Having followed Near Eastern developments for over 40 years, 34 of which were spent as a career Foreign Service Officer, Network 20/20 Advisory Council Member Richard Murphy holds A.B. degrees from Harvard and Cambridge University. After service in the U.S. Army he joined the State Department's Foreign Service and from 1955-68 served in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe); Lebanon; Syria; Saudi Arabia; and Jordan. In 1971 President Nixon nominated him as Ambassador to Mauritania and in 1974 he became Ambassador to Syria. He then served as Ambassador to the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. From 1983-1989 he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. Mr. Murphy has received the President's Distinguished Service Award three times and the State Department's Superior Honor Award twice. In 1985 he was named Career Ambassador, a title held by only five serving officers at any given time. Retiring from government service in 1989, Mr. Murphy joined the Council on Foreign Relations in New York as the Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for the Middle East and has continued to visit that region several times a year. He is a frequent commentator for NPR, CNN, and the BBC, and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Financial Times, among others. He is a trustee of the American University of Beirut, on the Board of the Near East Foundation, and Chairman of the Middle East Institute in Washington.
He is on the executive committee of the Virtue Foundation.
He is a director of the American Iranian Council.
He is on the National Advisory Council, U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East.