Nicholas Burns is Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Professor Burns served in the United States Foreign Service for twenty-seven years until his retirement in April 2008. He was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008; the State Departments third-ranking official when he led negotiations on the U.S. India Civil Nuclear Agreement; a long-term military assistance agreement with Israel; and was the lead U.S. negotiator on Iran's nuclear program. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005) and to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked for five years (1990-1995) 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. Burns also served in the American Consulate General in Jerusalem (1985-1987) where he coordinated U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian people in the West Bank and before that, at the American embassies in Egypt and Mauritania.