UNITED STATES SENATE
SUBJECT: Ambassadorial Nomination: Certificate of
Demonstrated Competence — Foreign Service
Act, Section 304(a)(4)
POST: The People’s Republic of China
CANDIDATE: Robert Nicholas Burns
Ambassador (ret.) Nicholas Burns, a respected former career diplomat, currently serves as Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He is also Executive Director of the Aspen Strategy Group and Security Forum and Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group. During his State Department career, Mr. Burns served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to NATO and to Greece, State Department Spokesman and on the National Security Council staff on Soviet and Russian Affairs.
Mr. Burns first went to China in 1988 accompanying Secretary George Shultz and in 1989 accompanying President George H.W. Bush. He visited China several times as Spokesman with Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright. As Under Secretary, he worked with the Chinese government on issues as diverse as Afghanistan, United Nations Sanctions against Iran, North Korea and U.S. policy in the Indo-Pacific. At the Aspen Strategy Group, he organized a policy dialogue with the Chinese government’s Central Party School. He has taught, written and spoken frequently on current U.S.-China relations. His deep diplomatic experience, leadership abilities and expert knowledge of global politics make him well-qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
Mr. Burns earned his B.A. degree from Boston College and an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. His numerous awards include a Presidential Distinguished Service Award and the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award. He speaks fluent French and has familiarity with Arabic and Greek.