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February 28, 2014

Ambassador (retired) R. Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of diplomatic and international politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, was featured as part of BSU’s John Quincy Adams Foreign Affairs Distinguished Speaker Series.

The ambassador enjoyed a distinguished career encompassing more than 25 years in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving as ambassador to NATO and Greece, as a member of the National Security Council. He was also undersecretary of state for political affairs, as well as special assistant to President Bill Clinton. He was introduced to the audience in the Heritage Room of the Maxwell Library by Dr. Michael Kryzanek, executive director of the Dr. Edward Minnock Center for International Engagement.

In his remarks, Ambassador Burns talked of the changes in world politics that are affecting the American way of life.

“We live in a time when – unlike our recent past – the Atlantic and Pacific oceans don’t protect us anymore, not in a global, integrated 21st century,” he said. “Not when 21 young men from the Middle East can get into the country and attack the twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and almost carry through plans to attack the White House and Capitol Building.”

Ambassador Burns added that isolationism was not an option for the U.S., noting that at the same time the country faces “the most complex international agenda that we’ve ever faced.” He mentioned current hot sports such as Syria, Pakistan, Venezuela and Ukraine.

Following his formal remarks, Ambassador Burns took questions from the audience and then stayed to answer individual questions. (Story and photo by David K. Wilson, ’71, University News)

Ambassador Nicholas Burns, left, and Dr. Michael Kryzanek