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Nicholas Burns

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Littauer 374
John F. Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK St.
Cambridge, MA, 02138

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Nicholas Burns

Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Faculty Director, Future of Diplomacy Project

Faculty Chair, Middle East Initiative

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: 617-495-2495
Email: nicholas_burns@hks.harvard.edu
Website: http://www.twitter.com/rnicholasburns
Publications: http://pages05.net/hks-belfercenter/forms/NicholasBurns

 

Experience


Nicholas Burns is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 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 serves on the Board of Directors of the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Burns is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc.  He is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board at the U.S. Department of State. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Olympics International, the Diplomacy Center Foundation, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, The Trilateral Commission, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the Atlantic Council, America Abroad Media, the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Boston Committee on Foreign Relations, and the Gennadius Library. He is Vice Chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation and serves on the Panel of Senior Advisors at Chatham House: the Royal Institute of International Affairs.  He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Order of Saint John and Red Sox Nation.

Professor Burns served in the United States government for twenty-seven years.  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 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), Ambassador 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 where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985–1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt (1983-1985) and Mauritania (1980 as an intern).

Professor Burns has received twelve honorary degrees, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service from the Johns Hopkins University, the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award, and the Jean Mayer Global Citizenship Award from Tufts University. He has a BA in History from Boston College (1978), an MA in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (1980), and earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise at the University of Paris-Sorbonne (1977). He was a visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in summer 2008.

 

 

By Date

 

2016

November 15, 2016

"Possible SecDef Pick, Clinton Advisers Talk Trump Foreign Policy"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Roll Call

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School and Michèle Flournoy, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Adjusting to the election defeat of Hillary Clinton, defense and foreign policy experts like Michèle Flournoy, who was seen as the favorite to become the first female Defense secretary, and Nicholas Burns, who was thought to be in the running for a senior position at the State Department or White House, offered their recommendations on foreign policy and on what qualities they hope President-elect Donald Trump will look for as he selects a leader for Foggy Bottom.

 

 

November 11, 2016

Managing Risk in an Unstable World

Event Summary

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Dr. Ian Bremmer, expert in political risk and founder of the Eurasia Group, gave a seminar sponsored by the the Future of Diplomacy Project on Thursday, November 9 at the Harvard Kennedy School, titled “Managing Risk in an Unstable World."

 

 

November 9, 2016

Obama Legacy on the Line as Voters Repudiate Clinton

In the News

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

No U.S. president put more on the line than Barack Obama to ensure the election of his chosen successor. Now, Hillary Clinton’s failure may serve as a repudiation of much of his two-term legacy.

 

 

November 9, 2016

"For President Trump, the road ahead"

Op-Ed, Harvard Gazette

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

In the immediate wake of Donald Trump's victory, Professor Nicholas Burns and other Harvard experts ponder changes across the American and global landscapes.

 

 

November 3, 2016

"The next American president must look to Europe first"

Op-Ed, Financial Times

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

When the cold war ended 25 years ago, Europe emerged as prosperous, democratic, united and peaceful. Today, however, it faces interlocking crises that threaten to undermine the continent’s economy and weaken the EU.

This has significant implications for the US and for its next president. Europe remains America’s largest trade partner and investor, and 25 European nations are members of Nato, its most important military alliance. As a global power, the US must interact with every major region of the world. But for all the undeniable importance of the so-called pivot to Asia, the next US president may have to focus first on Europe.

 

 

Fall/Winter 2016-2017

Newsmakers

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School, Paul de Sa, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, 1999-2000, Chuck Hagel, Visiting Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Institute of Politics, Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa, Juliette Kayyem, Belfer Lecturer in Inernational Security, Harvard Kennedy School, Zhu Liu, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Joseph S. Nye, Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, Barry Posen, Former Research Fellow, International Security Program, 1979-1981; Former Associate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 1995-2000; Editorial Board Member, Quarterly Journal: International Security, Robert Springborg, Kuwait Foundation Visiting Scholar, Middle East Initiative and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

A sampling of Belfer Center fellows and affiliates in the news.

 

 

October 19, 2016

Conversations in Diplomacy: Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Media Feature

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

'Conversations in Diplomacy' is the Future of Diplomacy Project's podcast series. In this installment of “Conversations in Diplomacy," the Project's Faculty Director, Nicholas Burns, speaks with Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former NATO Secretary General and Prime Minister of Norway.

 

 

Bennett Craig

September 23, 2016

"The Three Ages of NATO: An Evolving Alliance"

Speech

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

Jens Stoltenberg,NATO Secretary General, discussed the future of the NATO alliance during this speech, given at the Harvard Kennedy School on September 23, 2016. He described the alliance as a responsive organization, capable of adapting to changes in the international security landscape but committed to the continuity of its founding values. In particular, he emphasized the necessity of maintaining a policy of absolute solidarity among member states, especially  in light of the exacerbating civil war in Syria and Russia’s aggressive stance toward countries to the East of NATO member state borders.

 

 

Jens Stoltenberg

September 23, 2016

The Future of Diplomacy Project Hosts NATO Secretary General

Event Summary

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

On September 23, His Excellency Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, visited the Kennedy School for a Future of Diplomacy seminar and expert lunch. During the seminar, titled "The Three Ages of NATO: An Evolving Alliance," Mr. Stoltenberg described the alliance as a responsive organization, capable of adapting to changes in the international security landscape but committed to the continuity of its founding values. In particular, he emphasized the necessity of maintaining a policy of absolute solidarity among member states, especially  in light of the exacerbating civil war in Syria and Russia’s aggressive stance toward countries to the East of NATO member state borders.

 

 

July 7, 2016

North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Russia, and European Security

Testimony

By Nicholas Burns, Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, Harvard Kennedy School

On the eve of the Warsaw NATO Summit, Professor Burns and his Co-Chair of a recent Atlantic Council report on NATO, General Jim Jones, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. They described the current situation in Europe—including Putin's widespread aggression, a weakening European Union, the tsunami of instability from the Middle East and uncertain western leadership—as the greatest threat to peace since the end of the Cold War. 

They advocated strong measures in response including the permanent stationing of NATO forces in Poland, the Baltic States, the Black Sea and the Arctic.  We also advocated that the U.S. and EU maintain sanctions on Russia for its illegal division of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.