Ambassador Burns is currently the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of Diplomacy and International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is Faculty Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project, and Faculty Chair of the programs on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board at the U.S. Department of State, Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, and a Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group.
He also serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including Special Olympics International, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, the Atlantic Council, American Media Abroad, the Association of Diplomatic Studies and Training, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, and the Gennadius Library.
Ambassador Burns served in the United States Foreign Service for 27 years until his retirement in April 2008. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. Prior to that, he was Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001), and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked on the National Security Council staff where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and; before that, Director for Soviet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush.