R. Nicholas Burns is a university professor, columnist, lecturer and former American diplomat. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a member of the Board of Directors of the school's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. At the Harvard Kennedy School, he is Director of The Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the programs on the Middle East and India and South Asia. He is Director of the Aspen Strategy Group, Senior Counselor at the Cohen Group and serves on the Board of Directors of Entegris, Inc. He writes a biweekly column on foreign affairs for the Boston Globe and is a senior foreign affairs columnist for GlobalPost. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, Special Olympics, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Atlantic Council, the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, American Media Abroad, the Gennadius Library and the Richard Lounsberry Foundation. He is Vice Chairman of the American Ditchley Foundation and serves on the Panel of Senior Advisors at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. During his career in the State Department, he was United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs within the United States Department of State. Appointed by President George W. Bush, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 17, 2005 and was sworn into office by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. As Under Secretary, he oversaw the bureau's responsible for U.S. policy in each region of the world and served in the senior career Foreign Service position at the Department. He retired on April 30, 2008. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. in summer 2008. In July 2009, Burns joined The Cohen Group, a consulting firm in Washington D.C, as a Senior Counselor.