Gulf Roundtable with Ambassador William J. Burns
A Renewed Agenda for U.S.-Gulf Partnership
Ambassador William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State
Ambassador William Burns became deputy secretary of state in July 2011, only the second serving career diplomat in history to rise to that position. He served as undersecretary for political affairs from 2008 to 2011, 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. Since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, Ambassador Burns has also served as executive secretary of the State Department, special assistant to Secretaries of State 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.
Ambassador Burns speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, and is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards. He 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.