Ambassador William Joseph Burns, of the District of Columbia, is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, with the rank of Career Minister. He assumed charge as Ambassador to the Russian Federation on August 18, 2005.
Ambassador Burns served from 2001 until 2005 as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and was Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 until 2001. Ambassador Burns has also served in a number of other posts since entering the Foreign Service in 1982, including: Executive Secretary of the State Department and Special Assistant to the Secretary of State; 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 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. Ambassador Burns is the author of Economic Aid and American Policy Toward Egypt, 1955-1981 (State University of New York Press, l985). He speaks Russian, Arabic, and French, and is the recipient of two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards and a number of Department of State awards, including two Distinguished Honor Awards, the 2006 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Ambassadorial Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development, the 2005 Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award, the James Clement Dunn Award, and five Superior Honor awards. In 1994, he was named to TIME Magazine's list of the "50 Most Promising American Leaders Under Age 40", and to TIME's list of "100 Young Global Leaders."