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Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations
Contact:
617-496-3255
617-495-2519

Ambassador Nicholas Burns is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the founder and Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is a Faculty Affiliate of the Middle East Initiative, and is a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Burns is Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc. He is Chairman of the Board of Our Generation Speaks, which seeks to bring together young Palestinians and Israelis in common purpose. He is Chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation and serves on the Board of Trustees of Boston College. He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Special Olympics International, the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Refugees International, The Trilateral Commission, the Richard C. Lounsbery Foundation, the Atlantic Council, America Abroad Media, the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Boston Committee on Foreign Relations, the Gennadius Library, the NATO Cyber Center of Excellence, and the Foreign Policy Association’s Great Decisions Television Advisory Board. He 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, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Order of Saint John. He is also a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society. He is a life-long member of 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). He was a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board from 2014-2017.

Professor Burns has received fifteen honorary degrees, the Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the 2017 Ignatian Award from Boston College, 2016 New Englander of the Year from the New England Council, 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.

Academic Journal/Scholarly Articles

Book Chapters

Research Papers/Reports

Public Testimony

Commentary

Magazine and Newspaper Articles

Transparent Engagement

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School.

Outside Professional Activities For Nicholas Burns

In addition to the courses I teach, my work at the Kennedy School is focused on two major programs.  I founded the Future of Diplomacy Project in 2010 to focus our students, fellows, and faculty on the importance of diplomacy in the 21st century global environment. I have served as Faculty Chair of this project since that time. I also serve as Faculty Chair of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship, which we launched at the Kennedy School in 2018. I have been the Faculty Chair of the Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders program at Harvard Kennedy School since 2018. I served as Faculty Chair of the Middle East Initiative from 2009-2018.

I am active outside of the Kennedy School. From 2014-2017, I served on then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board. I was an unpaid advisor for both Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign and Joe Biden’s 2020 Presidential Campaign. I serve on the board of Entegris, Inc. based in Massachusetts.  In addition, I serve as a Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group, and as Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and the Aspen Security Forum.

I am Chairman of the Board of Our Generation Speaks, a Boston-based organization that seeks to bring together young Palestinians and Israelis in common purpose. I am also Chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation. I sit on the boards of several other non-profit organizations, which I list below. 

I hold positions on boards or am a member of the following non-profit organizations:

  • Our Generation Speaks, Chairman of the Advisory Board
  • American Ditchley Foundation, Chairman of the Board
  • Special Olympics International
  • Boston College, Board of Trustees
  • Committee of Conscience, United States Holocaust Museum
  • Chatham House: The Royal Institute of International Affairs, Panel of Senior Advisors
  • The Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
  • American School of Classical Studies at Athens
  • Refugees International
  • Richard C. Lounsbery Foundation
  • The Atlantic Council
  • Appeal of Conscience Foundation
  • America Abroad Media
  • Foreign Policy Association, Honorary Fellow
  • Foreign Policy Association Great Decisions Television Advisory Board
  • Boston Committee on Foreign Relations
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (member)
  • Council on Foreign Relations (member)
  • Order of Saint John (member)
  • Massachusetts Historical Society (member)
  • The Trilateral Commission (member)
  • Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training (member)
  • The Common Good Honorary Advisory Board (member)
  • The Institute for Aegean Prehistory

The following is a list of public speeches that I have given since 2014.  I received a speaking fee for some of these, expenses only for some, and no payments for others.

2021

  • Wilson Center/US-China Business Council Seminar
  • WorldBoston for the International Visitor Leadership Program
  • Cambridge Public Library
  • Rotary Club of Providence, RI
  • Eurobank
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • Baker Hughes for Gatehouse Advisory Partners
  • Harvard Club of Washington
  • House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs
  • U.S. Mission in Mexico
  • EPP Group Academy
  • DLA Piper
  • Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative
  • The Tavern
  • Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • The Alpha Omega Council
  • Foreign Policy for America
  • House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs
  • Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
  • Duke University
  • World Affairs Council of Los Angeles

2020

  • DLA Piper
  • Munich Security Conference
  • German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP)
  • Hertie School of Government
  • Palm Beach Golf Club
  • Royal Fidelity
  • American & U.K. Ditchley
  • EP US Delegation Bureau
  • Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy (IDC Herzliya)
  • Confederation of Indian Industry
  • SEMI
  • Australian American Leadership Dialogue
  • FAO/FSI
  • George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
  • NATO Reflection Expert Group
  • World Affairs Council Seattle
  • Boston College, Carroll School of Management
  • Chatham House for International Affairs
  • Naval War College
  • St. John's University School of Law/Georgetown University School of Law
  • Aspen Ideas Festival
  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Nutter Law Firm
  • Argentine Council for International Relations
  • Biden for President
  • Tata Corporation
  • Ecolab
  • Natalia Linos for Congress
  • John F. Kennedy Library Forum
  • Harvard Hillel
  • Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress
  • Nomura Holdings for Gatehouse Advisory Partners
  • National Security Action Leadership Retreat
  • Secretary’s Leadership Seminar Program, Harvard Business School
  • Netherlands Atlantic Association
  • Harvard Club of New York
  • Foreign Policy for America
  • OMERS
  • Trilateral Commission
  • Briefing for President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris
  • The Economist
  • World Affairs Council Dallas/Ft. Worth
  • World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
  • Greek Economic Summit
  • Atomium European Institute Post Covid Summit
  • American Academy of Diplomacy
  • DACOR House
  • World Affairs Council of Southern California
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education

