The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 15

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
NOVEMBER 2014
15
A LIFE OF SIGNIFICANCE
An Interview with
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE
WILLIAM J. BURNS
On the eve of his retirement, the Deputy Secretary of State reflects on his 33-year
career, the challenges for diplomacy today and the future of the Foreign Service.
FEATURE
O
n Oct. 1, AFSA Presi-
dent Robert Silver-
man and
Foreign
Service Journal
Edi-
tor Shawn Dorman
sat down with Deputy
Secretary of State Wil-
liam J. Burns in his office, a few weeks before
his retirement from a 33-year Foreign Service
career. Ambassador Burns holds the highest
rank in the Foreign Service, career ambas-
sador. He became Deputy Secretary of State
in July 2011, only the second serving career
diplomat in history to do so.
Amb. Burns served from 2008 until 2011
as under secretary of State for political affairs.
He was ambassador to Russia from 2005 until
2008, assistant secretary of State for Near East-
ern affairs from 2001 until 2005 and ambas-
sador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. He has
also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign
Service in 1982: executive secretary of the State Department and
special assistant to Secretaries Warren Christopher and Mad-
eleine 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 assis-
tant to the president and senior director for Near East and South
Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
Amb. Burns earned a B.A. in history from LaSalle University
and M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in international relations from
Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He is
the recipient of three honorary doctoral degrees. Amb. 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
three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of
Department of State awards, including two Secretary’s Distin-
AFSA President Robert J. Silverman interviewed Deputy Secretary of State William J.
Burns at the Department of State on Oct. 1.
AFSA/Shawn Dorman
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