia Pacific), returning to the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta in 1998 as minister-counselor and deputy chief of mission.
Ambassador Mirpuri holds an honors degree in political science from the National University of Singapore, and he received his master’s of arts degree from the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies under a Raffles Scholarship. He also did the Programme for Executive Development at the Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in the United States. Ambassador Mirpuri was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Gold) by the Singapore government in 2010.