Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Nicholas Burns is Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was a visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in summer 2008.
He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group and serves on the Board of Directors of the Vangent Holding Corporation and the Advisory Board for Veracity Worldwide. Burns is on the Board of Directors of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Center for a New American Security, The Atlantic Council and a number of other non-profit organizations. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission., the Order of Saint John and Red Sox Nation.
Professor Burns served in the United States Foreign Service for twenty-seven years until his retirement in April 2008. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008, the State Department’s third-ranking official when he led negotiations on the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran’s nuclear program. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005) and to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked for five years (1990-1995) on the National Security Council at the White House when he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and, before that, Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem from 1985 to 1987 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. He has received ten honorary doctorates, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Johns Hopkins University and the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award. Burns has a BA in History from Boston College (1978) and an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980). He also earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne in 1977.