Born in Hlohovec, Peter Burian graduated in Oriental Studies at St. Petersburg University in the USSR and entered the service of the Czechoslovak foreign ministry in 1983. Following the breakup of Czechoslovakia on 1 January 1993, he was appointed chargé d'affaires at the newly independent Slovakia's embassy in Washington, D.C. and, shortly after, deputy chief of mission. In 1999, he became the Slovak Ambassador to NATO, based in Brussels, Belgium. He was also Slovakia's permanent representative to the UN from 22 December 2004 to November 2008 and sat on the Security Council when Slovakia was a Member (being the Security Council President for the month of February 2007). He became the Slovak Ambassador to the US in December 2008.