2019

  • SEMI
  • Apple
  • Nomura briefing
  • Munich Security Conference
  • DLA Piper
  • Hertie School of Government
  • Tucson Committee on Foreign Relations
  • San Diego World Affairs Council
  • House Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • 9/11 Memorial Museum
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • American Classical School of Athens
  • School of Advanced International Studies Betty Lou Memorial Lecture
  • Turkish Heritage Organization
  • House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment
  • Leon Panetta Lecture Series
  • Foreign Policy for America
  • Chicago Council on Global Affairs
  • Worldwide Broker Network
  • Ditchley
  • American School of Paris
  • American Jewish Committee
  • Rabobank
  • Schwab
  • KF Partners LLC
  • Lowy Institute (Fellowship)
  • Wolfson College
  • America Media
  • Delphi Forum
  • Lasell University
  • Senate of the Economy (Munich)
  • Economist Eastmed-London Investment Summit

2018

  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Boston College
  • Radcliffe
  • New England Asset Management
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • John F. Kennedy Library
  • State Street
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Hotchkiss
  • 20-20 Investment Association
  • Citi Bank
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • University of Tennessee Knoxville
  • WorldBoston
  • Texas A&M University
  • Transcontinental Media G.P.
  • Fidelity
  • Bates College
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Honeywell
  • Foreign Policy 4 America
  • DLA Piper
  • Nutter McClennen & Fish
  • Naples World Affairs Council
  • Munich Security Conference
  • Barron’s
  • Waters Corporation
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Argus Media, Inc.
  • Citi Bank
  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • Worcester Economic Club
  • New Providence Asset Management
  • Kennedy Library Forum

2017

  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Foreign Policy 4 America
  • Aspen Institute
  • Analytical, Life Science & Diagnostics Association
  • Atlantic Council
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Order of St. John
  • SEMI
  • Fidelity
  • Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
  • House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Yale University
  • American School of Classical Studies at Athens
  • PS Business Parks
  • Santa Fe Council on International Relations
  • Credit Suisse
  • Analytical, Life Science & Diagnostics Association
  • Foreign Policy Association
  • Rafael del Piño Foundation
  • Appeal of Conscience Foundation
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • Raytheon
  • Ditchley
  • Kent Presents
  • MFS Investment Management
  • U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee
  • State Street
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • U.S. Global Leadership Coalition
  • Boston College
  • Atlantic Council
  • Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Pioneer Institute
  • American University of Paris
  • Salem State University
  • SkyBridge SALT LLC
  • DLA Piper
  • Congregation Kehillath Israel
  • Honeywell
  • Yale University
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers
  • Meridiam
  • U.S. Senate Banking Committee
  • World Jewish Congress
  • Colby College
  • U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee
  • The German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • Citi Bank
  • National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts
  • Tufts University – Institute for Global Leadership
  • San Diego State University
  • Munich Security Conference
  • Rafael del Piño Foundation
  • Stanford University – Center for International Security and Cooperation
  • Pilgrims
  • Royalty Pharma

2016

  • Foreign Service Institute
  • Occidental College McKinnon Center for Global Affairs
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • Argus Media, Inc.
  • Munich Security Conference
  • Jacksonville World Affairs Council
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • University of West Virginia
  • WL Ross & Company
  • Senate Armed Services Committee
  • Credit Suisse
  • The Wilson Center 
  • Comenius 
  • The Economist
  • The German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • InSTEP
  • PPI
  • General Reinsurance Corporation
  • Ditchley Conference
  • Pratham USA
  • Foreign Policy Association
  • World 50, Inc.
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • University of Washington
  • The Brookings Institution
  • YPO Philadelphia
  • Barclays
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • The Common Good
  • Off the Record
  • Schroders
  • New England Council
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • The Asia Society
  • American Institute for Contemporary German Studies – Johns Hopkins University
  • DLA Piper
  • Fidelity
  • BDT & Company, LLC
  • Aspen Institute

2015

  • Foreign Service Institute
  • Council on Foreign Relations
  • Occidental College McKinnon Center for Global Affairs
  • Harvard Business School Executive Education
  • Camden Conference
  • Senate, Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs Committee
  • Senate Committee on Armed Services
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
  • House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Hamilton Hall
  • Veteran Homestead
  • Big Arts Forum
  • Miami University JANUS Forum
  • South Asia Institute, Harvard University
  • Ambassador Christopher Stevens Memorial Lecture, University of California Hastings College of Law
  • Gatehouse Advisory Partners Ltd.
  • Boston Public Library Literary Lights Awards
  • MassBay Community College
  • The Commercial Club of Boston
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Cabot House, Harvard University
  • The New School
  • Loyola University Commencement
  • Hamilton Trust
  • Aerospace Industries Association of America
  • Harvard Class of 1955 Reunion
  • Aspen Institute Conference on Extremism
  • Boston College Carroll School of Management
  • Comenius Club
  • Harvard Business School
  • Aspen Ideas Festival
  • Testimonies on Iran Nuclear Deal (House Foreign Affairs Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Banking Committee)
  • Carnegie Endowment for International Peace conference on U.S.-India Relations
  • Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center Summer Institute
  • University of Southern Maine
  • National War College
  • Temple Emanuel, Newton, MA
  • Boston Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Wardroom Club Veterans Group
  • Harvard Club of Cape Cod
  • Fletcher School Iran Forum
  • Barron’s
  • Boston Museum of Fine Arts
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Cobb-Vantress
  • Barclays Geopolitical Risk and DC Defense Policy Forum
  • Brown University Taubman Center for Public Policy
  • Springfield Public Forum
  • Invesco Ltd.
  • G50 Annual Meeting
  • Bipartisan Policy Center conference on Strategic Health Diplomacy
  • Old Sturbridge Village
  • Wheaton College Tiffany Lecture

Contact

Phone: 617-496-3255

Expertise

Politics
Globalization
Democracy & Governance
Decision Making & Negotiation
Public Leadership & Management
International Relations & Security

Mailing Address

Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138