March 27, 2024

A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the HKS Community,
I am delighted to announced that Nicholas Burns, the ambassador of the United States to the People’s Republic of China, will give the 2024 graduation address at Harvard Kennedy School on May 22. 
As U.S. Ambassador in Beijing, Burns leads public servants from 48 U.S. government agencies in overseeing one of America’s most important and challenging bilateral relationships. He has travelled widely in China and has called for a major increase in student exchanges and academic links between the two countries. 
After a distinguished career as a senior U.S. diplomat, Nick Burns taught for thirteen years on the Kennedy School faculty, as Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations, until he was sworn in as ambassador to China in 2021. He founded the Future of Diplomacy Project at HKS and was faculty chair of the School’s programs on the Middle East and South Asia in the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. 
Nick’s courses were always in high demand as students sought out his deep wisdom and broad experience on international affairs, including his insights on the subtleties of diplomatic negotiation.
I am thrilled that Nick will be coming “home” to speak to us at this year’s graduation. We can learn a great deal from his long career as a dedicated public servant.
You can read more in our official announcement.
Best wishes,