William Joseph Burns

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William Burns
AmbassadorBurns.jpg
United States Deputy Secretary of State
Incumbent
Assumed office
July 28, 2011
President Barack Obama
Preceded by James Steinberg
Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
In office
May 13, 2008 – July 28, 2011
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Nicholas Burns
Succeeded by Wendy Sherman
United States Ambassador to Russia
In office
November 8, 2005 – May 13, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Alexander Vershbow
Succeeded by John Beyrle
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs
In office
June 4, 2001 – March 2, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Edward Walker
Succeeded by David Welch
United States Ambassador to Jordan
In office
August 9, 1998 – June 4, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Wesley Egan
Succeeded by Edward Gnehm
Personal details
Born (1956-04-04) April 4, 1956 (age 58)[1]
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, U.S.
Alma mater La Salle University
St John's College, Oxford

William Joseph Burns (born April 4, 1956), a U.S. diplomat, is the current Deputy Secretary of State. Bill Burns holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, Career Ambassador, and became Deputy Secretary of State in July 2011. He is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become Deputy Secretary.[2] Ambassador Burns served from 2008 until 2011 as Under Secretary for Political Affairs. He was Ambassador to Russia from 2005 until 2008, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 until 2005, and Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Ambassador Burns has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, including: Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to Secretaries Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright; Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council staff.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Born at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Burns earned a B.A. in History from La Salle University and M.Phil from Oxford. In 1981 he was awarded a D.Phil. degree in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He is the recipient of three honorary doctoral degrees. Ambassador Burns is the author of Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955-1981 (State University of New York Press, 1985). He speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, and is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including two Distinguished Honor Awards, the 2006 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the 2005 Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award, the James Clement Dunn Award, and five Superior Honor Awards. In 1994, he was named to TIME Magazine's list of the "50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40, and to TIME's list of 100 Young Global Leaders.

Career[edit]

Burns served from 2001 until 2005 as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and was Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Ambassador Burns has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, including: Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State; Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow; Acting Director and Principal Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff; and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs at the National Security Council staff.

From 2005 to 2008, Burns was the United States Ambassador to Russia.[4]

On January 18, 2008, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that Burns will be nominated as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in March 2008, which is usually the highest position occupied by a career appointee in the State Department (outranked only by the secretary and deputy secretaries). Burns traveled to Switzerland to receive an official message from Iran, the first time a U.S. official has ever done so since the Iranian Revolution.[5]

On June 6, 2008, Burns was promoted to the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest personal rank that can be awarded to U.S. foreign service officers. The rank was awarded by nomination of the President and confirmation by the Senate.[6]

Burns was the acting United States Secretary of State, having taken office on January 20, 2009, with the inauguration of President Barack Obama. He served in the post until the confirmation of Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton which occurred on January 21, 2009.[7]

Burns has also garnered attention for a report he signed as ambassador, A Caucasus Wedding, on a Dagestani wedding, which has received wide praise and been labelled "almost worthy of Evelyn Waugh".[8]

On July 27, 2011 Burns was confirmed by the United States Senate by unanimous consent to be Deputy Secretary of State, and assumed the office the following day upon the resignation of James Steinberg.

Burns was asked by President Obama to lead a secret back channel of negotiations with Iran over the possibility of reaching an agreement over its nuclear program. Burns traveled to Oman to meet face-to-face with Iranian officials several times in 2013. He was also involved in the negotiation of the Geneva interim agreement on Iranian nuclear program.[9]

On April 11 the Department announced Burns would step down as Deputy Secretary of State in October 2014.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Burns and his wife Lisa Carty have two daughters.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "NNDB Article". Retrieved 2008-03-01. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ a b "Burns Ends Stint As U.S. Ambassador To Moscow". Interfax. 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  5. ^ "US official to attend Iran talks". BBC. 16 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  6. ^ "Career Ambassadors". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
  7. ^ Senate confirms 6 cabinet secretaries
  8. ^ "06MOSCOW9533: A CAUCASUS WEDDING". Wikileaks. 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2013-07-12. 
  9. ^ Taylor, Guy (24 November 2013). "Career diplomat William Burns steered the Iran talks quietly though rounds of negotiations". The Washington Times. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Diplomat Who Led Secret Talks With Iran Plans to Retire". New York Times date=2014-04-11. Retrieved 2014-04-13.