R. Nicholas Burns is a university professor, columnist, lecturer, and former American diplomat. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he is director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East and India and South Asia. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the school's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, senior counselor at The Cohen Group, and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc. He writes a bi-weekly column on foreign affairs for The Boston Globe and is a senior foreign affairs columnist for GlobalPost. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Olympics, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Atlantic Council, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, American Media Abroad, the Gennadius Library, and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation.
Burns wad the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs within the United States Department of State for the George W. Bush administration.
Burns was born in Buffalo, New York, and raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in history from Boston College and his M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.