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Nicholas Burns

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

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

Travels From Travels From:
Boston, MA, USA
Speaking Fee Speaking Fee:

Nicholas Burns Biography

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.

BOOK Nicholas Burns

Speaker profile last updated by AAE Talent Team on 12/06/2024.

Nicholas Burns Speaking 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.

Nicholas Burns Videos

  • Nicholas Burns: The Crisis in Global Leadership
  • Nicholas Burns at TEDxNewEngland, 2013
  • Responding to the Rise of ISIS

Speaker Lists Featuring Nicholas Burns

FAQs on booking Nicholas Burns

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  • What topics does Nicholas Burns speak about?

  • Where does Nicholas Burns travel from?

    Nicholas Burns generally travels from Boston, MA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
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Nicholas Burns is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as The Future of Foreign Policy, The Burning Middle East, The President's Foreign Policy In-Box, Global Crises Outlook, Remarks by Nicholas Burns and The Future of America's National Security. The estimated speaking fee range to book Nicholas Burns for your event is available upon request. Nicholas Burns generally travels from Boston, MA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Andrea Mitchell, John McWhorter, Anna Deavere Smith, Sandy Speicher and Darren Walker. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Nicholas Burns for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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