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Nicholas Burns        

Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy & International Politics, Harvard Kennedy School

Nicholas Burns is the US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, appointed by President Joe Biden. One of the country’s most articulate spokespeople on globalization and U.S. foreign policy, he has earned respect as a nonpartisan expert on public diplomacy and world affairs. He has had a long career in American diplomacy serving six Presidents and nine Secretaries of State.

Prior to his ambassadorship, Burns was the Roy and Barbara Goodman Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and the Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group. He also founded the Kennedy School's Future of Diplomacy Project, dedicated to promoting the study and understanding of diplomacy, negotiation and statecraft in international politics, and served on the Board of Directors of the School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, and as a Faculty Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Throughout his career in government, Ambassador Burns has served in many roles -- as a career Foreign Service Officer, he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; as U.S. Ambassador to NATO from 2001–2005; as Ambassador to Greece from 1997–2001; and as State Department Spokesman from 1995–1997. He worked for five years 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 during the collapse of the USSR. Ambassador Burns began his Foreign Service career in the Middle East, serving in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania.

Ambassador Burns has received fifteen honorary degrees, including the Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. He is the recipient of many other awards, including from the governments of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Kosovo.

The ambassador is a graduate of Boston College, where he earned a BA in History, and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he received his MA in International Relations.

Speech Topics

The Future of Foreign Policy

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.

The Burning Middle East

Nick will discuss the many challenges we face in just one region of the world--The Middle East. As a former U.S. negotiator on Iran's nuclear program, he can speak in detail about how the U.S. should respond. He also covers our complicated relationship with Egypt, the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Syria and the threat of terrorism in the region.

The President's Foreign Policy In-Box

What are the major global challenges facing the United States for the long-term and how should the U.S. respond to them? In this speech Nick will discuss the extraordinary range of complex challenges we face from Iran and North Korea to cyber threats, climate change, international crime and drug cartels to terrorism and proliferation. He will chart how Americans can succeed in confronting them by rejecting isolationism and maintaining a lead U.S. role in the world. He will also discuss why there are reasons for us to be hopeful about our national strengths and the future.

Global Crises Outlook

What are the global crises that will affect U.S. businesses and markets? Topics include the Russia/Ukraine Crisis, the Iran Nuclear Negotiations, the Syria Civil War, Chinese territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and North Korea.

Remarks by Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns will speak to a wide variety of global issues.

Topic areas include:

· Global Politics and U.S. Foreign Policy · Diplomacy in the 21st Century

The Future of America's National Security

As recovery from the global financial crisis continues, one of the central challenges for world leaders moving forward is deciding how to create effective international actions to contain and overcome it. No nation can hope to address the financial and economic challenges alone but must instead work with the IMF, World Bank, and other international institutions to coordinate recovery efforts. In addition, the leading world powers must consider creation of new institutions to regain economic stability. As China, India, Brazil and other emerging market countries rise in power, they will also want greater leadership roles in existing institutions. How should the U.S. work to promote more effective global governance? Can President Obama keep the U.S. in a leadership position but also open the door to greater involvement by the rising powers? What are the implications of the rise of China, India and the other countries for America's long-term security? Will we be able to work with Russia effectively at a difficult time in our bilateral relationship? These are among the most important questions for America as we look to the future. Nicholas Burns addresses these vital issues and their implications.

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The Economic Crisis: Its Impact on U.S.

Competitiveness and Our World Standing. Wall Street’s collapse and the recent economic crisis affected people around the world. How should the Obama Administration and Congress react to this crisis and lead the way toward an eventual recovery? How should the U.S. act to protect our global economic interests? Nicholas Burns outlines how Americans must make an international economic recovery our overriding national goal. He makes a strong case that the new U.S. administration must continue to support American exports, resist protectionism, and work to restructure many of the leading international institutions to make them more effective in responding to current global challenges. Finally, he argues passionately that the U.S. must remain engaged in the world as an active and strong global leader and thus resist the twin illusions of isolationism and unilateralism.

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.

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Harvard Professor and Former Ambassador Nicholas Burns joins ...
“We are especially proud to have Nick Burns join GlobalPost,” said GlobalPost ... Johns Hopkins University, and the Boston College Alumni Achievement Award.

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