Ambassador Nicholas Burns is the Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and also of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
Burns is Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum, and Senior Counselor at The Cohen Group. He is Chairman of the Board of Our Generation Speaks, which seeks to bring together young Palestinians and Israelis in common purpose.
Burns served in the United States government as a career Foreign Service Officer. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; the State Department’s third-ranking official. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked on the National Security Council as Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs; Special Assistant to President Clinton; and Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush. Burns served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania.