Director's Lecture Series: American Leadership in a Changing International Landscape

Featured Speaker

The Honorable William J. Burns
President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State

Ambassador William Burns is the president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the oldest international affairs think tank in the United States. Burns retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2014 after a 33-year diplomatic career. He holds the highest rank in the Foreign Service, career ambassador, and is only the second serving career diplomat in history to become deputy secretary of state. Prior to his tenure as deputy secretary, Burns served as under secretary for political affairs from 2008 to 2011. He was ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from 2001 to 2005, and ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001. His other posts in the Foreign Service include: executive secretary of the State Department and special assistant to former 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. Burns is the recipient of three Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including three Secretary’s Distinguished Service Awards and two Distinguished Honor Awards. He has also received the highest civilian honors from the Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community. In 2013, Foreign Policy named him “Diplomat of the Year.” Burns earned a bachelor’s in history from LaSalle University and master’s and doctoral degrees in international relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. He is the recipient of four honorary doctoral degrees and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Director’s Lecture Series

The Director’s Lecture Series was created and endowed by Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian and Mrs. Françoise Djerejian to provide a specific forum for Baker Institute Roundtable members, faculty and students to engage in the most relevant and pressing issues we face today.

A reception preceded the event to allow participants to engage with the speakers.

Join the conversation online with #BakerDLS.



5:30 pm Reception
6:30 pm Presentation





Group(s): Baker Institute


Wed, Feb. 24, 2016
5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
(GMT-0500) US/Central


James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston, Texas 77005

Doré Commons