Aspen Strategy Group Welcomes Nicholas Burns

July 2, 2009

Contacts: Jonathon Price
Associate Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, The Aspen Institute

Washington, D.C. July 2, 2009 – The Aspen Strategy Group (ASG) is pleased to announce former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns will join the ASG as its new Director.  Ambassador Burns, the highest-ranking career diplomat at the Department of State until his retirement last year, is succeeding outgoing Director Kurt M. Campbell, who was sworn in by the State Department this week as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

Ambassador Burns is Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He retired in 2008 from the United States Foreign Service after a 27-year career. While serving in the Foreign Service, Ambassador Burns was the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Prior to that, he was United States Ambassador to NATO from 2001 to 2005, Ambassador to Greece from 1997 to 2001, and State Department Spokesman for Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Warren Christopher from 1995 to 1997. He also served at the National Security Council from 1990 to 1995. He was Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and, before that, Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush.  He also served in the American Embassies in Egypt and Mauritania and at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem.

Co-chaired by Brent Scowcroft and Joseph Nye, Jr., the Aspen Strategy Group is a bi-partisan forum dedicated to thoroughly exploring the critical national security and foreign policy challenges facing the nation.  ASG examines foreign policy trends outside the Cold War dichotomies of friends and foes by focusing on transnational issues that blend foreign and domestic subjects.  The program has moved beyond its Cold War origins and today includes a new generation of policymakers representing a range of perspectives.  Founded in 1984 with a concentration on strategic relations, arms control issues, and the U.S.-Soviet relationship, the group evolved to also include legislators, government officials, business and industry representatives, and journalists. The approach, however, has remained constant: Use a bipartisan lens to identify the most contentious foreign policy and national security concerns facing our nation and assess America’s evolving interests. Recent workshops, briefings, and reports have covered the national security implications of global climate change, mapping the Jihadist threat, and the challenge of nuclear proliferation. An ongoing U.S.-India dialogue also meets under the auspices of the group, as well as the Aspen Atlantic Group, a forum where former foreign ministers from across the political spectrum meet to develop nonpartisan recommendations that address global challenges.

About The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, CO, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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