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M.A. Nicholas BURNS Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA


1977 He earned the Certificat Pratique de Langue Francaise from the University of Paris (Sorbonne).
1978 He subsequently earned a B.S. in European History from Boston College, graduated Summa Cum Laude and was elected Phi Beta Kappa.
1980 He received an M.A. with distinction from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in International Economics and American Foreign Policy.
1983-1985 Mr. Burns began his Foreign Service career in Africa and the Middle East. He was an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Nouakchott, Mauritania, Vice Consul and Staff Assistant to the Ambassador in Cairo, Egypt.
1985-1987 He was Political Officer at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. In this position, he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian population in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
1987-1988 He served as Staff Officer in the Department's Operations Center and Secretariat.
1990-1995 Mr. Burns, a career Senior Foreign Service Officer, served for five years on the National Security Council staff at the White House. He was Special Assistant to President Clinton and Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Affairs. He had lead responsibility in the White House for advising the President, the Vice President and the National Security Advisor on all aspects of U.S. relations with the fifteen countries of the former Soviet Union.
1995-1997 Ambassador Burns was Spokesman of the Department of State and Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Secretary Madeleine Albright. In this position, he gave daily press conferences on U.S. foreign policy issues, accompanied both Secretaries of State on all their foreign trips and coordinated all of the Department s public outreach programs.
1998 He was a member of the Department s Transition Team.
1997-2001 Ambassador to Greece, he oversaw all U.S. government programs at the U.S. Embassy in Athens, the Consulate General in Thessaloniki, and at other locations in Greece.
2005-2008 Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, U.S. Department of State


Mr. Burns has been awarded the State Department s Superior Honor Award for outstanding performance three times, the Department s James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence in 1994, and in 2000 the Charles E. Cobb Award for Trade Development by an Ambassador. He was also awarded the Order of the Terra Mariana by Estonian President Meri for his work in securing withdrawal of Russian military forces from that country. He has received honorary doctorates from seven American universities. He was named Communicator of the Year by the National Association of Government Communicators in 1997.