Ambassador Burns provides unparalleled expertise in his presentations on topics ranging from globalization and America’s future in global leadership to how India and China’s rise to power affects the global economy. He believes that America’s prosperity and security depend on our taking into account the world’s concerns; delivering a positive, hopeful image; participating constructively in international organizations (emphasizing multilateralism); and becoming a more energized, enlightened, and effective global leader.
As under secretary (the nation’s third-ranking official), Burns oversaw the bureaus responsible for U.S. policy in each region of the world and served in the senior career foreign service position at the Department. Among his many accomplishments are shepherding negotiations of the first civil nuclear energy agreement with India; leading negotiations with China, Russia, and Europe on the Iran nuclear crisis; and helping forge an agreement with Brazil on the development of biofuels. He also negotiated a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel.
Before serving as under secretary, Burns worked for five years on the National Security Council at the White House where he was first the director for Soviet (and then Russian) affairs and then the senior director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia affairs. As the State Department spokesman, he became a household name during the Bosnian war. In 1997, Burns became the ambassador to Greece, playing a key role in the Kosovo war. In 2001, he was appointed as the ambassador to NATO, where he led efforts to secure support for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Burns had also previously served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, where he coordinated economic assistance to Palestine, and, before that, at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania.
Burns has received 12 honorary degrees, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from Johns Hopkins, and the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award. He is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, director of the Future of Diplomacy Project, and faculty chair for programs on the Middle East and South Asia. Additionally, he is the director of the Aspen Strategy Group, senior counselor at the Cohen Group, and vice chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation.
- The Future of Foreign Policy
- Diplomacy in the 21st Century
- Egypt and the Middle East
Current turmoil in the Middle East will no doubt impact American interests. Ambassador Nicholas Burns discusses potential strategies for mitigating the risk. A prolonged crisis in Egypt could affect the price of oil, overall stability in the Middle East, Israeli security, and U.S. trade and investment. The emergence of a radical Islamist Egyptian government in the future would change the entire calculus of our policy. The revolts that have spread in the Arab world – from Tunisia and Egypt to Yemen and Jordan – will provide the most critical potential point of change in the politics, economics, and business interests of the Middle East in decades. Burns has been repeatedly interviewed by Fox, CNN, BBC, CBS, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, and other media on what these events mean for the business community in terms of trade, investment, energy markets, national security, and American interests in general. In this presentation, Burns address the crisis, its originations, and how the resulting changes will affect American business and security.